Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Lawyer's Time and Advice is His Stock and Trade

"A Lawyer's Time and Advice is His Stock and Trade." That quote was made famous by Abraham Lincoln. A good attorney can only be measured by his time and advice. As a professional group, we don't create great and memorable works of art. However, our time and advice have the power to change the world... and your life for the better.

So when you're faced with a decision on whether to hire an attorney for your case, consider the following quote from the Harvard Law Review written nearly 50 years ago by George D. Honrstein, titled Legal Therapeutics.

"One thousand plodding hours may be far less productive than one imaginative, brilliant hour. A surgeon who skillfully performs an appendectomy in seven minutes is entitled to no smaller fee than one who takes an hour; many a patient would think he is entitled to more. The dubious value of the time factor as a standard for legal services has been recognized. The value of a lawyer's services is not measured by time or labor merely. The practice of law is an art in which success depends as much as in any other art on the application of imagination - and sometimes inspiration - to the subject matter. Another fact to be borne in mind is that when hours become a criterion, economy of time may cease to be a virtue. Inexperience, inefficiency, even incompetence will be rewarded. Expeditious termination of litigation will be discouraged - to the great cost of all."

Ask yourself the following question: how much would you pay a doctor to cure you if you or a loved one had cancer? Is any price too high? Would you rather die of cancer or live a long, healthy and prosperous life or die of the cancer running its course through your body? The answer is simple. Cure me. However, when it comes to the law, people don't ask me to cure them; rather people ask me to fix what they did. That's what I do all day long. I'm trying to fix or undo what you did and my time and advice are my stock and trade.

William T. Bly, Esq.
Maine OUI Lawyer