Guest Blog by Sarah Illg:
Before going to law school, I had a picture in my mind of what being a lawyer looked like. My image was built on my limited knowledge of other attorneys in the field. I always thought of a lawyer as someone whose most important job was being in the courtroom fighting for his or her client. The image was mostly of trial work. It was the proverbial Perry Mason view of an attorney.
For some reason, I thought it was impossible to be a great lawyer while being kind to your adversaries. I had this broken image that to be the best attorney for your client, you must be demanding and confrontational to opposing counsel.
Four years later, my perception of what it takes to be a great lawyer has changed drastically. I have been working under Georgia Attorney Richard Lawson for about three years now, and I have witnessed client representation at its finest. I have learned that very little of a lawyer's time is spent in trial, as less than 5% of cases end in a trial.
So, what in the world do lawyers do all day if they are not in a trial? We advocate for our clients. We educate our clients. We review the evidence and potential defenses for our clients. We make sure that everything is done to get people the best possible outcome in their case.
We also make sure clients know each step of the process because understanding helps people relax. When an attorney gives someone peace, it initiates trust. Returning client calls the same day and taking extra time to explain a detailed legal process is what being a lawyer is all about.
When people call our office, they are not at their best. Being arrested is the low point for just about anyone. It is the worst time in a person's life. Our first task is to point out that there is a solution to every problem, and that things will eventually be okay.
With a few exceptions, like adoption or business formation, no one likes to call an attorney. It may be why attorneys are the subject of many jokes.
In the world of criminal defense, we understand it is never a good day when you speak with a lawyer. Our first job is to make a person feel better. Many attorneys try to scare someone into becoming a client. However, the best Georgia DUI Attorneys do not try to frighten the people who call. Our job is not to scare or bully people. Our job is to educate and provide people their best options. Nothing in life is one size fits all, except maybe a baseball cap. Every person is unique, and so is every case.
The best lawyers take the time to explain each step in the process. He or she must be honest with their clients, and the prospective clients that call. A great lawyer is honest and does not lie to get business. We never tell a potential client what they want to hear, just to be hired. Many times we disappoint callers; however, it is better to be honest than to have a disappointed client later on.
When was go to trial or have a contested hearing, that does not mean we are hired to be a bull in a china shop. The best lawyers are artful and persuasive in their presentations. A bad lawyer makes noise.
Many people are confused into thinking that yelling about a point in court means that their lawyer is fighting for them. Nothing is further from the truth. It is important to stand up and fight for your client. However, the practice of law is an art. A fine oil painting is drawn with a brush, not with a sword.
Many times, a case can be favorably settled because opposing counsel respect one another. I have seen this first hand watching Mr. Lawson in the courtroom. Because he is respected and treats others accordingly, he is able to get great outcomes for his clients. I have seen him convince police officers to help the people they arrested.
Now do not get me wrong; there is a time to fight for a client, and it is important to recognize it. However, going in guns a blazing is usually not a good plan. Loud mouths annoy jurors.
These are the things they do not teach in law school. Law school teaches the law and how to think like a lawyer. It does not teach you how to act like a lawyer. I have been very fortunate to work at the Law Office of Richard Lawson and observe all the attorneys in our office. A great lawyer is caring, patient and considerate.
As with Theodore Roosevelt's statement on foreign policy, a great lawyer should “speak softly and carries a big stick.”
Sarah Illg is a recent graduate of Mercer School of law. She has been employed with the Law Office of Richard Lawson as a law clerk for three years and is awaiting her bar results. For more Georgia DUI Information or information about Georgia DUI Penalties check back.