Why Do We Need Lawyers?

It is hard to believe that I have been practicing law for 20 years.  Having graduated in 1994 from law school, I began my career as an assistant district attorney fighting for the rights of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  After a short stint as a prosecutor, I went into private practice representing insurance companies and individuals in the field of civil litigation.  Throughout my career, I have been lucky to witness significant changes in the law and also serious challenges to individual freedoms and constitutional rights.

Often times, I hear questioning from the general public as to why they may need the assistance of an attorney in their everyday lives.  The truth is, lawyers make a difference.  It was lawyers who fought to end Pennsylvania’s voters ID laws, which were aimed to disenfranchise poor individuals and senior citizens from their rights to vote.  It was attorneys who challenged the anti-immigrant laws, which were proposed as ordinances in the City of Hazleton.

Both the voter ID laws and the Hazleton City ordinance laws were found to be unconstitutional and are no longer in effect.  Lastly, it was lawyers who challenged Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, which as of Wednesday, May 21, 2014, will no longer be fought.  Governor Tom Corbett’s decision not to appeal a decision of a federal judge who struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage now allows same-sex couples to apply for marriage licenses and to have the same marriage rights as couples of opposite sex.  Without lawyers, those laws would still be on the books, and the citizens of Pennsylvania would have had limiting voting rights, and limiting rights to work and rights to marry.  It was teams of lawyers who challenged and succeeded.

In my personal practice, I see the need for lawyers every day.  I represent individuals who were injured at work.  Every employer in Pennsylvania is required to have workers’ compensation insurance.  However, in most work-place injuries, insurance companies intentionally take steps to limit the ability of individuals to receive wage loss when they cannot work due to their injuries or medical care when they cannot see a doctor.  I work, as a lawyer, to fight on behalf of these individuals.  It is my responsibility as a member of the bar to see that justice prevails.  I do it because I believe in a strong sense of what is right in this world and that it is my role as an attorney to make the world a better place.

I have been speaking with members of my firm who oftentimes represent individuals in motor vehicle accidents about the need for attorneys.  Surprisingly, I found out that insurance companies in motor vehicle accidents are required by law to comply with the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  In reality, they fail to do so especially when you are not represented by counsel.  All claims personnel receive training in negotiation tactics.  They are taught to settle cases, not for fair value, but for the lowest possible amount.  Unless you are represented by competent counsel, there is a good chance that you will be taken advantage of.  Despite their advisements, insurance companies are not “on your side.”  Insurers often tell claimants that getting an attorney will reduce their recovery because of fees.  Actually, the net recovery of claimants after fees is greater than unrepresented individuals.  It is important not to fall for the propaganda circulated by insurance companies.  After an accident or injury, your best ally is a good attorney.

If you have any additional questions about this article or the need for representation in any matter, I stress that you contact a competent attorney specializing and practicing in the field for which you have the need.  If you do not know where to go, the local bar association in your county can help guide you to seek appropriate representation.  If you have any additional questions about this article, please do not hesitate to contact me at mkogan@hgsklawyers.com.

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