As a lawyer I can’t guarantee you a win. If I could I would be the most successful lawyer on the face of the planet. But any lawyer who guarantees a result isn’t being truthful. And any lawyer who intimates a result by saying things like “I never lost a trial” or “I’ve won 98% of my cases” isn’t being completely truthful either.
Somewhere along the line, after far too many lawyer TV shows and movies, there appeared this notion that good lawyers win and great lawyers win all of the time. Not true. Good lawyers can lose, and great lawyers lose more often. Why? Because to be a great lawyer you have to try your best, give your all, and take even tough cases to trial. Sometimes you win tough cases, sometimes you lose. Great lawyers fight hard for easy and tough cases.
If you only focus on winning, you become risk averse. Lawyers who say: “I have never lost a trial” haven’t had many trials—or at least not many tough trials. Taking only the easy cases to trial is not being a good lawyer. In fact, easy cases don’t go to trial most of the time because they settle. It’s the tough cases that don’t settle. So what does a lawyer who is afraid to lose (and ruin his claim of never losing a trial) do with a tough case? He runs for the hills.
Clients should never hire a lawyer because he or she will guarantee a win on their case. Clients should hire a lawyer to give them a voice, navigate the litigation process, defend their rights and fight for their rights. Zealous advocacy is required by our lawyer ethical rules, but not often practiced to the degree it should be. Will you win your case with this type of lawyer? I don’t know. But giving yourself the best opportunity to reach a desired result never hurts. It’s not about winning, it’s about fighting the good fight for as long as it needs to be fought. Winning isn’t in your hands, that’s up to the Judge or Jury to decide. Fighting hard is in your control. So rather than worrying about winning, put your resources into a good fight and oftentimes either a win or a favorable settlement comes your way.