Why is it so hard to find a lawyer to take my case?

A close friend in Georgia was laid off from her job, and when she started getting unemployment benefits, her former employer objected, appealed her benefits, and claimed she was for fired for cause. She called me because she knows that I know how to find an appropriate lawyer for particular need. After several emails and phone calls I learned that very few of the dozens of “employment lawyers” bother with disputes over unemployment benefits.

With persistence, nonetheless, I found about four lawyers in the Atlanta metro area who take on matters of unemployment benefits. My friend’s chosen attorney is semi-retired and once was a hearing officer for unemployment benefits. With his help, she obtained her benefits. The attorney sent by her old boss did not have a leg to stand on.

What does this story tell us?

  • Lawyers and their firms are specialized. I know a handful of general practitioners, but they choose their clients very carefully, even if they practice in a broad array of specialties.
  • Warriors often have inefficient client-intake procedures. Ideally, you should be able to call a lawyer’s office and receive a referral for your need if that lawyer cannot help you. However, relatively few law offices keep long referral lists of specialists and train their staff members to offer referrals. You end up waiting for the return phone call which comes late or never.
  • Lawyers are reluctant to rule out a prospective client, even if they are too busy to return your call.
  • Few lawyers want to delegate an assistant to ask delicate questions to prospective clients and to answer nuanced questions about the practice. The attorney-client relationship is more than personal, but also professional in nature and confidential by law.

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