Monday, April 5, 2010

Lawyers "Case Results" On Websites--Reading Between The Lines For What It REALLY Means

Recently I glanced at a personal injury lawyer's website. It featured video clips of him lecturing visitors on the importance of choosing a lawyer who has tried cases to juries. Unaware of ANY jury verdicts this attorney has achieved, I searched the "case results" section of his website. Perhaps I was wrong, I thought, and he had obtained some decent jury verdicts after all.

Listed were numerous cases the attorney had handled. After every case, the term "awarded" was used. One MAJOR problem with use of the term "awarded:" he didn't mention whether these "awards" were in the form of a jury verdict. To the unsuspecting public, his use of the term "awarded" might be equated with actual jury verdicts. But to those of us who actually try cases to juries consistently, we know the difference. His "awards" could just as easily be insurance company "settlements" that did not involve even a lawsuit, much less a jury verdict.

What difference does the subtle distinction bewteen an "award" and a jury verdict mean? A lot. Proven ability to go the distance--from a lawsuit all the way to a jury verdict--makes insurance companies take notice that the attorney or firm will commit the resources to try the case to a verdict if a settlement offer is inadequate. It's the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.

The only "verdict" listed on the website? It was an out of state verdict that was handled by an out of state law firm, with no indication that the Ohio attorney had any involvement with it. If an attorney or firm is going to brag about jury trial experience or "verdicts," don't you think they should be listed as such? And be their own verdicts and not some other firm's?

I do.

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