Borghardt Law Firm
Lawyering by Example


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Why I don’t take every potential criminal defense case...


         When I sit down for a consultation with a potential client, I always start the conversation the same way. I tell them that this meeting is to determine whether or not we are a good fit for each other. This statement is generally met with a look of skepticism, surprise, and/or disbelief. They often ask,  “You mean you might not take my case? You don’t take every case?”

         Truth is, I don’t take every case that comes into my office. While I am capable of handling cases ranging from possession of illegal drugs to murder cases, every case is not a good fit for my office.

Here are some reasons why:

1.  Sometimes we may have what is called, “a conflict of interest.” This means there is a substantial risk that representing the potential client would be adversely affected by my own interest or my representation of someone else, whether a past or present representation.

2.  Maybe we just aren’t a good fit for each other. Our personalities or world views may differ such that this will be an obstacle to us having a shared mutual respect for each other.

3.  Our strategic approaches to practicing law may differ. Some folks want to bring a tank to a thumb wrestling match. There are lots of different ways of achieving results and you may not like my particular approach.

4.  Sometimes I don’t take a case because I believe that the representation of this potential client would make it impossible, due to time restraints, to represent my current clients. Or, put another away, my ability to be available to the client’s expectations isn’t a realistic possibility.

5.  Sometimes we can’t agree on the value of my representation/services.

6.  If a case is frivolous or not supported by law, then I cannot ethically take the case.

7.  After we sit down together and discuss your legal matter, we may decide that the best course of action is no action at all. You might decide to do nothing further.

        There are a lot of reasons why I might not take a case OR why the potential client may decide not to hire my firm. I always tell people, your case is extremely important to you and whomever assists you in your legal matter has to be someone who you can trust and who is a good fit for you.

        You will lastly notice that I didn’t list “guilt and innocence” as a reason for not taking a case. This is because I believe that everyone is entitled to due process and their constitutional rights guaranteed under the law. Guilty individuals generally need legal representation the most. See my blog post about representing guilty people.

        The decision to take a case is an organic thing and often can’t be determined until after our consultation. Regardless of the decision not to take a case, everything discussed at the consultation is subject to the “attorney-client privilege” and will be kept confidential. Contact my office if you would like to sit down and discuss your legal matter. We can decide together whether we are a good fit for each other.

Franz N. Borghardt

Franz Borghardt