How can I choose the law firm that will provide the personalized service that I need and want?

Even though Israel is a small young nation, we do have many lawyers.  Maybe even too many?

 Some numbers:

There are around 80,000 licensed attorneys in Israel.  Only about 60,000 of them are currently practicing law as active lawyers.

The two largest law firms in Israel are Herzog, Fox & Neeman, and Meitar, Liquornik, GevaLeshem and Tal.  Both law firms have around 500 employees in total at their offices.  This number includes lawyers, interns, secretaries and others.   Even by Israeli standards, it is an enormous number of people!

These law firms usually have only one branch in the State of Israel (at least that is what it shows on their website). There are other large firms such as, Yigal Arnon & Co, which have branches in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Misleading Information (“Matsag Shav“):

What is an example of false representation or false presentation?  Is it when a person tells you, for example, “I am a doctor (MD)” when he is not, or “I am a lawyer that has offices in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Nicaragua (by the way … is the manager in Nicaragua Mr. North?), when they do not have what they claim or are not what they claim! And they don’t period!

 When a law firm or attorney implies that they have offices all around Israel, they are being misleading.  This is done to persuade you to hire them because the implication is that bigger firms are better than smaller ones.

Keep in mind that there are not any lawyers in Israel who have offices, “all over Israel”. Today, the trend is to simplify.  If a lawyer cannot afford to have his/her own office space, but needs a place to conduct business, he/she can rent an office by the hour, day or monthly.  In some cases, they can make a contract with another office to use their premises and their business name.  This does not constitute having several locations and according to the Israeli Bar is a forbidden practice.  

How many times have you called a law office or company and they say that the reason they cannot answer your phone call is that they want to give the client their full attention???  Therefore, “a call center” will usually take your call.  The real meaning is that they cannot afford a secretary during regular business hours.

In some cases, an answering machine answers your phone call and the outgoing message says that they are “currently busy and for you to please leave a message”. Let me ask you this, why would you hire someone whose 24/7 voicemail states that they are always busy? When will this lawyer have time for YOU?

Another very misleading representation by attorneys is when they state that they specialize in in a specific type of law.  If an attorney says that they have vast experience in a specific field it could be true, but if that person has only been a lawyer for just a few years the word, “vast” is relative.

If I could be candid for just a moment – clients can be very difficult to handle.

Have you met someone suffering from TMI? Well, clients with Too Much Information (TMI) syndrome can be self-destructive.

For example: When a lawyer asks his client where they were born, and they answer, “well…I was born in the UK, moved to South Africa where I finished my degree and finally I have been living in the US for past 15 years before making Aliyah.”

This is a typical response with someone who has TMI syndrome. All I asked the client was his place of birth, to answer a simple form question.  I only have one inch to answer the question and the answer should just be; “UK” – short, clean and simple.

In a courtroom this syndrome is destructive to the person testifying. Further, you are not to volunteer information. Do not speculate or guess at the answer. If the attorney has asked you to answer a question “yes” or “no”, be sure that every assumption or statement in the question is true and accurate before responding yes, otherwise, the answer should be no.

Other real-life examples of how some clients can be a bit difficult to work with:

I had asked my client to send me a copy of their ID by email using a PDF file and 30 seconds after the client agreed to do so I received a picture of his ID via Whats-app … It is not the same and mostly it is a waste of time.

There was a time when a client showed up over an hour late to his scheduled appointment; He did not think it was a big deal “because he knew that I would be in the office all day”.

I think the most offensive is when a potential client just shows up unexpectedly or calls asking for “just a short and quick question” or “just a moment of your time”.

There is not such thing in the law profession as just a short answer after a short question.  It is important to give all the details to get the correct answer.

Questions of wisdom:

Why would a lawyer respect a client who has no respect for him or for his time?

Why would a client hire a compulsive liar as a lawyer to be his representative?

Why would a lawyer need to use false pretenses to convince someone to hire him?

The answer is that between black and white there is a lot of gray. Don’t let anyone misguide you.

It is also true that the bond between the clients and the lawyers should be more than just a service to be given and received.  Mutual trust and respect need to exist in addition to some good vibe and chemistry.

 

The Szajnbrum Group