As soon as the U.S. published its holding in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona which struck down state laws barring lawyers from advertising as an unconstitutional interference with free speech, it was generally thought that it would consequently be easier to find a lawyer. This perception was founded on the premise that since legal professionals were sanctioned to participate in the same method as other firms do, it would be less complicated to satisfy one’s needs for legal representation and that the expenses would go down.
The truth is that attorney marketing has made it easier to find an attorney. Nevertheless, there is still a challenge in discovering the appropriate legal professional for one’s specific preferences. If the selected legal representative is not experienced, incompetent, or is deficient in the willingness or capacity to communicate properly with a client, the client will not be pleased with the lawyer’s services. Furthermore, the consequences for the client could be catastrophic, such as loss of a business or being unable to recover for damages the client experienced at the hands of a liable third party. In order to find the top lawyer, one must have more than a list of names, even if these are specialists in the relevant legal location. Clients are best served by asking questions before they decide on a lawyer to hire.
Customer unhappiness with lawyers has become a main obstacle. A questionnaire prepared in 1995 revealed that out of 30,000 respondents, one–third were not well satisfied with the level of their law firm’ services. The explanations for this unhappiness varied, ranging from legal professionals failing to keep their clients up to date on the status of their cases, failing to defend clients’ interests, failing to resolve cases in a timely manner, and regularly charge unreasonable fees.
The cause for this prevalent unhappiness is linked to the lack of knowledge by clients on how to discover lawyers experienced with the varieties of issues they are facing as well as knowing what questions to ask a lawyer they are contemplating hiring. The results of a one thousand person survey reported in the Florida Bar Journal revealed that the average time spent in obtaining a legal professional was two hours or less. Almost one half of those surveyed mentioned it was challenging to acquire a quality lawyer, and over a quarter of them claimed they did not know how to choose a legal professional. It is remarkable that 80 per cent of respondents claimed theywished there was a source for information on lawyers’ credentials.
One difficulty in discovering the best suited legal professional is the ever widening number of areas practiced by attorneys. Specialization makes options more complicated. Law has become more specialized because changes in technology have necessitated the development of new practice areas, like Cyberlaw and Internet law. New practice areas of law have also been developed by recently ratified laws and regulations from such federal administrative bodies as the Environmental Protection Agency. This might impact and complicate the difficulties of somebody acquiring a business and trying to establish whether the seller or the buyer is liable for cleaning up a toxic waste site.
The increasing number of laws and regulations have made lawyers to become more specialized in order to keep up with new innovations. Moreover, numerous general areas of the law in which legal counsel may become experienced, have now been broken up into specialties. In business law, there are specialists for mergers and acquisitions as a consequence of the intricacy involved in these transactions. Even criminal defense is not immune to this pattern since some attorneys now specialize in white collar crime.