Why do Attorneys Talk About Experience so Much?

If you’ve been shopping around for an attorney, you have almost certainly seen on many websites some talk of how much experience they have. If an attorney comes out of law school, they should have all the knowledge necessary to practice law, shouldn’t they? We wouldn’t blame you for placing less importance on this talk of experience – it seems everyone wants to talk about how much experience they have, but not what it does for you.

While an attorney fresh out of school has the knowledge needed to function, there are significant advantages to someone who has years of experience in the field. Like most professions, attorneys simply get better at their job the more they’ve done it. More importantly, they have experience in their court system, with legal problems and experience with clients.

Experience in the Court

The court system doesn’t operate as it does in movies and television, and neither do attorneys. We don’t just walk into the courtroom and give a rousing speech off the cuff; winning a case takes a lot of work, preparation, and research. As such, a more experienced attorney knows what preparation needs to be done, and has likely already handled something similar before. They’ll be able to get the work for your case done faster because they know the law, without wasting time on tasks they know won’t help your case. They can focus on what will actually help you as a client. 

Someone with experience should be able to give you a better understanding of how your case may turn out from the onset, so you know what you’re getting into. If they’ve gone through hundreds of similar cases before a judge, they know what that judge responds to and what arguments they should field. Most importantly, they know the process. Not all courts in Washington operate similarly, even within the same county. Knowing how to work through their specific court system means your case will be handled much more efficiently and effectively, with the greatest chance of success for you.

Experience with Similar Legal Problems

Although every case is different, there are often common scenarios or types of witnesses that attorneys see time and time again.  There are “strangulation” felony assault cases, where one party pushes the other away in the throat area in self-defense, only to get charged with felony assault by strangulation.  There are “doorway assaults” where the parties struggle near a door and someone gets hurt. Either one party tries to leave through the door and is stopped or someone tries to force the other party out.  Intoxicated parties who argue may find themselves in a mutual fight, but only one party gets arrested as the “primary aggresssor.”   Attorneys with experience have seen these common assault scenarios and know how to unravel the mess.

Another frequent type of assault case is when men use defensive force against women, but accidentally cause harm or injury when they didn’t mean to. An experienced attorney will know the successful defenses and arguments about defensive force in these situations.

Witnesses and accusers may have similar behaviors to witnesses and accusers an attorney has deal with in prior cases.  The overly eager witness who wants to help the prosecution or a mentally ill or vengeful complainant may be involved.  An experienced attorney will have “met” these types of people before and know how to deal with them.

With an experienced attorney, these types of cases should be familiar, and navigating them should come easily. They have likely worked with a similar case before, and possibly in front of the same judge or prosecutor, and so will know how they should handle your specific case to get the best outcome. Attorneys who have secured successful outcomes for similar cases in the past, and with similar circumstances, should be able to advise you with much more confidence and assurance towards the outcome you want in your case.

Experience with Clients

Believe it or not, one of the most important areas for an attorney to become proficient in is working with their clients. Properly instructing clients on how to handle their case, and themselves, is a crucial aspect to winning a case. An experienced attorney will have seen other clients make mistakes in their cases and do their best to prevent you from making those same mistakes. For instance, one of the best pieces of advice from experienced counsel is to understand how clients who have talked publicly about their case or posted on social media have hurt their case.  Or, how a client’s family and friends who try to help can actually cause harm to a client’s case by confronting witnesses or other parties on behalf of the client.  Attorneys learn from these situations and know what to stress to a client.  

For example, never post on social media about your case or post in ways that could be negatively construed. Another example is to never allow your parent or friend to share “how they really feel” about your situation with a witness or alleged victim. This comes back to you and usually only hurts you. An inexperienced attorney might not stress these things to their clients; an experienced attorney will stress how important what happens “behind the scenes” really can play out in your legal case in a harmful way. With the knowledge that other clients have been burned by social media or by their own supporters, attorneys can advise you so that doesn’t happen to you.

What about “Combined Experience?”

Combined experience is the collective experience of all attorneys within a firm. Attorneys collaborate within their firms on cases, so where one may be less experienced on a certain subject matter, another can fill in the gaps. For especially complex cases, a few different attorneys specialized in different areas may help to correctly litigate all the different parts of the case.  

Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC has the experience you’re looking for. We’re knowledgeable in the Washington court system and ready to help fight your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and see what our experience can do for you.

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Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC

The first step of our approach here at Burke Brown Attorneys, PLLC? Listening to you explain your legal situation. Our attorneys have nearly 40 years of combined experience in successfully defending people against the most serious accusations.

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