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Plaintiffs' Lawyers: Dealing with the Possible but Not Certain

Plaintiffs' lawyers work in a world that is neither fully predictable nor entirely uncertain
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In the article "Plaintiffs' Lawyers: Dealing with the Possible but Not Certain" by Stephen Daniels and Joanne Martin, plaintiffs' lawyers operate in a unique environment that balances between predictability and uncertainty. This environment is characterized by several key points:

1. World of Contingency:

Plaintiffs' lawyers work in a world that is neither fully predictable nor entirely uncertain. This middle ground is described as the "possible," where lawyers rely on patterns and regularities to make judgments about potential outcomes. 

2. Case Screening and Client Selection:

Lawyers carefully screen potential clients and cases based on factors like the client's history and how well they present to a jury. For instance, lawyers prefer clients with no prior claims and a good public image, as these factors are believed to positively influence jury decisions.

3. Role of Juries:

Juries play a significant role in shaping the strategies of plaintiffs' lawyers. Lawyers must navigate juries' perceptions and biases, which can be unpredictable. Successful lawyers learn to manage the risk by understanding and anticipating jury behavior.

4. Contingency Fee Model:

The contingency fee model is central to the practice of plaintiffs' lawyers. This model requires lawyers to front the costs of litigation and only receive payment if they win the case. This system allows clients who cannot afford to pay upfront fees to access legal representation, but it also introduces financial risk for the lawyers.

5. Professionalism and Public Perception:

Many plaintiffs' lawyers strive to improve their public image and the image of their profession. They often contrast their serious and professional demeanor with the more commercial and aggressive advertising typical of some personal injury lawyers. This is done to build trust and credibility with potential clients and juries.

In conclusion, plaintiffs' lawyers operate in a complex and nuanced legal landscape where success depends on their ability to navigate the known patterns and manage the inherent risks of their practice. This environment is shaped by the unpredictable nature of jury decisions, the financial risks of the contingency fee system, and the necessity to maintain a professional public image.

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