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Clients hire personal injury attorneys based on a series of impressions. One of those impressions is whether or not the attorney appears to be successful. After all, personal injury attorneys are paid on a contingent basis. The more money they appear to have, the more money their clients likely receive.

It’s tough to strike a balance between projecting success and looking like a fool. These are the subjects of significant internal debate:

In this time of environmental awareness should I drive a Volkswagen Jetta Diesel because it gets the best mileage? If I drive a Volkswagen Jetta Diesel, will perspective clients think that it’s the best car I can afford? Will they think that money is tight and I won’t be able to adequately finance their cases?

Sometimes there’s a tension between projecting success and behaving consistently with core values. We all mark that point on a continuum at different places to achieve balance. Some attorneys are more comfortable with flash, others with understatement.

Beyond the impression created with potential clients, there is an additional consideration. The insurance industry likes to characterize personal injury attorneys as rich, greedy and self-centered.

Nothing ties into this image better than extravagant jewelry, gold Rolexes and luxury cars. The more ammunition personal injury attorneys give the insurance industry that characterize them as greedy or champions of "mayhem" (like the regional Allstate advertisements) the more difficult it will be to convince juries to award damages – adequate damages to persons who suffer personal injuries.

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