For all the self-promotion that lawyers do, the sad truth is that most of it is completely meaningless. There is really one important, simple question a potential client should have in mind as he or she looks for a Michigan driver’s license restoration lawyer, or any kind of product or service, for that matter: What do you have or do that sets you apart and gives you a competitive advantage over everyone else? If you look for a real answer to this simple question, then worn out lawyer phrases like “tough” and “aggressive” do nothing to help you find the right lawyer for your situation. Whereas most of my other articles on this blog are informational in nature, I want to use this space to answer that very question as it applies to me.
It has always been my intention and goal to be the very best license appeal lawyer out there, and to bring the most value to my clients. This is not just a bunch of hot air; it is part of the philosophy I have and why I guarantee that I will win any license reinstatement case I accept. Having a guarantee is important, but that alone isn’t my competitive advantage. In fact, the guarantee is just a result of my competitive advantage. Beyond being a lawyer and having decades of experience winning license appeals, what truly separates me from the herd is that I completely understand recovery. I know it from the inside out, the outside in, and from the academic research perspective as well. I have formally studied in this field, and, as I write this article, am in the process of authoring a final literature review, having completed all the course work for a post-graduate certification in addiction studies. This may all sound great, but what does it mean to someone looking for a license appeal lawyer?
It is important to keep in mind that the real “meat and potatoes” of a driver’s license reinstatement case requires proving that you are a safe bet to never drink again. This means, of course, that you have quit drinking and that you intend to remain sober. Sobriety is a necessary first requirement to win a license appeal, and proving sobriety is the absolute key to winning. It may seem easier to “prove” sobriety when you have been in AA for 12 years and have hundreds of filled-up sign-in sheets, and the truth is that it can certainly be much more complicated if you don’t. It used to be the case that you almost could not possibly win a license restoration case without being active in AA. This, fortunately, has changed, because more than half of the people for whom I win a license back are not in AA. Even so, the Michigan Secretary of State, through it’s AHS (Administrative Hearing Section, formerly the DAAD), takes a hard look at a person’s support structure to sustain his or her recovery, and it simply will not work to merely argue something like “I have my family for support,” even though your family may, in fact, be your best support.
“Support,” when it comes to sobriety, has long been and still is closely associated with AA. Whatever your feelings on the subjects, think for a moment about the issues of gay marriage, or marijuana. It is rather likely that some time from now, both things will be legal. One day, at 11:59 p.m., these things will be against the law, and then, at the stroke of midnight, they will be legal. Yet the shift in that legal status regarding those issues will do little to nothing to change the mindset of those who oppose them. The way people think about things takes time to change. In that same way, there is still a lingering connection between the concepts of recovery from an alcohol problem and the alcoholics anonymous program. AA has become, in a manner of speaking, a kind of “brand” of recovery. Even though most of us know that Kleenex is a brand of facial tissue, most of us think of facial tissue as Kleenex.
This is where merely being a lawyer takes a backseat to a bona-fide academic substance abuse education. I know, not merely as a lawyer, but as one who has formally studied in the addictions field, that there are many ways people manage to get and stay sober. I can help my client explain how his or her recovery was the right choice for him or her, whether it involved AA or not. This is hugely important, especially if you don’t attend AA meetings but want your license back. A holistic approach to treatment is really the foundation of the modern clinical approach, and this is precisely because study after study has empirically validated the efficacy of a much broader palate of treatment modalities than just 12-step support groups. If one doesn’t have a fundamental understanding of the wider panorama of recovery processes, this can be a difficult concept to grasp. Unfortunately, very few people have such any kind of understanding of the dynamics of recovery, but I do. I have invested my time, effort and money in the post-graduate, university level study of recovery processes. Accordingly, and because, in a license appeal, it becomes my job to “translate” these concepts in a way that wins, and I am uniquely able to do just that. I do it so well, in fact, that I guarantee to win any case I take.
My guarantee is possible, in large part, because I only take cases for people who have really and truly quit drinking. It’s a simple truth that quality parts are the key to a good product. I don’t budge on the sobriety requirement, even though I get countless calls from people who need a license back (“everybody needs a license,” one hearing officer always points out) but still don’t “get it.” If the crux of a license appeal is proving that you’re not at risk to ever drink again, then someone who wants to confide that he or she still has a drink every now and then obviously does not meet that description. Part of my competitive advantage is that I screen potential candidates to make sure they are genuinely sober so that, above and beyond everything else that goes into a license appeal, when I am sitting next to them in a license hearing, we can both look the hearing officer in the eye and have the comfort and confidence of telling the honest truth.
This is really a long-winded way of saying that I know how to prove sobriety and exactly how to win your license back the first time. I have developed a driver’s license restoration practice that has the process nearly down to a science and makes me a kind of “one-stop-shop.” I take care of everything, beginning with a first meeting with each new client that lasts 3 hours, and then sending him or her to the right counselor to have the substance abuse evaluation completed; checking, then double-checking the evaluation before it’s filed with the state; correcting and editing the letters of support as many times as it takes to get them right, all the way to thoroughly prepping each client before his or her hearing so that he or she walks into it knowing exactly what is going to take place. And for all of this, my guarantee is really a back-up plan, like a safety net, because I actually win almost all of my cases the first time around. I conduct way more license restoration hearings than you can count; by the end of April 2015, that number will exceed 40 for the year; that’s on pace to exceed 120 this year alone. I don’t have the time to start building a backlog “warranty work” by having to fix prior unsuccessful appeals.
It all starts with a genuinely sober client. We cannot begin with less, but we don’t need anything more, either.
As someone looks for a lawyer (or a plumber, or a good deal on a refrigerator, or anything else), he or she should also be looking for a direct answer to the question, “What sets you apart and gives you a competitive advantage?” You can get clues by reading the articles of the lawyers you’re considering, and by looking for real information on his or her site. Skip the “tough” and “aggressive” nonsense. Knowledge is potential; proper execution based upon that knowledge is real power. Nothing, however, can beat what you’ll learn by picking up the phone and calling and getting answers to your questions. Within a few seconds of calling my office, you’ll have a clear answer to that question. When you’re ready to put a valid driver’s license back into your wallet, and if you have honestly quit drinking, call my office anytime Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST) at 586-465-1980. You’ll be glad you did.