When choosing a lawyer it’s important to know,
What things you should look for and what should make you say “no”.
You must be sure you’ve got the best and there is none better,
Before you sign an attorney’s engagement letter.
You can believe most people when they tell you to “trust us”,
But “most” is not good enough when you’re seeking justice.
So when choosing your counsel be sure you do heed,
All this rhyming advice before you proceed.
You should tell her your story and see if she hears you,
If she’s doesn’t seem interested, you should find someone new.
Active listening should be of primary import,
Whether you’re describing a transaction or a serious tort.
If the lawyer doesn’t care to grasp all that you’re saying,
Then it’s time to move on, there’s no reason for staying.
If it’s a will that you need, she should ask who inherits,
If your case is litigation, she should focus on the merits.
I want to be helpful so here’s an assist,
Maintaining your confidences should be high on the list.
She must be competent in the area you are needing,
Because a transaction guy is no good for drafting a pleading.
And whether you’ve been in a crash or you’re suing your employer,
You must be sure you’re retaining just the right lawyer.
After hearing of the parties and what it’s all about,
The lawyer must determine if she’s conflicted out.
Our ethics don’t allow us to represent one in a case,
If there’s reason to believe a conflict may take place.
For instance, if another client of ours is on the other side,
Then your representation must immediately be denied.
You should sign a letter describing what the lawyer will do,
And whether you’ll pay monthly or if charges accrue.
The lawyer should answer anything that’s unclear,
And you should feel comfortable that she’s fully sincere.
Once the lawyer is retained and working for you,
Here are a few more things the lawyer should do.
She should advise you of risks of settlement verse trial,
And she should always stay apprised of all dates in your file.
She must put your interests ahead of her own,
And in dealings with counsel have a respectful tone.
Your lawyer should always keep you advised
Of where things stand so you’re never surprised,
She should consult with you each time when making a decision,
So your case is positioned just how you envision.
She must respect the privilege of attorney and client,
And with all rules of ethics remain fully compliant.
She must represent you zealously within the bounds of the law,
And upon your request, she must politely withdraw.
If you do all I have said and you listen to me,
You should be just fine but this is NOT a guarantee.
Yes, a disclaimer you get and in writing of course,
Don’t be surprised, just consider the source.
On my own statements above I am fully reliant,
And that’s why this author has himself for a client.
by Michael Gabovitch