Is my lawyer the best? What evaluation?

Is my lawyer the best? What evaluation?

The law n° 2016-1321 of October 27, 2016 for a digital Republic, provides for the availability of all court decisions to the public. Should we see this as an opportunity to be able to evaluate lawyers?

Limitations of an evaluation based on the lawyer’s success rate
At first glance, it is tempting to define the quality of a lawyer by his or her ability to win cases. Some television series happily relay these cliches by showing on screen lawyers who win all their cases, no matter what happens. What could be more natural, then, than to use the database provided by the new law to determine whether a lawyer is the best?

But in the case of such an evaluation, it appears that a difficulty may arise.

In criminal law, for example, acquittal or discharge may be seemingly objective elements to define the success rate of a lawyer. Except that the merit is not always the same. Was the acquittal or discharge obtained on an obvious point of fact, or after extensive legal research to find a procedural flaw? The analysis of an often succinct decision will not reveal the real extent of the work done.

More subtle. How do you define a lawyer’s success when the court sentences a person fairly? Did he fail?
It is easy to understand that, in the perspective of the implementation of decision comparator systems, there could be a temptation to leave out the most complex cases, those that are thought to be lost in advance… so as not to lower the statistics. Is there not a risk of seeing the right of everyone to be defended diminish?

Linked to the issue of predictive justice, which aims at determining the predictability of the magistrates’ decisions, the evaluation of lawyers by comparison sites could upset the fundamental principles of the trial, all the more so as the Court of Cassation has just admitted the legality of these practices, as long as they are not made by a lawyer.

Should one choose one’s lawyer through an online site?
While it has become commonplace to meet one’s future spouse through an online dating site, why not also choose one’s lawyer online?

As the First Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation reminds us in its decision dated March 11, 2017, appeal no. 16-13669, in visa of articles 15 of decree no. 2005-790 of July 12, 2005, and L. 121-1 of the Consumer Code, if it is forbidden for a lawyer to include any comparative or denigrating element in advertising or personalized solicitation, in order to preserve the independence, dignity and integrity of the profession, this prohibition is only applicable to the lawyer, as it concerns rules of ethics. A company that is not a lawyer is therefore perfectly authorized to compare lawyers, as long as it provides the public with fair, clear and transparent information.

It remains that lawyers will always be able to reassure themselves, the time of the systematic publication of judicial decisions may not yet have come,considering the congestion of the courts’ registries, which are often understaffed.

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