Virgil Kim

Consumer Class Action Lawyer Fee Percentages Don’t Make Sense

consumer class action attorney feesHow many consumer class actions have you heard of where the consumer came out ahead? No one has, cause they are few and far between. And new research available through the Institute for Legal Reform further confirms that when it comes to acquiring significant compensation for consumers, most class actions really are a joke.

Scratch that. They’re not even close to being funny for lawyers fighting on behalf of consumers, or their brethren around the defense side. Consumer attorneys frequently win even if they lose. About one third of all cases are dismissed voluntarily, with the lawyers and certain plaintiffs often paid to go away, while the majority of those they should be fighting for get nothing. Defense lawyers, obviously, get compensated in each and every situation.

Even in instances where lawyers really negotiate funds with respect to the category, abysmal sums of money flow towards the consumers who have been the supposed reason behind the suit to begin with.

How abysmal? Scientists researched every consumer class action lawsuit in federal court in ’09 as stated by two major commercial lawsuit guides. They discovered that in five of six cases when settlement distribution data was really available, the proportion of sophistication people who really got money ranged from 12% to .000006%. (The sixth situation had near a 100 percent payout ratio, however it involved the Bernie Madoff scam.)

For practical reasons, counsel for plaintiffs (as well as for defendants) are often really the only beneficiaries from the class actions, the authors conclude.

objections for consumer lawsuitI’m able to hear the objections already. The ILR is financed through the U.S. Chamber, whose corporate people hate class actions. Mayer Brown generally works best for the defense.The study was on the sample from the 1000’s of sophistication actions which are filed every year. However that doesn’t alter the details, which Mayer Brown scientists visited great measures to compile.

They selected the entire year 2009 since it was 4 years after the Class Action Justness Act of 2005, which reduce probably the most egregious practices from the class-action bar. Individuals include negotiating coupon pay outs where clients win the privilege of purchasing discounted items in the same firms that allegedly ripped them off, as the lawyers are compensated in cash. (Description of how the are only able to be compensated a charge in line with the coupons really sold.) And also the law removes most national consumer class actions to federal courts, where judicial oversight is usually regarded as more rigorous.

According to this research, CAFA didn’t help consumers much. The scientists recognized 148 class actions in the 2009 vintage, after getting rid of labor- and investments-related cases, which operate under various and more rigorous legal rules. Additionally they removed me-too cases by lawyers who typically gang on companies wishing for any small bit of the charges from the settlement. From the 148 remaining cases, 28% were settled, 27% were ignored around the merits, 30% were under your own accord ignored through the lawyers or chosen a person basis, and 14% remained as pending.

Not really a single situation visited trial, illustrating the main reason complaintant lawyers love the category-action system a lot. When a judge certifies a situation being an action with respect to 1000’s or countless consumers, the stakes are often excessive for businesses to think about anything apart from settling. While lawyers under your own accord dismiss some weak cases and idol judges dismiss others, chances are lawyers get compensated something for all of them. Just like a union boss cutting an offer to help keep his people from employment sites, the category-action lawyer isn’t above shedding his situation in return for a charge.

It’s not unusual to have the ability to bargain using the named complaintant and get rid of the putative class action lawsuit,î stated Andy Pincus, someone in Mayer Brownís Washington office and cause of the report. Even when the judge dismisses the situation, he added, if you’re wise you may still visit the defendant and say, Look, I believe I’m able to appeal this.

Most voluntary dismissals are private, so class people never discover just how much their onetime lawyers and named plaintiffs were compensated to decrease what once appeared like an extremely promising situation. They are doing their part to increase pay, obviously, by means of greater prices around the products or services they’re buying later on.

fee breakdownBecause of the judicial and voluntary dismissals, the authors conclude, consumers get zero in over fifty percent from the suggested class actions filed. The category-action settlement rate of 33% is way less than the typical of 67% in federal courts. The trickiest federal cases concerning constitutional questions settled in a greater rate.

