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Letters from Lea: Zealous Advocacy Sometimes Means Ticking Other People Off

At Lewis & Keller, we’re committed to the well being of our clients and whatever that means for them. That’s why when we sit down with a client for a free case review, we take our time listening to their needs and strategize a plan to meet them by seeking a settlement that’s designed for their benefit. Managing Attorney Lea Keller exemplifies this and highlights the importance of taking care of our clients’ needs first and foremost in her recent letter about zealous advocacy.

Dear Neighbors,

In law school, we had to take a class on ethics, after law school we had to take a test on ethics, and during our years of practice, we periodically have to get continuing education on ethics. One of the first ethical lessons drilled in your head is that you are to be a zealous advocate FOR YOUR CLIENT. That means the interest of your client tops everyone else’s interest. You are to work for the client’s benefit over yours and EVERYONE else’s. You have to work within the bounds of the law, obviously, but the person you are seeking to benefit at every single turn is the person that has trusted you with their case.

In the last two weeks, I’ve gotten nastygrams from medical providers fussing at me because my client didn’t pay them in full out of the settlement. I just want to do a soundcheck and make sure my mic is on when I say loud and clear “I DON’T WORK FOR YOU.” I work for my clients.

Medical providers are great, and I appreciate everything they do for my clients, but it is not my job to get their bills paid. I am not a collection agency for them. My job is to make sure my client understands every option for every dollar that comes in this office on their case. Whether that money comes from their own insurance (medical benefits coverage) or the person who hit them’s insurance, it’s my job to tell the client what they can and cannot do with it under the law. Then, once they decide what is best for THEM and their life, it is my job to carry out their instructions within the bounds of the law.

North Carolina law specifically provides guidance on how settlement funds may be used with respect to paying medical bills. I am not going to leave my clients in the dark about their options just because a medical provider doesn’t like the way the law was written. I tell every client they have a choice to pay their medical bills in full (funds permitting) OR pay what the law requires them to pay and leave themselves with some balances that they will have to handle on their own outside of the case. I have never once had a client come back surprised that they have balances because they are explained all their choices and the repercussion of those choices.

At the end of the day, I’m fine with medical providers, adjusters, defendants, insurance companies, defense counsel, or anyone else being mad at me. It’s not my job to make them happy, it’s my job to be a zealous advocate for my client and there’s no amount of nastygram faxes that’s going to change my mind on that.

Attorney Lea Keller

Let Us Be Your Zealous Advocates

If you were injured on the job or in an accident that wasn’t your fault, Attorney Lea Keller and our team of experienced lawyers are here to be your fierce allies as we fight for the compensation you’re entitled to and your right to use it how you see fit within the bounds of the law. You can learn more about what our partnership will look like and your legal options in a free case review. Get in touch with us today.