Book Review – The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the Legal Wilderness

In his 2010 book entitled “The Lawyer’s Song: Navigating the Legal Wilderness” (“the Song”), Hugh Duvall sings a heartfelt tune about what it means – and what it ought to mean – to be a lawyer. Written from the perspective of a lawyer-litigator, the Song is intended to reach two main audiences. For non-lawyers, the Song is meant to provide “a window into the complex intellectual, emotional and ethical frontier of [the legal] profession.” For lawyers, it is an affirmation of all that is good in the legal profession – a melody meant to “charge us up and to speed us on our way.” Mr. Duvall performs to both audiences with admirable aplomb.

A quick and engaging read, the Song pursues its purpose in a refreshingly creative style. Each chapter (or verse) focuses on a key theme of legal practice; and each is presented in two parts. The first is a vignette of a story set in 1842 Oregon in which a woman hires a guide to lead her through the backcountry in search of her husband. With the chapter’s theme as a springboard, the second part dives into a non-fictitious account of the various ways in which the issues presented in the vignette affect the day-to-day lives of present-day lawyers.

Within its verses, the Song sings of the hard realities of legal practice. These include the risk and challenge of law school, the long lonely hours of legal practice, the anguish of a case fought and lost, and the betrayal of a thankless client. These darker notes are important for any law student or aspiring lawyer to hear – especially one bedazzled by the gloss of legal practice as it appears on the big screen.

Floating above the bass register are the treble notes of the more ennobling aspects of legal practice. These include the sanctity of the lawyer-client relationship, the humility of faithful service, the decorum of loyalty, and the thrill of victory. These higher notes give the Song a more edifying tenor for those who are uncertain or otherwise cynical about the inherent dignity of a legal career, or those otherwise in need of affirmation.

As much as the Song serves to demystify some of the realities of legal practice, at the same time it also serves to enshroud it in a cloud of romanticism. For example, laced into the narrative are some pretty rosy assumptions about what it is that drives people to pursue a career in law. As Mr. Duvall puts it:

Ours is a profession to which we were called. We were always aware of its presence. The feeling. The thought. The notion that we would become lawyers…It was one’s essence. One’s being. There was no real choice involved at all.

It would be nice if this were true. But the reality is that all sorts of people go to law school (and eventually become lawyers) for far lesser reasons. Some go to law school to please their parents. Others go because they want money, security and prestige. Still others go because they don’t know what else to do with themselves. Yet once on the conveyor belt, the pressure to identify as a lawyer gets stronger and stronger. Years later, well into their careers, all too many wake up and realize that what they are doing is not their calling – that this is not their song.

The romanticism of the Song also surfaces in other verses. For example, in the verse about “passion”, Mr. Duvall notes that “[w]e cannot meet the rigorous challenges we regularly confront without passion for our work.” Lawyers, just like anybody else, are much better equipped to do their jobs when fuelled by passion. Yet the truth is that on the whole lawyers aren’t exactly known for their passion for their work. In fact, many plod their weary ways through their entire careers without much enthusiasm for their jobs at all.

While Mr. Duvall may be romantic, he is not blind. As he notes, many lawyers do such things as “take shortcuts to the prejudice of the client”, “make as much money as possible”, “gain attention for personal aggrandizement”, and “run a business as opposed to a law practice.” It is clear that Mr. Duvall is fully aware that such “imposters” exist among our ranks; the simple fact of the matter is that they are not part of his intended audience.

While such “imposters” may well not deserve admission to Mr. Duvall’s performance, I contend that they constitute a third audience that must not only attend, but also listen extra carefully. For it is to this audience that the Song carries a special – albeit implicit – message. And that message is this:

If you are not in harmony with the basic values of your profession, you must do something about it or your career and life will ever be dissonant.

In listening to the Song, should anyone find themselves scoffing or otherwise rolling their eyes in cynicism at its lyrics, then it may well be that they belong to this third audience. Should they recognize the special message the Song has for them, and should they be inspired to take corrective action, Mr. Duvall will have truly outdone himself.

Bravo, Mr. Duvall!

How the Lawyers Determine That the Injured Party Has a Solid Case For Claim

Personal injury claims are a way to get a reward for the injuries and sufferings that a person goes through as a result of an accident. This accident has to be happened due to the rashness and neglect of another person who gets to be held liable in order to pay the compensation to the injured party. Lawyers play a very important role in these cases and most of the credit goes to them if the claims are won or lost.

