Question Mark


Jeffrey M. Liggio Feb. 21, 2024

To say I’m an infrequent blogger is an understatement, but I’m very frustrated, and I just had to get this off my chest.

I’ve been practicing law now for more than 41 years.  During that time, I’ve won some and I’ve lost my share of lawsuits. 

I never embellish and I never minimize what happens in any particular lawsuit.  I try my best to keep my clients informed, I try to share with them what is going well, and what is not going well.  If a suit is problematic and there are roadblocks we may not be able to overcome, I inform our clients in a direct and no-nonsense manner.

But… I wonder if I’m an outlier in my approach to clients and our communications.

I’ve often said that we have unusual practice. 

For a very small firm, we specialize in disputes that very few practitioners handle: complex health insurance disputes, fraudulent sale of life insurance and health insurance, abuse of elderly homeowners with reverse mortgages, abusive and bad faith conduct of insurers, complex class actions, and some personal injury claims.

We simply refuse to take a case that is not within our expertise. 

As small and as busy as we are, we simply don’t have time to properly educate ourselves in something outside of our areas of expertise.  If we did so against our better judgment, that is a recipe for failure both for our clients and for us as well.  We clearly, bluntly and respectfully explain that to the perspective clients so that they can find other, better counsel for their case, and so that we can concentrate on helping the clients we are serving within our areas of focus.

Don’t you agree that ought to be a basic concept for all of us, in our respective areas of expertise?

Recently, several very nice and deserving clients have come to us with ongoing cases, where their lawyers, after representing them for several years, decided to withdraw from their cases.

Now, when a client is being difficult and abusive to their lawyers and staff, and when a client refuses to take their lawyers’ advice, in those situations the lawyers must withdraw.

Instead, for these clients, their previous lawyers were over their heads in matters they shouldn’t have taken in the first place, and they bailed out as the matters proceeded towards trial.

We obtained the files from these lawyers and it is stark how they simply didn’t know what they were doing in these cases and shouldn’t have taken them in the first place. 

Of course, when I visited these lawyers’ websites, they hold themselves out as true experts in these and similar matters.

The judges presiding over these cases are required to push cases to resolution by virtue of the mandates placed upon them by the Florida Supreme Court. Those mandates are important to keep the civil justice system running so that every litigant can receive a fair shake. 

That means that we have a very short window to attempt to totally revise these cases and put them on the proper path to a successful resolution. 

Our new clients are very nice people who have been treated badly, first by the defendants in their cases, and then by the lawyers they hired to obtain redress.

I frankly don’t know if we will succeed in our efforts to revive these nice folks’ cases and assist them, which we’ve had to tell them when we began our relationship.

For the lawyers who may read this, if you take a case that is beyond your expertise and beyond your ability to handle properly and you withdraw, it hurts all of us and reinforces the stereotypes about lawyers.

Admit what you don’t know….