I work very hard to be a good lawyer, but part of being a good lawyer also means being an ethical lawyer and actually caring about my clients' cases. Sometimes, I care more than they do, but that's a different story. However, I take pains to do well, keep my nose clean, and follow rules.
Now today I was supposed to have started a trial. But I did not and it will start on Monday. It will start on this Monday because yestreday I happened to call opposing counsel who said to me, "Oh yeah, I was gonna call you - listen, I'm probably not showing up tomorrow?"
"Yeah, I got another trial in Rancho, so I won't be at ours . . ."
Well, I did show up today - and argued the riot act at the judge who sanctioned the other attorney (who was on the phone, calling in from the other courthouse), making him pay for my time there. And you know what? I am sure that he did not care. The other attorney just shrugged, got ready to write the check, and went on his merry way with his other trial.
I don't get it. Why do I bother sometime? Why do I worry about doing the right thing and I see attorneys who are absolute buffoons?
If you need a lawyer, the best way to find one is to find someone you trust and ask for a referral. I would not pick an attorney from the Yellow Pages. Frankly, there are a lot of whores (yes, that's right, that's the word I used) who will take your money and do nothing for you. Get a reference, and if you need to retain one, have a consultation with several - this is a person into whose hands you are going to place your life's matter. And if you have to pay for a consultation, do so - remember the old adage, you get what you pay for. An attorney offering a free consultation and a low retainer is not your best deal if they are incompetent.
And yet - it is a rare day a lawyer is disbarred for mere incompetence. A felony conviction? Dipping into the ol' trust fund? Sure, that will do it - but not simply being bad at being a lawyer.