I will start with a more personal reflection you never see in these legal blogs, and it has to do with an analogous legal profession – medicine. Three plus years ago, I was living near our office in Lubbock, Texas, and experienced a high temperature and flu like symptoms (pre-Covid), in addition to loss of energy and some trouble breathing. My doctor recommended a quick trip to a cardiologist after a problematic EKG. My wife and I set up an appointment with what we thought to be the best cardiology group in Lubbock and met with the cardiologist. He took the requisite tests and in his concluding doctor notes in the medical records stated that he “would see me in one year”.
Well, that would require a trip to the local graveyard as I had about 1 week to live and was suffering from a severe heart infection called endocarditis. This was combined with the failure of my mitral valve. But for one of my best friends, I never would have found myself at the best heart hospital in the world, the Cleveland Clinic, where they instantly diagnosed my problems, determined the specific bacteria involved, and instituted IV antibiotics. Surgery followed shortly thereafter which was successful.
Moral of the story – local professionals often (but not always) lack the experience and training to even diagnose the underlying problem or cause, let alone render proper treatment.
Although this may sound controversial, this same conundrum also applies to lawyers in small towns, and then some. The caveat here, is that the above is my personal opinion and with the acknowledgement that there are excellent attorneys in all cities large and small. However, (again – my opinion) – there are “slim pickings” in smaller municipalities.
Just like the horror I confronted with the Lubbock cardiologist, be aware of the qualifications and experience of the “attorney nearby or attorney near me”. I made a huge mistake as lack of training, experience, and even location in a non-competitive smaller market and city can have a negative effect on the quality of the professional services. Here are a few tips to avoid the legal equivalent of the near-death experience I encountered:
Make Room for the Digital Era
The only upside of Covid I can conjure up is that we all became aware of virtual conferences thru Zoom. This capability allows all of us to access professional services in any city in Texas and is often used by doctors, psychiatrists, but very few law firms, but not us at Moster Craft! This vehicle has fundamentally changed the playing field as anyone in Texas wherever they live can now consult with the best available and most experienced attorney and law firm whether they are in Austin, Dallas, Houston, or other locales.
One-Horse Legal Shops Can Be Problematic
Again, this is only my opinion as there are definitely exceptions to the rule – but one shop law firms with a single attorney often lack the integrated, comprehensive, and nuanced experience needed by many clients. The areas of law have become so complex that one person can hardly gain the experience in discrete areas such as Intellectual Property, Patent Law, Mergers & Acquisitions, etc. A larger firm often has the capacity to offer clients a full spectrum of legal services.
Using my cardiology experience as the litmus test, inexperienced attorneys can easily miss the critical issues which will determine the outcome of your case. As a lawyer of over 36 years, I have seen this time and again. As an example, a litigation issue might involve a complex intellectual property issue which would not be spotted by a generalist. An issue we run into is the failure of attorneys to recognize that there is an easier and alternative way to get an injunction in Texas than available under general common law under the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act or TUTSA. I am sorry to say that some lawyers never heard of TUTSA and that’s a massive problem for a potential client.
Lawyers and Doctors are Not God
If I haven’t upset my colleagues, this will do it. I have run into more arrogant professionals in smaller towns than larger cities. Doctors are notorious for having a condescending attitude towards their patients and even staff. Somehow, they believe that their professional qualifications entitle them to act superior to everyone else. Unfortunately, the good people who hire these “professionals” fall prey to this narcissism and often fail to question the advice rendered to their peril.
The same problem is present in my legal profession as I have witnessed it in Lubbock and other smaller cities. For the record, there are exceptions to this rule in Lubbock for both medical and legal professionals for sure. However, I have seen more arrogance among lawyers towards clients and even other lawyers in Lubbock and smaller markets than larger venues. Again, that’s my opinion.
Arrogance is a bad sign as professionals in this category rarely listen to client issues and lack the empathy and care required to provide effective representation.
We are Here to Help
In essence, since a lawyer near me or an attorney near me is what people often search for, at Moster Craft we do have offices in smaller cities including Lubbock, Abilene, and Wichita Falls. However – our capacity extends to our larger offices in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.
Moreover, we have attorneys which can deep dive into the complexities of the critical areas of law including intellectual property, patents, complex litigation, estate planning, and transaction. You will also experience a refreshing attitude towards clients which is caring. I have a habit of firing arrogant lawyers.
Give us a call – wherever you live – for a free consultation and complimentary document review.