Legal Question in Medical Malpractice in District of Columbia

My lawyer keeps insisting I settle for anything I can get at this ethical?

Asked on 11/05/14, 3:26 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Stephen B. Pershing Stephen B. Pershing, Esq.

Hi--I suspect you won't find this fully satisfying, but the honest answer is it depends. The lawyer's independent professional judgment is what you pay her or him for, and what the ethical rules oblige him or her to give you. Even if you believe the lawyer is angling for a quick settlement at your expense, you have to look at it the way a court or disciplinary body would if it were to review the lawyer's actions under the ethical rules. You'd have to show, at a minimum, that the case was in fact worth more than the lawyer pressed you to settle for; that the lawyer's pressure was applied in bad faith, i.e. motivated by self-interest, as opposed to the client's interest; and that you decided, under duress and to your detriment, to settle for whatever s/he urged. If you can't show those things, you're better off either continuing the tussle with this lawyer, opening your mind to persuasion and imploring her or him to do the same, or else going in search of other counsel.

One thing I can suggest, regardless of whether you drop your current lawyer, is to go get a second opinion of the merits of your case. The attorney-client privilege is yours to waive, meaning the lawyer has to keep your confidences but you don't. Go see someone and get a second take on the likely value of the claim you're faced with mediating, and see what you can learn. Approach it with a certain detachment, if at all possible, or at least remember that the lawyer you're paying is doing her or his job by being more detached than you are from the misery and the feeling of being wronged.

Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you'd like to bat it around some more. --Steve Pershing.

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Answered on 11/24/14, 10:46 pm

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