Personal injury claims are being based on different types of injuries that can be the resultant of different types of accidents. So, there are different types of lawyers as well who deal in their respective genres of personal injury claims. After getting injured due to a specific kind of accident, the victim is supposed to consult with the lawyer dealing in that branch. It is not a compulsion but it is highly recommended and advised in order to achieve the maximum results. The first step, that is supposed to be taken on the behalf of the lawyer who is being consulted by an injured party, is assessing the extent of fault.

The lawyer is to determine after having listened to the details of the accident whether the claimant has a solid case or not. There are many victims who think that are free of fault but after discussing it with lawyers they come to know that it is they who are to be held responsible for that accident. This is the very basic criteria of a claim that is to be made on legitimate grounds. The injury should be assessed in a truthful manner. All the questions come afterwards once this is being established that the fault belongs to the accused party.

Then, the lawyer makes sure that the victim has gone through an injury that can be physical, emotional or financial. As far as the physical injury is concerned, the lawyer asks for the medical report in this regard. Through this, he establishes the intensity of the suffered pain and makes it a point on which the claimant is to be compensated.

And the rest is the matter of legal proceedings that are dependent on the presentation style of the lawyer, how he makes his client appear on a righteous stand by proving the fault of the guilty party with the help of evidences. This is the reason that the specialist and professional lawyers are considered vital for the success of the personal injury claims.

The contents of the article are provided for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended for a legal advice.

3 Tips to Find the Best Lawyer

Do you have trouble finding a legal representative for your case? Is your case a complex and unique case where no ordinary lawyer can handle? Does your case require special handling and fragile proceedings? If you do, the you might need a lawyer who is best for your case!

A lawyers job is to legally represent you in the court of law and also to protect you to the maximum legal law possible. If a lawyer does not represent you up to their best legal abilities, then that lawyer will be examined by the legal jurisdiction of your state for mus-representation and other legal consequences. But no lawyer is equal, and it may mean the difference between a ruling that isn’t in your favour!

Here are 3 tips to find the best lawyer!

1. The internet

The internet is one of the best sources to get the best lawyer for you. The reason why the internet is the best place to get the best legal representation for you is because you can search for specific lawyers who specialises in specific law areas. For instance, if you are in the proceeding for a workers compensation claim, then it is best to go to search on the internet for a workers compensation lawyer who specialises in this area. They have the experience and the legal expertise to get the best compensation for you!

2. Find lawyers who have won a large percentage of cases

It is best to find lawyers who have won a majority of their cases. This is because you will then have a higher chance of winning because they have won a majority of their cases. People who have won a large percentage of their cases means that they know how to find all the loopholes in the law. The more loopholes the lawyer knows, the better you can win your case!

3. Find a lawyer who can communicate with you in easy to understand English

You will be surprised to find that the majority of lawyers out there have very poor English or communication skills. To win a case, a lawyer must have excellent communication skills so they can give the best evidence and argument for your case! A simple way to know if they have good communication skill is if they can explain a legal document in easy to understand English and they don’t use legal or law language that you don’t understand!

Starting a Law Firm – Local Counsel Work

When considering starting your own law firm, one often overlooked source of business for your fledgling business is local counsel work.

When I began my career as an attorney at a medium sized firm, I had an idea of what I would be working on. For instance, areas such as corporate law, family law, criminal law, estate law, real estate law, are all examples of practices areas that I, like all lawyers, am familiar with because those courses are taught in probably every law school in the United States. So, if you join a law firm in the private practice arena, you will probably work as a lawyer in one or more of these areas.

For example, the typical way to practice law is to have a client ask you to help them with their legal problem. A person or entity will come to you and hire you to help them with their business, family, or personal legal dilemma. That is the most common way to work as a lawyer.

However, one surprise that many lawyers find when they start practicing out of law school is that other lawyers and firms often hire attorneys outside their firm to be their lawyer for a local hearing. This concept is called local counsel.

There are two standard forms of local counsel work:

(1) a firm in the jurisdiction you work in, but which is a long ways away (like in a different city) hires you; or

(2) a firm outside of your jurisdiction and typically in another state hires you.