When consumer class actions do settle, lawyers usually negotiate an offer that pays them as well as their named plaintiffs well, but provides little to absolutely nothing to their other clients. The most typical tool is really a claims made settlement, to which everyone who allegedly lost money due to a company’s chicanery is bound through the the settlement, but must make individual states be compensated. Lawyers on sides know very little you will take time to complete documents for any 50-cent settlement check defense lawyers rely on this when calculating the best price of funds.

Idol judges, regrettably, don’t approach the problem having a similar degree of financial acumen. They often times award complaintant lawyers a portion from the purported worth of the settlement, even when those who negotiated it be aware of payout is going to be much smaller sized. One of the ways they fix this issue is as simple as permitting lawyers to influence the cash they are fully aware consumers won’t ever receive into non profit organizations underneath the doctrine. That’s be a playground for mischief, as lawyers and idol judges attempt to send money to unrelated non profit organizations that simply might further an individual agenda that belongs to them, including medical centers associated with esteemed colleges their children may want to attend, or perhaps in the situation of the infamous Facebook settlement, a charity that’ll be underneath the charge of the organization funding it.

Only inside a rare subset of pay outs perform the lawyers generate a mechanism through which plaintiffs are compensated instantly. This really is hard to impossible at school actions over consumer items, in which the settling company doesn’t know who its clients are. The Mayer Brown team found 3 consumer class actions with automatic distribution, one concerning banking services and yet another a web-based game where class people got game points deposited for their account.

One serious problem facing anybody who would like to study the potency of class-action lawyers is the penchant for secrecy with regards to the amounts their customers really collect. Idol judges, for reasons most widely known privately, rarely require lawyers to reveal how much cash is really compensated in such pay outs although the entire process should be open and susceptible to judicial review. The secrecy serves lawyersí interests by reduction of pressure on charges that will appear enormously inflated when the true worth of their pay outs was revealed.

For this reason the scientists were only in a position to pull distribution data for six cases, but research through the RAND Corp. yet others indicates many instances have similarly low payout rates for consumers.

The report features a roster of pay outs where lawyers were compensated handsomely as well as their clients got little to nothing, including:

Heartland Payment Systems Data Security Breach: From a purported type of 130 million clients hurt with a data breach, 11 claims were compensated for as many as $110,000. Lawyers take: $641,000.

DirectBuy lawsuit: Class people receive discount rates on membership renewals from business that allegedly ripped them off lawyers get around $a million in charges.

Kellogs Grain Crispies lawsuit: Consumer class action lawyers at The Cooper Law Firm. Consumers receive the authority to a $5 refund, while lawyers seek 1 / 2 of the supposed $2.5 million claim fund.

Marek v. Lane: Class people receive to attend future conferences by company that allegedly unsuccessful to provide guaranteed services lawyers get $1.4 million for his or her shrewd negotiating abilities.

This research was timed partly to create evidence for that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that is studying whether or not this should ban class-action waivers in consumer contracts. The U.S. Top Court has frequently upheld the validity of these waivers, which steer consumer complaints in to the arbitration system, against complaints by complaintant lawyers that customers be more effective offered underneath the class-action mechanism.

Why families should pursue compensation following a loved one’s death

Wrongful death lawyer

When a loved one dies, his or her immediate family will experience a big loss. Such a loss is even felt by close friends, colleges at work or even social media fans. Before death, the loved one could have been a vibrant investor who amassed great wealth or held a top position at work. Definitely there is an estate left to be inherited. While there might be good reasons to pursue compensations, at times there are considerably many reasons families hold on when seeking it.

Who should benefit from the compensation?

Families are of different grades. A person could have been single with no wife or children. At times, you could have had a spouse but no children. Moreover, you could have had a spouse and children. Far more complicated is when you have a spouse and registered domestic partner too. Which category do parents and non-related minors fall under? To fully point out the people regarded as family during a compensation case, below is a comprehensive list.

* Married spouse

* Registered and affiliated domestic partner

* Dependent parents

* Living children

* Any minor who was under the deceased’s custody for more than 180 days before death

While some States may include other people, the above members are globally recognized as parts of any family. As for the domestic partner, whether they are on any payroll or not, they are eligible for benefits from the compensation. A death attorney too considers dependable parents as eligible for the cash. Being dependent does not mean they benefit from cash only; any other service that held them together is termed as dependent. What if the minor was on a visit? First, you have to accept that they have a share before thinking otherwise independent of the cause of stay.

