Bigger & Harman, APC - June 2018





DRIVER Attorneys Defending Your Right to the Road

JUNE 2018

THE ART OF LISTENING What They Don’t Teach You in Law School

As some of you may know, Paul and I serve on the board of our alma mater, Oak Brook College of Law. With the arrival of June, students from our school and around the country are about to get their diplomas and embark on their own carreers in the legal world. To these graduates, we extend our heartfelt congratulations! This approaching milestone has caused Paul and me to ask ourselves what wisdom we can pass along to this new generation of legal representatives? Ultimately, we realized the most important and successful aspects of our legal careers boil down to one thing: listening. Time and time again, listening has improved our ability to represent our clients. Listening to our clients and their needs, listening to feedback from judges, and yes, even listening to and understanding the prosecution. They don’t really teach this skill in law school, in part because humility and empathy can’t be taught. Often, when people first pass the bar, they think of themselves as consummate experts. They bounce around from one field to the next, acting like they know best. These are the lawyers with their faces on billboards, buses, and TV commercials. They spend so much time on messaging and advertising that they forget to listen to their clients’ needs. No amount of advertising in the world can defend you from a bad reputation in court. Law schools frequently place an emphasis on winning cases. Some lawyers get the mentality that whoever has the most wins under their belt is clearly the better lawyer, and they take risks at their clients’ expense. We see this all the time in the legal world, and it’s a real shame.

The drivers we represent are often faced with the choice of whether to fight a ticket or pay the fine. Fighting means there’s a chance we could get the ticket dismissed entirely, as if it had never been written in the first place.

Some lawyers get the mentality that whoever has the most wins

However, “fighting” doesn’t always mean taking a case to trial. Sometimes, given the evidence, it’s best to try to work out a plea deal to avoid getting DMV points and a moving violation on one’s record, but agreeing to pay a fine. If we were only interested in getting as many “wins” for our firm as possible, we’d urge clients to have us take a case to trial regardless of our chances of getting a dismissal and avoiding the most damaging effects of a ticket — DMV points and a moving violation on your record. We know how much having a moving violation on your record can impact your employment as a commercial driver. To go ahead and risk your future to try and get ourselves another trial win in front of a judge would be egregiously irresponsible. Every case is different, and every driver’s needs are unique. That’s why we don’t go into a consultation with a one-size-fits-all strategy. We are there to listen to you, because then we will know the absolute best way to help. And that’s what being a lawyer is all about, isn’t it? That’s our message to the next generation of lawyers. Listen, treat people right, and you will go far in life. Let’s put an end to the stigma surrounding attorneys by bringing empathy and humility back into the courtroom. under their belt is clearly the better lawyer, and they take risks at their clients’ expense.”

–Mark Bigger

(661) 859-1177 | 1

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