When Selecting an Attorney, Don't Be Fooled by Experience
Experience may be misleading. Look instead for wisdom and insight.
Experience Does Not Mean CompetenceAttorneys licensed to practice law for several years routinely cite their experience as a principal qualification for representing clients today. Not to be outdone, firms of multiple attorneys commonly add up their combined years of practice to come up with a grand total of several decades of experience to trump the claims of long-term solo practitioners.
Are these claims overrated?
Experience Can Be MisleadingClaims of experience can suggest more than they reveal. In fact, instead of being a reliable guide, claims of experience can fool us, as Soyer and Hogarth pointed out in their 2015 Harvard Business Review article, Fooled By Experience. Indeed, Proverbs reminds us not of the value of mere experience, but of the importance of wisdom. “Get wisdom. [A]nd whatever else you get, get insight.”
Experience Claims Can Be BiasedAn attorney’s interpretation of the importance of his or her own experience is biased, and so can lead to a misguided interpretation of own’s own insights and best practices. Attorneys who have been practicing “successfully” for many years may not have been practicing wisely, mistakenly pursuing less efficient, less effective, and less satisfying means to defend and advocate their clients’ interests. Some, accustomed over the years more to talking than to listening, may not even be knowledgeable of how to hear and discover the wisdom necessary to guide their clients to discover their own best legal interests.
Look For A Wise and Insightful AttorneyTo be wise, an attorney needs to listen and reflect – not merely to the sound of his or her own voice, but to your voice. He or she needs to hear and reflect patiently on your story. To hear and learn from your version of the incident. To wisely defend you, he needs to see, feel, and understand through your own eyes.
More than he or she needs experience to help you, your attorney needs wisdom and insight.