Why pursue compensation?

You might reconsider the pursuit of legal action following the death of your loved one if you weigh your options lightly. First, who will cater for the expenses left? You can look down upon them but their magnitude is great on your savings.

Actually a single expense might deplete your entire savings. What are the expenses to watch out for?

* Ambulance fees during any medical evacuation

* Medical expenses including medication bills

* Any loss of cash when attending to the deceased’s hospitalization

* Suffering and pain the deceased experienced before death

* Burial and funeral expenses

Sometimes the deceased happens to have left a will that indicates the expenses to pay and those not to. If some happen to have not been listed in the will, a death attorney will ensure they are given to the family member claiming.

Compensation for damages left

Are these damages related to criminal activities? It is normal for people to think of any criminal activity involving the deceased in before death. When claiming damage compensation, it means that financial dependency relationship existed that stalled after death of the loved one. Such damages are either economical or non-economical.

What is economical damage?

Were you dependent on the deceased financially when still alive? If you were, you are entitled to financial support that is calculated according to present values. What is present value? This the value of money that needs to be invested currently to produce the same cash you could have got as financial support.

Is economical damage limited to time?

Yes. Actually you are entitled to the compensation for a limited duration of time. Often, this time is considered as either the deceased life expectancy or your own life expectancy. The scale used to determine life expectancy varies from one legal institution to another. What of a minor? A minor is only compensated till adulthood.

Non-economical damage

Refers to any service or relation that is currently missing. It may be love, affection or companionship. Such services are estimated and compensated to the family members. If there was a minor under their guidance or training, they are too entitled for a share of the compensation.

While some might term the above issues as manipulative, in today’s economy, nothing is manipulative as long as it is proven right by a legal institution. Rise and start your journey to claiming compensation in the event of death of a loved one.

How Employment Lawyers Can Explain The Benefits of Class Action Cases

Benefits White Marker

Employment law is an incredibly rewarding field; employers have always tried to make the most profit possible from their workforce, regardless of the weight they have to carry. Employers will work their employees to the bone, making them do as much as they possibly can, even when their health is put at risk.

When an employee is mistreated and decides to pursue legal action, sometimes it is in their best interest to pursue a class action, rather than an individual claim. But, for many, this suggestions does not give them confidence that their case will be handled with care.

Employment lawyers can find themselves pulling their hair out trying to explain to someone that they would be best served by joining a class action. Nobody wants to get “screwed”. For some, the mere idea that a class action is a ploy by their attorney to get more money can lead a person to storm out of a law office.

Use Examples and Easy-To-Understand Explanations

examplesSpeaking to a client should be similar to speaking to a child; you don’t want to treat them like they are stupid, but you want them to understand you are in charge and that they should do what you say quickly. Those who seek out employment law attorneys have already been used by their employer, and are often on-guard. You want to be as unthreatening as possible and use language they can understand and relate to.

When explaining class actions, let them know that grouping together is going to work out for them in the long run. You went to law school for a reason, let them see your legal prowess. Explain to them that by grouping together with others who have been wronged in a similar way, you all have a better chance of maximizing your recoveries and obtaining compensation as quickly as possible.

Tell Them About How Much They Could Make


Nothing is going to convince your client to join a class action more than telling them how much they could potentially make if they do. It is no secret that class action settlements can be hundreds of millions of dollars. These settlements and verdicts are dispersed amongst all of those who join the class action, often resulting in more compensation for the plaintiffs had they tried to pursue the money on their own.

Scott Cooper of the Cooper Law Firm was able to secure $20,000,000 on behalf of computer engineers that were denied their overtime pay. These huge verdict amounts can help motivate anyone to consider pursuing a class action.

Reassure Them That They Are Still Important

Most clients don’t want to pursue claims as part of a class action because they don’t want to become one of several pursuing compensation. They liked being David Vs. Goliath. Let them know that they are more than just a number to you, and that their case truly matters.

