Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is Your Attorney Your "Counselor"?

Attorneys are also called "counselors at law".  That title, while it sounds "old fashioned", is actually pretty accurate.

In many (if not most) cases, there is already a crisis going on or the client wouldn't be in the office in the first place.  People don't tend to go to attorneys for "legal checkups" very often when things are going great. By the time a client appears in the office, things may have already reached a breaking point with the client's spouse, neighbor or business partner.

A compassionate and understanding attorney can help the client by giving legal advice, explaining options and providing a sympathetic ear.   Working together in an intense situation means that the client and lawyer may get to know each other well, and relatively quickly. 

It is normal to have a bond with your lawyer, and for your lawyer to have a bond with you.  However, it is often important for the lawyer to "take a step back" and remind the client that s/he cannot make certain decisions for the client, nor can s/he advise the client about things that are not legal issues.  A client can feel disappointed at this "boundary drawing", but it is a sign that the attorney cares about the client and the case, and is focused on doing a good, professional job. 

The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts advises "Your attorney is not your therapist, and it will become very costly for you if you treat them this way. They are there to provide you with legal advice  and not marriage advice." 

If your attorney suggests that you consider visiting a therapist or speaking to a clergy member, consider it.   Your attorney is focused on seeing the "big picture" in your case and may suggest those options for a good reason. 

In the meantime, be honest with your lawyer and don't hesitate to ask questions or reveal information to him/her.   Pay attention if your lawyer tells you that s/he cannot advise you as to certain issues or suggests a referral.  This is a sign that you are being heard, and that your lawyer wants what is best for you.  

"Passionate, Professional & Personal. We Make the Difference."
We are celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2014!  A big THANK YOU you to our clients & the community for making this possible! 

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