If a Lawyer Answers This Question Over the Phone - Run!

Pam: Barry, when you get a call from a potential client or meet with them for their initial free consultation, what's the most common question that you get?

Barry: Well, regardless of what kind of case is involved, the most important thing that people want to know, is, at bottom, how much is my case worth? And it's not so much that people are being greedy. They simply want to make sure that they're being treated fairly. People have been doing research on the internet, and really haven't been able to find a good answer to that question anywhere.

People hear stories in the news about people who are getting multi-million dollar settlements, and it piques a certain amount of curiosity.

Pam: So when people ask you what their case is worth, what do you tell them?

Barry: Well, when I get that phone call and people pose that question to me, the real honest answer, and what I tell them, is, I really have no earthly idea. Evaluating a case for settlement is a really kind of complex process, and it's really one of the most important skills I bring to the table as a personal injury lawyer.

You always have to keep the goals and the objectives of the client, and their tolerance for risk in mind. Another issue which is almost always an unknown when I speak to somebody for the first time on the phone, is how much insurance coverage is available?

Pam: What do you do when a potential client tells you they've been speaking to other lawyers, and they were told by other lawyers that their case was worth some certain dollar amount?

Barry: The thing I tell them is that they should run as fast as they can in the other direction. There's one of two things that are happening when a lawyer is trying to tell a client over the phone what their case is worth. Either they don't know what they're talking about at all, or they're totally doing a sales job on the potential client. Neither one of these things are good for you.

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