How To Handle Communications With Wrongful Death Clients

wrongful death communications

It is one of the most difficult times in someone’s life. When a loved one is lost, we feel lost ourselves. It is difficult to function and to complete all the necessary tasks that we take for granted in our daily lives.

As an attorney, it is your job to be sensitive and caring at these times. Whether you are a prosecuting attorney trying to get justice for the family, a civil attorney suing for wrongful death, or an estate attorney who handles this type of tragedy on a daily basis, you must reach into yourself to be calm, sensitive and patient with a lost one’s family.

Communication when you are an attorney is not only key, it is generally required to some extent in the Bar rules. Yet, the type of communication you offer to your clients will vary with the type of case and with your knowledge of the client. When you are dealing with communicating to a family that has lost a loved one, you may want to consider a different approach than another client.

For telephone conversations

TelephoneIf you are speaking over the phone to a family member of a pedestrian that was struck and killed, you may want to change your normal approach. Do you tend to sound rushed over the phone? Or perhaps you are doing other things while speaking to some clients?

Families of loved ones lost deserve more to make them feel comfortable and safe during this dire time. Pedestrian deaths in California are surprisingly common, putting together a game plan beforehand can help you relate.

Here are some tips to follow:

– Do not work on something else while on the phone with a family member

– Actively listen to their concerns

– Do not rush them, as this comes off insensitive

– Speak clearly and slowly, with a sympathetic voice

– Reassure them you are there to help them

– If negative information has to be given, provide it in a sympathetic way

For email conversations

emailIn any email, it can be difficult to understand someone’s tone of voice. You want to be careful to not come off as uncaring or sarcastic in an email communication with these clients. For a client to feel reassured, they want to know that you care and are taking your time to connect with them.

Here are some tips to follow:

– Open with condolences

– Reread your email carefully to make sure nothing can be taken the wrong way

– Get a second opinion to check if the message is making the same sense

– Use bullet points and keep the information you are providing clear

– If negative information has to be given, provide it in a sympathetic way

– Let them know they can either email you back or call, whichever is more comfortable for them

Being sensitive

The legal world can be a harsh one. You know that, but the family of someone lost does not necessarily know that. In order for you to get the information you need to do your job; you need the family to be cooperative. That is another reason why you need to be sympathetic when communicating.

Do you realize your clients are dealing with a great loss, including loss of companionship and possible loss of financial stability? Funeral costs are rising and medical bills can be astronomical. Can you put yourself in their shoes? How would you want to be communicated with? Keep that in mind when speaking to these clients.

Reassure them that you know no amount of compensation can bring back their loved one from this tragedy. Yet, there can be peace of mind in knowing the party who is in the wrong has taken responsibility and that bills can be paid. You may have a client whose family cannot face the reading of a will, or know how to process probate. That is where you come in to explain every step of the way.


Remember, you are the one who is there for them so they are not going through this alone. When communicating with these clients, keep in mind their tragedy, their hardship, and heartache. These clients are grieving, and may not be able to handle legal issues. They have other things on their mind, but they need to be kept on notice of the progress you are making

in their case. You may even want to consider communicating with them more often than other clients to show your support.

How Car Accident Attorneys Communicate Success to Juries

female auto attorney in court speaking to jury

When people find themselves in a position where they really need to hire a lawyer, many of them do the job without any prior experience since they do not have a real idea about how the legal system works. However, the legal system is highly complex, so the time spent in court can be a lengthy enough process.

If you ever hire a car accident attorney (, you need to keep in mind that the attorney should communicate with you throughout the legal process in order to make you understand the judicial workings of your case. Every lawsuit pertaining to car accidents needs to follow different paths, and many times, that path is unpredictable.

As a seriously injured victim of a car accident case, you must have a general grasp as to how car accident attorneys successfully communicate their cases to juries so that they achieve success in the case.

