When it comes to driver’s license restoration and clearance cases, the money you hand over to a lawyer should buy you a winning result, and not just pay for services that may or may not be successful. My team and I guarantee to win every first time license appeal we file precisely because, when we take a case, we carefully manage every single part of it at every stage along the way.
I referenced this in a recent article about how we control everything that happens in an out-of-state clearance case. In this piece, I want to tie that into to how it culminates in our first time win guarantee for both in-state restoration and clearance cases. Sometimes, we are contacted by someone who has already started a license appeal, and then decides to reach out for help. How we handle those inquires helps explain things.
Our reply in such situations is always the same: we won’t step in and do repairs to someone else’s work. Although it’s not meant in a snobbish way, the bottom line is that we don’t find anyone’s work (including any other lawyer’s) up to our standards, and certainly not enough so for us to take over, finish up, and still guarantee the result. If we ever do take on a case that’s already in progress, we scrap everything that’s been done and start over from scratch.
I could spend all day comparing and explaining how my team and I do things differently from every other lawyer, but simply describing how we start a case really drives this home. In our office, each new case begins with a 2 to 3-hour first meeting, the primary purpose of which is to prepare our clients for the substance use evaluation, explain how license appeal cases work, and just get matters started.
This is important, because our first meeting takes as much or more time than many lawyers put into an entire driver’ license restoration case. This, however, is the way things should be done if success is going to be guaranteed, as it is in every case that we take.
After that first meeting, we send a client who has been fully prepared off to meet our evaluator.
To be clear, our evaluator isn’t just some local substance abuse counselor, either, but rather an integral part of the process, and a person with whom we speak multiple times per week, and who often accompanies us to hearings just to stay abreast of the license appeal process in general, and how substance use evaluations, in particular, are examined by the hearing officers.
It’s like that for way we approach every single step in the process. When it comes to Michigan Secretary of State license appeals, I have always believed in being over-prepared to the point of having multiple redundancies in place. As much as our guarantee protects the clients, it also obligates us to stay with a case until we do win it. The cold, hard truth is that we make our money winning the first time, not having to do everything all over again as “warranty work.”
This makes us as invested as our clients in the successful outcome of each case.
Beyond that, however, the simple fact is that there are no shortcuts to doing a driver’s license appeal correctly. Even though this is exactly the kind of work we do every day, we always think of ourselves as still learning. The day a person thinks he or she knows it all is the day they prove they don’t know enough.
The late, great Rush drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, who was still taking drum lessons even though he had been ranked for decades among the world’s best drummers, put it this way: “What is a master, but a master student? And if that’s true, then there’s a responsibility on you to keep getting better and to explore avenues of your profession.”
As driver’s license restoration lawyers, once we learn how something should be done, it’s impossible to un-learn it, and just plain wrong to ignore it. We win our cases specifically because of our intense and unsurpassed attention to detail. Legally speaking, this is a field very different from most others.
In a civil or criminal case, for example, a lawyer could do the best job in the world and still lose. On the flip side, it’s also true that in those cases, a mediocre lawyer could do nothing much, get lucky, and still score a win.
It’s totally different when it comes to license appeals. Winning back one’s license, or obtaining the clearance of a Michigan “hold” on a person’s driving record, should be like buying a loaf of bread: you hand over the money and you get what paid for.
Would anybody give their money to a restaurant for the “chance” to get a meal? As crazy as that sounds, that’s exactly what happens when a person hires any lawyer who doesn’t guarantee to win his or her license case.
Frankly, I find it interesting that a guaranteed win isn’t a minimum standard for lawyers doing license appeals. I’m glad, and it’s good for business that my office all but alone in this regard, but the point I’m trying to make is that there should be nothing exceptional about a lawyer guaranteeing a win in every initial driver’s license restoration and clearance appeal case he or she takes.
In fact, I think the lack of a guarantee says more than anything. If a lawyer feels confident enough in his or her ability to take someone’s money to handle a license case, that should mean he or she’s knows enough about the process and rules to be “qualified”for the job. If so, then how can he or she NOT guarantee to win?
What does that say?
I imagine some lawyers might respond by saying there are a lot of variables involved in a license appeal case, and there are. However, this goes back to the whole notion of “control” that we’re addressing here: we don’t charge our fee just to sit next to someone and whisper a few words of advice while they go out and get their own evaluation and letters of support. Instead, we control and manage every single facet of every single step in the case, pausing only to double and triple-check everything.
I’m sure most lawyers feel bad if a client loses, but if that ever happens to us, the first thing we want to find out is, what did we miss? What did we get wrong? Then, we have to go about fixing it all, for free, next time.
Instead of doing that, we’ll put in the extra effort in order to get it done right and win the first time around. I think everyone would agree that the best part of a guarantee is not having to use it.
Everyone knows that if a criminal case goes to trial, an innocent person may be convicted, or, by contrast, a guilty person might be acquitted. These are inherent risks in any kind of trial.
The same thing applies in civil cases: a person may have a genuinely good claim, but somehow wind up losing, while someone else might win millions for on a claim nowhere near as strong.
This is why so many criminal cases resolve by plea and plea bargain, and why most civil cases settle.
A driver’s license restoration or clearance case, however, either meets certain legal criteria that’s specified by law, or not. Sure, there are a lot of little variables that go into understanding how those criteria are interpreted and applied by the Michigan Secretary of State hearing officers who decide these cases, but that’s the lawyers job in the same way that it’s a pilot’s job to understand the variables involved in landing an airplane on a windy day.
At some point years ago, after having handled hundreds and hundreds of license appeals, I realized that I knew enough to not only feel confident in taking cases that could win and then actually going out winning them, but that I also knew enough to guarantee that outcome.
As I thought about it, it seemed almost disingenuous for me to ask someone to fork over their money without being able to assure them that I’d win their case. Assurances of best efforts and a winning track record are all well and fine, but they fall far short of any kind of guarantee. That’s what I’d want if I was the client.
I strongly believe in treating people the way I’d want to be treated, and I strongly believed in my ability to win every case I took, so as a result, my guarantee was born.
At the end of the day, a potential client has to ask him or herself what they’re paying for. Are you buying some lawyer’s shpeel about how good things look in your case, but without a guarantee, or are you buying a winning result?
With a guarantee, you buy the result – guaranteed – and that’s exactly how it should be.
Anyone looking to hire a lawyer for a driver’s license restoration or out-of-state clearance case should be a good consumer and read around. See how other lawyers explain the license appeal process, and how they explain themselves. When you’ve done enough of that, start checking around.
All of our consultations are free, confidential, and done over the phone, right when you call. My team and I are very friendly people who will be glad to answer your questions and explain things. We can be reached Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (EST), at 248-986-9700 or 586-465-1980