You Hired Me for a Reason

What a difference a lawyer can make to the tone of the case. True, most people don’t know how to take themselves successfully through a legal process – which is why we attorneys have jobs.

But there are other reasons.

I was involved in a very difficult case recently; it was difficult because of the complexity of the assets involved. One partner had all of the control over the assets, and held all the information, too, while the other was left in the dark. 

Unfortunately, I represented the person in the dark. And, to make matters worse, the other side’s attorney wasn’t very forthcoming with information disclosure. To be blunt, the other attorney made it very hard for me to figure out what we were talking about, which is necessary to make a solid case.

I believe that attorney hindered the process by keeping information hidden. That person might have thought it was supreme litigation skill to make it hard for me, but divorce does not work well that way.

The end-result was a strained relationship between me and the other attorney, whom I had previously considered a colleague and friend on good terms. The case took way more time than it should have. The tenor between all of us was strained, at best. And the judge got very tired of all the back-and-forth.

 In most cases, I am glad to say the other attorney and I can talk, share information and be straight with one another. It’s essential to setting up a solid, respectful case.

Yes, people are divorcing and trying to get the most on their way out the door. But that doesn’t mean we have to resort to bad manners or worse, unethical actions.

I even had a case recently where my client was the troublesome one – a substance abuser who did not go for the substance abuse assessment as the court ordered. I did all I could to get my client there. The other attorney could have thrown me under the bus to the judge, blamed me for the client not going, but instead that time, the attorney was very professional.

We connected and talked before going before the judge to ask for a sidebar to deal with sensitive information. It was professional, respectful and taking the high road – together.

 We keep the cases professional, despite what our clients may or may not do. It makes all the difference when the lawyer operates at the highest level possible.

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