  • p-i-p-infographicAfter filing of a lawsuit, the defendant’s attorney needs to prepare all the appropriate documents for his client. Usually once the lawsuit is filed, the court allows the defendant to serve all the required paper somewhere between 30 to 60 days since the date of the lawsuit. However, in average cases, the defendant has 30 days to serve the papers.
  • Within 60 days after the lawsuit filing, written interrogatories between two parties are exchanged. The car accident attorneys typically help the parties to answer the questions. Then within 6 months of filing of the lawsuit an informal proceeding as oral deposition take place in the lawyer’s office in presence of a court reporter in order to answer the questions asked by the opposition’s attorney.
  • Usually during the first 6 months of the car accident lawsuit, a doctor appointed by the defense once examines the injured party and the medical record is subpoenaed by the defense party. During this time, both the parties- injured and defense, are accompanied by their lawyers.
  • Then in respect of the medical report, the car accident attorneys begin to arrange expert witnesses. These witnesses need to report their depositions at the other side’s attorneys. In the trial process, the attorneys of each side need to disclose the names of those expert witnesses in the testimonials.
  • Now somewhere in the case, the settlement discussion begins between two parties either formally or informally. At some point, the court orders about mediation where the settlement discussion is conducted in the presence of an expert third party, probably a retired judge to resolve the case.
  • When mediation fails to resolve the settlement, the trial of the case starts. Based on the complexity of the case, the car accident attorneys complete the trial within four to three weeks. During the trial, both parties’ attorneys present their cases successfully before the jury and then the jury reaches to a decision after deliberating the trial.
  • Many expert car accident attorneys successfully handle the mediation so that the cases are solved and the injured party gets his or her funds within next 30 days.
  • However, apart from this timeline of car accident cases, there are numerous accident cases where pre-lawsuit settlements are done. These settlements are usually taken place in favor of the insurance companies that do not wish to pay large amount to hire the professional lawyers to defend the accident lawsuits.

Need help communicating your legal skills to car accident victims? Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your issue.

Getting Advice from Brethren Defense Counsel

button legal adviceIn the old days, defense attorneys generally received their wisdom either by trial and fire or by working as an “apprentice” to an experienced attorney. Hallway educations for practicing attorneys was the norm. Unfortunately, as caseloads have increased and courts have become far more like factories than halls of justice, defense attorneys are finding themselves more and more isolated from the world around them.

These days are long gone when a few hours in the afternoon could be spent comparing case thoughts at a cafe or bar. Now, every hour matters to keep up with the paper chase. Unfortunately, defense attorneys still need a forum in which to sound out their thoughts and get good advice before making a mistake on a case. And there are a number of digital resources available for general law discussion specific to criminal defense.

Topix, a discussion forum website has a board specific to defense attorneys named aptly, the Criminal Defense Law Forum. While the site is bogged down with advertisement videos, it does provide an easy to search listing of topics associated with criminal defense and discussion on those points.

A handful of state specific forums exist for defense attorneys, usually affilitated with a legal association membership. If an attorney practices in Iowa on indigent defense cases, he or she can take advantage of the Indigent Defense Discussion Forum provided by the Office of the State Public Defender. The website allows contract attorneys access in which to share discuss, and research how to go about representation on related cases with the support of the State Public Defender’s Office.

Criminal defense lawyers in South Dakota have a similar resource with the South Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers website, a membership login forum specific for members of the SDACDL to discuss case matters. Another example is the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and their similar login website as well. Just about every region has a similar organization, so it’s worth checking out the local state group for their version or leads to similar resources.

Grenade that says legal adviceThe National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers also provides its own website forum for legal defense discussions under NACDLConnect. The site includes a specific membership login and all the basic forum tools such as posting updates, daily or weekly digest emails of postings, and NACDL membership updates as well.

Of course, every attorney worth his or her salt should also remember these sources above are all public forums. Just because there is a login screen doesn’t mean that all the participants are in fact defense attorneys. So if critical confidential advice is needed, the old-fashioned phone conversation direct with a mentor or expert is just as good as ever.

Should Attorney Bloggers Avoid Legal Jargon?

legal jargonThere is some debate as to what jargon or vocabulary is acceptable on legal blogs. This debate comes with support on both sides. In general however, it is often best to take a few factors into account when you begin any blog that can help you determine what vocabulary is going to be acceptable and what should be avoided. Thinking about these few factors can really help hone your blog and get your readers on the same page as you.

