My practice of law is different than just about anyone I know. That’s because I’ve created a state wide network of attorneys who I believe do a great job of handling work injury cases. It’s also different because I put my direct line on this website (it’s 312-346-5578 and you can call any time for a free consultation). I talk in plain English and am not afraid to tell people the truth. I also try to treat everyone like I would a family member or friend.
I recently turned 50 and have been licensed to practice law for 25 years. I haven’t “seen it all” and hate people who talk like that, but I’ve seen a lot. I feel young, so while I’ve given advice to other lawyers over the years (mostly ones who just dabble in work comp) I felt odd when a very young lawyer contacted me for career advice. As we talked more, I realized that advice I’d give a younger attorney would in many ways be helpful to people who were trying to consider which Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer to hire. So in no particular order here are some things I suggested:
1. If you find yourself at a law firm that you realize doesn’t fit with who you are morally as a person, leave before it’s too late. You don’t want to be guilty by association. There is one terrible law firm in Chicago that goes through a lot of lawyers. In my opinion the ones that stay a while have their reputations ruined.
2. No one client is worth your reputation, career, sanity, etc. If a client is really rude to me, staff, others, I will try to see what the root is of their frustration. But if it’s not something that can be solved, not being involved with them is the best call even if it costs you a lot of money. I find the attorneys who won’t walk away from bad clients worship money and pay for it in the long run.
3. While Illinois attorneys aren’t allowed to call themselves specialists when they advertise, the reality is that you will probably do a better job if you do just focus on 1-2 practice areas.
4. Just like with injured workers, there is nothing more important than your health. One good thing about workers comp is that it’s not usually an 80-90 hour a week job. So there should be time for exercise and a life away from work.
5. If you don’t like what you are doing for work, leave before it’s too late. The most miserable attorneys I know are guys in their 50’s who don’t like being a lawyer, but also don’t know how to do anything else. On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of people practice work comp for 10 years and transition to a different area of law or something not legal at all.
6. Honesty is the best policy. Lying can kill a work comp claim. When an attorney lies it can kill a career or make it so nobody wants to work with you or trusts what you have to say.
7. Things aren’t always going to go smoothly. You’re not going to win every case. Not every client or opponent is going to like you. You are going to realize on some cases that you could have done better. That’s OK.
8. You can’t stop crazy people from being crazy. There is one lawyer I know that is beyond unreasonable. Instead of trying to argue with them, I’ve realized the best tactic is to use this knowledge.
I hope these tips helped this young attorney and I hope you gained some insight on what to look for in a lawyer. And as always, if you have any questions about a case, contact us any time.