Winter Park attorney Eric A. Lanigan has practiced Florida law since 1976 and asks clients to ask: Does your attorney have the experience to win a case?
Does Your Attorney Have the Experience to Win a Case?
Eric has handled many hundreds of cases and faced numerous judges and juries. He’s a skilled and tough negotiator and will work to achieve outcomes based on a clients’ interests.
Whenever I meet with a new client I know there’s always a question that’s hanging in the air that needs to be answered and that question is why should I hire you? And I always think back to 37 years ago when I was a 28-year-old lawyer and I went out on my own and set up an office with three files and a part-time secretary.
Why Should I Hire You? Experience
And I would be asked that question you know, “well Eric Lanigan why should I hire you?” And I didn’t say this but I remember thinking to myself, “I have no earthly idea why you would hire me. I’m 28 years old, I don’t have any experience and I’m not sure I even know what I’m doing.”
Now of course I never said that. And fortunately for me today that is not the answer because I think what’s important to a client that I can effectively say today with all honestly and not a hidden answer and that is that what we bring to the table is experience. I’ve been in practice for 40 years. My son Roddy has been in practice for 10 years and working with me throughout that period of time.
In that 40 years I’ve seen every kind of case that I’ve handled in different stages of my life: criminal cases and family law cases — neither one of which I practice now–but it was a great experience and a learning experience, not only about law but about people and about judges.
Relentless Pursuit of Your Case?
But I think more important that experience is an attribute that I always felt like was the number one thing that I found in successful lawyers. And it wasn’t necessarily experience. It wasn’t necessarily a genius IQ but it came down to one thing: perseverance. Was somebody prepared to relentlessly pursue the case?
And by relentlessly pursue it I mean it’s the same if you’re in your office in the middle of the day or you’re shaving at 6 o’clock in the morning, thinking about different cases and what’s going on in those cases. It’s a relentless never letting go of trying to reach a successful conclusion.
Will You Prevail in Your Case?
Another attribute that I think is critical that I think I’ve developed, tried to develop and hone over time is practicality. I’m convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt clients are not interested in whether you won this hearing or that hearing or how did you out maneuver somebody as to trivial matters. What they want to know is am I going to prevail in my case?
Am I going to be successful? Is the case going to be successfully prosecuted? Is it going to be successfully defended? Am I going to know all the pros and cons of my case? Am I going to have somebody who’s not afraid to sit down and say to me there’s a real problem in your case and here’s what it is and here’s how we have to deal with it. I’ve been sitting in courtrooms before where I looked at the client — my opponent’s client — and I literally remember a case where I looked at the guy and I thought, “does that guy have any idea of what’s happening to him right now?”
Because he just sat there like a deer in the headlights. And in my mind anyway the ultimate conclusion of this case was painfully obvious. And luckily for me it was painfully obvious in my favor.
Will You Be in a State of Shock?
And that result ultimately occurred and I remember looking at my adversary’s client sitting over there completely befuddled and I realized the reality was he had just never been really effectively told the real pros and cons of his case. And so when the when the anvil fell he was in a state of total shock.
Are You Ready for the Truth?
And that was one of those lessons that I learned that yes it was very nice to win but the main thing I learned out of that case which was some 20 years ago was don’t ever let your client be in that situation.
Whether you’re on the winning side or the losing side don’t ever be there when you look over at your client and you realize they have no idea what just happened or why.
A Good Lawyer Conveys Bad News
And that’s one of the most important things a lawyer can do sometimes is convey bad news. And I’m glad to say that there’s one thing that I’ve I’ve learned over the years is it’s sort of like as one lawyer told me one time he said, “Bad news is just like that rotting fish. It’s never going to get better it’s only going to get worse.” So get it out there and effectively deal with it.