In these two situations, attorneys and/or law firms will hire out a lawyer to handle hearings in the courthouse or county where the original firm has filed its case. Hiring and outside attorney enables the hiring law firm to have an attorney present in a court-house that is far-far away from the hiring firm’s office. It would be much too expensive to have a $300.00-an-hour attorney drive from a far away city to attend a minor foreclosure hearing. So, the law firm that originated the lawsuit will often hire an attorney at a lower dollar amount to handle a simple hearing.

Examples of legal areas in which local counsel work is needed are: foreclosures, bankruptcy, and debt collection. Often the hired attorney will appear at a minor hearing, such as a status conference, and file an attorney appearance with the court. The attorney will inform the court that he or she has been hired only for the purpose of the local counsel work. A judge will often understand that the law firm who hired the local attorney will handle the actual procedural filing. However, the local counsel attorney will handle the minor matter before him or her. One thing to keep in mind is that the hired lawyer still owes a duty to both the court and his client to be diligent and prepared when he or she accepts the case – no matter how minor it is.

Why is local counsel work important for starting your own firm? In the foremost, it is usually relatively simple and it is a very effective way to generate cash flow for your firm. Without cash flow, your law firm will die.

Another great thing about local counsel work is that it helps the courts function efficiently. If an attorney can show up at minor hearing and guide the legal process along, the court can worry more about other, more important, cases on its docket.

In sum, local counsel work is an often unknown and overlooked aspect of starting and building a law practice. Attorneys who have been practicing for any amount of time often know about local counsel work. However, a person coming out of law school likely has never heard of it. If a person decides to start their own firm out of law school, they will not want to miss this great source of revenue-generating work.

Furthermore, another reason to do local counsel work is that lawyers tend not to stiff other lawyers. In other words, when you are hired, you know you are going to get paid. That may sound simple, but when you are staring out and trying to survive, getting paid for the work you do is of the utmost importance. Heck, it may be the only important thing to know when you are starting your own firm.

When considering starting a law firm, and whether your niche area is family law, criminal law, corporate law, or some other area of law, you need to remember local counsel work and focus some of your firm marketing towards this area. It is not always the most lucrative work, but, if you can get it, it is steady, it generates immediate cash flow, and it get your new law firm humming.

Finding the Best Lawyers

A lawyer is someone who has a highly detailed knowledge of the law and who has experience and skill in representing client in court and speaking in front of a judge and jury. If you find yourself in court for any reason, or in a position where you intend to take someone to court and to press charges, settle a divorce or get yourself out of a contract, then you will need to make sure that you have the best lawyers on your side.

Without lawyers we are basically ‘sitting ducks’ in a court of law or any legal dispute. Most of us will have very little knowledge of the details of the law, of the ins and outs or of the various loopholes. This means that other can use these against us unless we have lawyers to defend us, and it means that we are unable to use them ourselves even if they might have been able to help us win our case.

So in short using the best lawyers is a huge investment that can help you in many ways – whether it helps you to get out of an uncomfortable contract, whether it helps you to improve your working conditions, whether it helps you to keep your assets in a divorce, or whether it helps you to retain the legal rights pertaining to your work or an intellectual property. In any case you will save yourself a huge amount of money and inconvenience and this means that it is more than worth spending some time and money up front now in hiring a good lawyer.

But with so many lawyers out there, how do you go about finding the best lawyers? How do you recognize them when you find them?

Well thanks to the internet we now have access to a huge range of law firms and lawyers from the comfort of our front rooms. This allows us to browse the sites of many different legal experts and to compare the best lawyer s and law firms directly.

When searching online, you should first and foremost look for lawyers that will deal specifically with your area of the law. If you are in legal disputes with your employers, then you will need to use an employment lawyer for instance, and if you are going through divorce then you will benefit most from divorce lawyers.

The reason for this is that lawyers that specialize will have a lot more intricate knowledge regarding the area you are interested in. They will know more of the loopholes, more of the laws, and more of the case histories that relate to you. If you used a general lawyer then they would have good breadth of knowledge, but they would understand relatively little about each topic compared to specialists.

You should then look around the site of the lawyers to ascertain which are the best lawyers. Look for sites that are well designed and that look professional, and be weary of anything that is poorly designed. Likewise look for good testimonials, and be sure to speak with the lawyers in person on the phone before you decide.