The first factor to consider is of course your overall audience. If you are writing for fellow law professionals, law students, or those that are going to understand terminology that you add to your content, go ahead and spout off as many legal words as you need. This will help to make your content seem more professional, will help your readers understand that you know just what you are talking about, and will help get your point across in the most succinct and to the point manner possible.

That being said, if you are writing for people that may be looking for legal services, someone that has not taken any law courses, or the average citizen that does not have any real ide about law or legal terminology, you may want to refrain. Using terminology does give your readers the feeling that you know what you are doing and what you are talking about, but it can also be confusing, can tend to trip up readers, and may discourage them from continuing to read your blog. In these instances where your audience is not other law professionals, avoid lofty terminology.

The next factor to consider is where your blog is being published. If you are going to have your content hosted on a law site or on a legal site or the site of a legal firm, professional terminology is going to be expected and needed to impart confidence in your skills and in your knowledge. If you are publishing in a legal setting, you should use the terminology that you need to in order to get your point across in a professional manner.

If you are publishing your content on a public forum where legal jargon is not the norm, you should avoid it. Say for instance your legal blog is hosted on a site like Tumblr or Reddit, you may not want to use lofty terminology as it can be confusing without the proper background and added information. This is something to keep in mind and can make a huge difference in the overall success of your blog.

The last thing to consider is how well you know the terminology yourself. If you feel confident enough that you can impart meaning without taking a break every thirty words to do a catch up definition, then go ahead and flex you vocab muscles. If you are simply using these terms and jargon because you feel you have to, you may want to avoid them.

Top 3 Hardest Personal Injury Case Concepts to Explain

hard-workWhen it comes to personal injury cases there are certain concepts that can be difficult to explain to clients. Often it will be difficult for them to understand the ramifications of what they are being told, because these are subjects most people don’t think about on a daily basis. Here are the top three hardest personal injury case concepts to explain:


  1. Negligence is a concept that cannot always be explained in basic terms. While many concepts regarding the law are black and white, others are hazy and negligence is one of them. Lawyers must carefully explain this concept to their client if it is a factor in their case, which is often true when a personal injury is involved. The general explanation that lawyers give to their clients is that negligence has to do with a defendant in a case breaching their reasonable care duties.


When this concept comes into play in a court case it is because the plaintiff was injured because of actions performed by the defendant. Other words that may be used in court to describe a case such as this are reckless and careless. These words help explain the defendant’s actions towards the plaintiff.


Negligence is claimed when the actions of the defendant violate the rights that the plaintiff gas to exist safely. Courts usually consider this to be worse than inadvertence but better than evil intentions. When a defendant is found guilty of negligence in a court of law they are generally ordered to pay punitive damages to the plaintiff.


  1. Forseeability is another of the most difficult concepts to explain. This involves determining whether the plaintiff or the defendant caused the accident that led to a personal injury. Nothing more than a test, forseeability has to do with determining the cause of the accident that led to the injury in the first place. This test is used in court rooms to determine whether or not the defendant could have predicted that their actions would result in injury to someone else. There are two distinctions related to forseeability; the type of harm inflicted and the manner in which it was inflicted. This can be a difficult concept for a client to handle.


  1. Liability is something that many people don’t think of until they are faced with the subject in a court of law. The more serious the personal injuries are the more the defendant’s liability is called into question. This is one concept that lawyers must be able to clearly explain to their clients prior to their day in court. Liability can often cause the defendant in a court case to have to pay a significant amount of money to the plaintiff in order to settle the case.


These three concepts are difficult to understand, but important to understand as well. An effective lawyer will have the tools they need to explain each of these concepts to their client in terms that are clear.

How Effective and Ineffective Communication Affects Personal Injury Trials

It goes without saying that appropriate, consistent, and honest communication is vital to dialogue and understandingPersonal-Injury between persons and parties.  In legal matters, this is no different and can be even more important since petitioners must rely on effective communication to elicit the best results for their clients.  Personal injury cases are usually extremely complicated and the legal rigors involved often keep attorneys working hundreds of hours on a single case.

