Why Do Some Crappy Lawyers Have Happy Clients?

I know one personally. She’s a terrible lawyer. She can’t read and understand a court opinion. She misreads statutes. She’s an embarrassment in court. Her pleadings are poorly drafted. Her correspondence is filled with errors. She says things in chambers that make her look like an idiot. Her objections are overruled. Her court appearances are dominated by illogical arguments.

She’s a really crappy lawyer.

Her clients, however, love her. They refer business to her like crazy. She spends nearly nothing  on marketing and is making a freaking fortune. She can’t see a new client for weeks because she is solidly booked.

How is it that she is such a bad lawyer yet is so successful?

Here’s the deal. She does things that make it clear that she cares about her clients. She rants and raves in court, like a maniac, on behalf of her clients. She crosses over every line and gets personally involved with her clients. She laughs with her clients, she cries with her clients. She returns calls, she calls at night, she stays on the phone forever. She loves her clients and it shows. She knows it and her clients know it. She’d do anything to help them. They are her friends.

Her clients love her. They love her when she wins, they love her when she loses. They know she’s committed to their cause. They know she did her best, even when her best isn’t good enough.

It all makes me wonder whether she’s really a crappy lawyer or whether I have ideas about what’s important that might be irrelevant. Who sets the standard for crappy? Lawyers or clients? Maybe my idea of crappy doesn’t really matter?