Divorce, injury, custody battles and criminal charges – these incidents typically require lawyer representation in order to obtain justice. During these difficult times, attorneys become allies for individuals to properly represent and protect human rights.
Oftentimes legal matters are an inevitable part of life. However, these troublesome events can lead to negative legal correlation and affect public opinion. In an effort to resolve the stigma associated with the legal profession, Console and Associates surveyed over 1,000 individuals to obtain insight on a number of relevant issues.
Console and Associates is a personal injury law firm based in Marlton, New Jersey. Founded by managing attorney Richard P. Console, Jr. in 1994, its team of dedicated attorneys and support staff have won millions of dollars for victims involved in car accidents, medical malpractice, and injury cases throughout New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.
The survey asked respondents their honest opinion of the legal industry and lawyers.. The results revealed 68 percent of respondents held a levelheaded view of the profession, agreeing that lawyers ‘are useful in certain situations.’ When it came to the public perception of lawsuits, approximately 53 percent of respondents believed there’s nothing wrong with lawsuits when used in appropriate circumstances. However, over a third felt that lawsuits are filed too frequently and oftentimes inappropriately.
The survey also collected data on respondent opinions of how the stigma around lawyers has changed over time. Those who were polled do not believe the public’s perception of lawyers has changed very much, 39 percent claimed that ‘people think the same as always about lawyers,’ and nearly a quarter stated that they felt ‘people like lawyers more now.’
“The encouraging reality this data illustrates is that there’s only a small fraction of the public that truly has a negative perception of attorneys,” states Console.
America Isn’t as Sue-Happy as Most People Think
While America may have a reputation for being ‘sue-happy,’ there’s compelling evidence that most people actually have no involvement in lawsuits. More than 75 percent of the group surveyed have never been involved in a lawsuit.
Additionally, those who have been involved in an accident say they have opted not to sue, even despite injuries. The majority of the respondents in the survey had never been in the position to sue and more preferred not to proceed with legal action.
“There are numerous reasons why a person who is injured may choose not to sue,” offers Console. “Everything from a moral opposition to lawsuits, to the belief that their injuries are not severe enough, or the legal process is too complicated could be factors that prevent victims from getting the justice they deserve.”
The Real Cost of Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer
Many people are often apprehensive to hire an attorney simply because they believe it is unaffordable. About 51 percent believe that ‘they charge too much money.’ However, most injury lawsuits are generally handled on a contingency fee basis. This means that the attorney handling the claims gets a percentage of the money they recover for clients. With this type of billing arrangement, sometimes called “no win, no fee” representation, plaintiffs pay nothing upfront for legal representation services or for court costs that arise in pursuing the claim. If the plaintiff wins, those costs come out of the money won, as does the percentage-based attorneys’ fee.
The next most common misconception about hiring a lawyer is that most people don’t know if they have a strong, valid case. Working with an attorney that operates on a contingency basis will help guarantee your case is worth the fight, otherwise unsuccessfully pursuing a case would mean they never get reimbursed.
“If the number-one factor that’s holding people back from contacting an attorney when they need one is all a misconception, it means that many people, surely hundreds and potentially thousands – are missing out on getting the help they need all because of rumors, myths and misunderstandings,” Console expressed.
Finding the Right Attorney
In the prime time of digital advertisements, it’s surprising to find that when searching for an attorney, over 51 percent of respondents stated they would seek a referral from friends or family first. Only 21 percent would turn to Google. Television commercials also don’t appear to be effective means of advertising for lawyers – only 2.34 percent of survey respondents would contact an attorney based on their television advertisements.
Clients also want to see a high success rate from their lawyers. In the survey, Console and Associates asked respondents to rank the following qualifications in order of importance when choosing a lawyer: positive reviews, proven results, experience, trustworthiness, approachability and compassion, and testimonials by prior clients. Proven results were the top-rated qualification with 29 percent. The following three attributes – proven results, experience and trustworthiness – ranked all within a single percentage point difference of each other.
“For people interested in hiring a lawyer, the end results are what matter the most,” offers Console. “The public sees a law firm’s past record of success as the most meaningful predictor of future results.”
When respondents were asked what trait they believe makes a good attorney, intelligence ranked highest followed by honesty. Despite the common misconception of invasive lawyer tactics, only 7 percent of respondents stated aggressive action was desirable.
If you have been involved in an accident or malpractice, reach out to Console and Associates today for a risk-free assessment to get you the compensation you deserve.