This is why it’s so important to ensure that at every step in the process that communication is open, honest, and detailed.  Any disconnects in communication can result in either the wrong arguments being put forward or mistakes in litigation.  Mistakes in litigation can be extremely expensive to repair or undo.  This is why it is incredibly important to have a good relationship with your attorney and to ensure that the messages you are sending or the description of events is as precise as possible, and understood by the attorney or any paralegals working on the case.

Barriers to Communication

Very often when attempting to convey a particular message people will lose their message to distraction, language difficulties, attitudes and emotions, and other soft and hard barriers.  For example, when English is a second language there can be real difficulties in expressing oneself fully in English and many important case nuances can be lost.  Moreover, when emotional we are often unable to think clearly about details.  There can be many barriers to communication that will end up having a deleterious effect on a case.  This is why it is so important to work with an attorney or firm that understands how to get the necessary details from you and communicate in such a way that you deliver the appropriate and correct information to the attorney.


Tips for Effective Communication

Effective communication between any two parties is about conveying a particular message in a manner in which others can process and then respond to effectively.  It also means receiving a message and articulating that it is understood.  This is how appropriate attorney-client communications should occur, in a “cycle.”  That means when a message is sent to a party, that party must communicate not only that they received it but also verify what they believe is being communicated.  That exchange is a critical communication skill called “active listening.”

So what you are saying is…?  By now, people may have encountered others who respond with active listening skills.  Active listening is not always an in-person exchange, it also can be used when sending and receiving electronic communications.  Active listening is a way of verifying what you believe the other party is trying to communicate.  This soft skill becomes incredibly important where there are language difficulties that may prevent a quick flow of dialogue.

Your personal injury attorney creates a case based off of a highly detailed set of information.  That information must be one hundred percent accurate, and it must be complete.  When information is inaccurate or missing, the opposing side can exploit these weaknesses in your case.  Given the difficulties in appealing cases it is more important to nail the case the first time around.  It is extremely important that both you and your attorney communicate effectively with one another in the pre-trial period so that when your case—if your case—goes to trial that it is as airtight as possible.

Reading and Understanding Judicial Opinions


Do you have any idea of what a judicial opinion is? These are opinions that are authored not just by the judges. A judicial opinion contains explanations of how certain legal disputes are resolved as well as clarification for their reasoning. The term “opinion” is used in a case to tell the story of the case what the case is all about, what or how the court is resolving the said case and answers why.

Important matters like judicial opinions require the ability to read and understand complex literature. The number one way for anyone to better understand judicial opinions is to read them over and over again. Repetition is key, and once you’ve identified their “flow” and the commonalities between each opinion, you’ll be able to better understand the opinions themselves. By reading and learning about judicial opinions, you’ll get a better understanding of each case that they pertain to, including:

  1. Facts

Understanding facts and concepts is the basic foundation of understanding any judicial opinion. Reasoning, along with facts are efficient ways of solving cases and these are what most students of law can easily forget, despite the obvious importance of each opinion’s facts. Take note that facts are legally important as they represent possible solutions for the case.

  1. Arguments in the Court

Being able to understand the argument of each party involved in the case is necessary. While the judicial opinion is necessary, reading and understanding it requires you to understand the argument between the two parties. Once you understand the two opposing reasons by the two parties involved, understanding the judicial opinion is substantially easier.

  1. Result and Reasoning of Majority Opinions

Including the sources of these majority opinions, it is necessary for you to understand that the courts legal reasoning drives the entire opinion to become final. You can also formulate your own opinion based upon the majority of the decision by the court.

  1. Court’s Decision Scope and Possible Effects

Encourage yourself to take steps that will widen your perspective regarding the scope and possible effect of the court’s decision in the case. Their opinion has a huge effect on the current and future cases that court judges may also apply when they judge cases.

The idea is to keep all perspectives about judicial opinions at the forefront of your mind and know what essential procedures you have to focus on so you can have a better understanding of how things in the court are being solved. When you truly understand things inside the court, especially the legal papers like judicial opinions that are containing important matters for a case, you will fully understand what judicial opinions are and how they affect the case. In case you are a student, keep in mind that you are supposed to recognize and identify issues and be critical at all times as this will lead you to better understand all legal cases.