“Hey, no fair! My cousin’s neighbor told him that his nephew got a better deal and his case was exactly the same as mine!”
Posted By admin on November 2, 2013
Lawyers hear a version of this complaint from clients on a regular basis. Clients, understandably, seek information from a variety of sources about what the future may hold in their case. They read items on the Internet and they talk to friends and family. Invariably, they hear from “someone” that “someone else” got a “better deal” on their case, and that other case was “exactly the same” as their case. Of course they wonder why their case can’t have the same (which is invariably better) outcome.
Cases are like snowflakes – no two are exactly alike, though from a distance they may look the same.
Every case is different. The facts are different. The agencies involved are different. The applicable law may be different or may have changed. The Government’s policies have probably changed. Maybe it was in a different state. There definitely is a different judge and a different prosecutor and, most importantly, the client is different. The client has a different background and acted differently during the encounter with law enforcement. The client offered a different explanation at the time of the encounter. The client made a different claim as to the property involved. There are, literally, hundreds of ways your case is different than any case you’ve heard or read about.
Still, the client is entitled to understand why these differences do, in fact, make a difference. They are entitled for the lawyer to explain the law and how it applies to the facts of their case. They are entitled for the lawyer to explain the approach to be taken in the case, and what the procedural steps ahead may be. Importantly, they are entitled to the lawyer’s communication about what’s going on in the case and what should, or will likely, happen next.
While we, as lawyers, can’t always explain why your cousin’s neighbor’s nephew’s case turned out the way it did, we can, and should, explain the issues and the law in your case, and what we think we can do to help and move toward a good result. Or, if the result is likely to be bad, we need to explain that, too, and help you get through it without making it worse.