THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM OFFERING PROFESSIONAL AND COMPASSIONATE ADVOCACY FOR ACCIDENT VICTIMS OF CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC
I am going to deviate from my normal substantive articles about the law and delve into a question that I am asked a lot by potential clients when they walk into my office . . . "Who Is The Best Car Accident Attorney in Charleston?" To say that is a loaded question would be a vast understatement. However, as a lawyer I understand that this question is coming from someone who may be entering the legal system for the first time and really is "flying blind" into hiring an attorney. As I have gained experience over the years I have decided that the answer to this question is made up of three specific components: the expertise of the lawyer, the public persona of the lawyer, and the expectations of the client. The point of this article is to explore these three components and show that the answer to the question "Who is The Best Car Accident Attorney in Charleston" is always relative to each individual.
THE EXPERTISE OF THE LAWYER
This is an obvious statement but it must be said, a lawyer can't be the best at something if he or she isn't an expert in the matter. I will start from the baseline that nearly 100% of my colleagues are versed and competent in the practice of law. There is no doubt in my mind that nearly without exception, all my fellow members of the South Carolina Bar could competently take an auto accident case to settlement or trial. I will always defer to the baseline that knowing the law is the easiest part of being a lawyer.
Naturally you may be asking "why do I need a lawyer who specifically practices in auto accidents if every lawyer knows the law of negligence?" This is where specific experience comes into play. Lets flip the script and say that instead of a lawyer, we are talking about a doctor. If your family doctor was able to diagnose that you had a heart condition that required surgery and that the surgery required 8 steps, would you want your family doctor to perform the surgery if he had never performed one before? Or, would you prefer that the surgery be performed by a cardiologist who had performed the operation 100 times? Now both doctors have the same academic knowledge about the cause and cure for the condition, but which one are you going to trust when its time to face the fire?
The expertise in lawyering is not found in a book, or in law school, or in a lecture at a convention. The expertise in lawyering comes from experience in the specific field in which we choose to practice. Its why some of us practice in personal injury and auto accident law, its why some practice in tax, its why some practice in estate planning. The specific experience and concentration of the lawyer is where the expertise of the lawyer comes into play and best serves the client. Optometrists do not do heart surgery, and tax lawyers shouldn't be hired to handle car accident cases. It's that simple.
So, the first part in the quest to identify "The Best Auto Accident Attorney in Charleston" is that he or she must be one versed in handling auto accidents. We have more practice at it and we know all the pitfalls and nuance needed to successfully handle a car accident claim.
THE PUBLIC PERSONA OF THE LAWYER
The second component in determining "The Best Auto Accident Attorney in Charleston" is to examine the public persona of the lawyer. As a auto accident and personal injury lawyer, I practice in a market where I am up against very large law firms who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a month in advertising. We have seen the silly commercials where the attorney is holding the oversize cartoon check. We have seen the commercials where the lady is in shark infested waters and somehow translates this to her need to hire an auto accident attorney. Most of us even snicker and laugh when we see these advertisements. Most of us even notice the disclaimer that the people in the commercial are paid actors and not even the real clients. We hear person after person tell us "I got $100,000 Dollars" or "My case settled for "$300,000 dollars fast" . . . As a buying public we get so caught up in the show that we never take the time to do the dissection.
I have been asked by clients "why do personal injury attorneys make these silly advertisements?" I always have the same two answers - because they work and because they have to work. What does that mean? At large car accident and personal injury firms, they have budgets and case loads that support advertising like this and of course marketing is the lifeblood of any successful business. It is the second answer where the danger comes in. These advertisements have to work. The budget required to maintain such a grossly expensive advertising campaign requires that the pipeline must always be fed - fed with money and new clients.
This brings us to the place where priorities must be measured. As a potential client of a car accident lawyer, ask yourself why the lawyer presents himself or herself to the public in the manner that they do. Are silly television ads, catchy phrases, and always celebrating the next best big case settlement about the lawyer or about the client. Who is the center of attention and why is the attorney doing this job. Is it for you, the client, or is it so the lawyer can publicize him or herself.
The point here is this . . . for anyone to call themselves "The Best Auto Accident Attorney In Charleston," it has to always be about the client! Period . . . end of story . . . no exceptions!
THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE CLIENT
The final component to the answer we are seeking is the most important component. It is always the expectations and experiences of each individual client that helps that client answer the question of "Who is The Best Car Accident Attorney In Charleston." A lawyer can never consider him or herself to be the answer to that question if they do not go out of there way to determine what is expect by the client and being able to deliver services to meet those expectations.
Expectations are more or less preferences, just on a more professional level. For one client, expectations may be that they hire a super large firm that takes on 50 cases a month. The client prefers to work with a paralegal, an assistant, and a team of people that will periodically communicate to the client important dates or paperwork that is needed. The client will have very limited access to the attorney assigned to the case, who in most cases will not be the attorney shown in the silly television ad that lured the client into that firm. I'm not being sarcastic here, there are some (not a lot) of potential clients who will always assume "bigger is better." They forgo a personal relationship with their attorney because "that's how law firms do it." The truth is for those type of potential clients, that type of experience will meet their pre-conceived expectations and they will be happy with what they get as a work product from their lawyer. That's fine . . . one size does not fit all!
Personally, what I am seeing as a trend in the marketplace is that potential clients want a more personal experience with their lawyer. Familiarity breeds security. My practice is being sought out because I am a solo practitioner who specifically handles car accident cases, not in spite of it. What myself and some other colleagues have figured out is that clients want consistency! When the potential client walks in for the Free Consultation, they see my face. When they are contacted concerning deadlines, and offers, and paperwork, they hear my voice. When a matter goes to trial, they see me in the courtroom. The small firm experience allows me, as a legal advocate, to dig in deeper and not only apply the law to the benefit of my clients, but also find out what is truly important to them. Your lawyer does his or her job best not because he gets you a lump sum cash settlement, the job is done best because we have gone through the fight with you and we know why it is so important to you!
Being "The Best Auto Accident Attorney in Charleston" requires that your lawyer deliver a level of service that exceeds any expectations of the client. Being the best is not found on the face of a over-sized check. Being the best comes from those small details found in the nooks and crannies of each case. Know the clients, let them see your face, let them hear your voice, be more than their lawyer, be their advocate and their partner.
THE MCMILLIAN LAW FIRM - CHARLESTON, SC AND SUMMERVILLE, SC CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
Contact Jay McMillian at The McMillian Law Firm. Once you have obtained legal representation on your matter, the insurance company must cease direct contact and deal with your lawyer instead. Contact me as soon as possible so that I may conduct a site visit of the accident and begin to obtain witness statements, police reports, and all relevant materials I need to build your case towards an acceptable settlement or trial.
It is never too early to contact me! Each and every day is a day the insurance company will try and short-change your claim. I am available for home visits, hospital visits, nights and weekends, just let me know what works for you.
If you have been involved in a car accident and live in Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, James Island, Johns Island, West Ashley, Goose Creek, Moncks Corner, Walterboro, Folly Beach, or any of the other fine communities of the South Carolina Low Country, contact The McMillian Law Firm now!! 843-900-1306 or email at [email protected]