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  • Sentinel Law

The True Cost of Arrogant Lawyers

When assessing the selection of counsel it is important to evaluate not only the focus of their practice, but also the manner in which they promote and present themselves. Before addressing the actual impact to clients, its important to note how one can spot an overly arrogant and/or narcissistic attorney, who probably prides themselves in billing more than actually serving their clients' interests. Here are a few pointers:

1. The attorney spends far more time marketing than actually working for clients.

2. You notice right off the back that the lawyer is failing to hear or grasp the details of your case. If they're distracted at this point, they may become even more distracted after your retainer is paid.

3. The attorney fails to properly consider and brief you on your own exposures and liability.

4. The attorney encourages and exacerbates ancillary issues that are outside the focus of the case.

5. The arrogance of counsel portrays an arrogant client, strengthening the resolve of the opposing party, who therein rejects any resolution prior to trial.

6. As a result of the above issues, the client is stuck with a much larger invoice for the services rendered, and/or additional costs.

On March 1, 2013 Cornell Law Library published an Article title "How Lawyers' Intuition Prolong Litigation", written by Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Wistirch, and Cornell Professor of Law Jeffrey J. Rachlinski. The article cites experiments and empirical data that shows experienced lawyers develop cognitive errors that directly and indirectly prolong litigation by exacerbating issues away from settlement, and inadvertently serving the Lawyers greed for billable hours. The psychology of the experiments points to several errors to include but not limited to: 1) the framing effect, 2) the confirmation bias, 3) nonconsequentialist reasoning, and 4) the sunk-cost fallacy.

Having confidence in the case and in one's lawyer is critical when facing the perils of litigation or high-stakes transactions. It should come to no surprise that legal counsel should express their expertise in a way befitting the situation, while managing the anxiety or trepidation of their clients. However, the incidental costs become explosive when lawyers make the dispute about their own competitiveness, rather than the resolution that their clients seek.

Ultimately, you will find yourself in multiple mediations, instead of just one. You will find yourself paying for dozens of emails and hearings that should've been streamlined, and you can expect your case to take a far greater toll on you than it otherwise would.

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