I once heard from a fellow attorney that the three great professions were law, medicine, and clergy. The reason, I was told, was that these are where people go for help while in their greatest need. That’s certainly true sometimes. Emergency Departments are full of people in the greatest need of their life. Religious centers too find people at their doorstep, hungry, homeless, or heartbroken.
I agree that the same is true for attorneys…sometimes. Like the plastic surgeon doing yet another facelift, some types of attorneys practice fields of law that hardly rise to the level of a soul’s “greatest need”. Mergers and Acquisitions are important, but its not the same as a death row defendant facing sentencing, or an abused and traumatized child having to relive a nightmare by giving courtroom testimony.
While ER Physicians, criminal attorneys, and victims’ rights advocates enjoy the prestige of a noble cause, “Divorce Attorneys” don’t usually get much respect. That is, until you’re facing divorce. When someone is facing divorce, they begin with heartache and usually anger. Next they realize what’s at stake: their children, their home, their finances, their car, future income. Finally, they realize they don’t know how to begin to protect these things. Do they need an attorney? Can they afford one?How much does it cost? Most importantly, what’s going to happen in the end? For most, this is the hour of their greatest need. The lawyer jokes aren’t funny anymore. They need a caring champion.
Some attorneys may prey on the emotions of these devastated clients to squeeze every dime they can out of the case without regard to their client’s interest. Or at least that is one perception. Other attorneys truly care about their clients, want to get the best outcome for them, and want to do it in a way that the client can afford.
So how do you know which attorney is which? Who can you trust? Who has the courtroom skills and experience to fight for you?
If you are in the position to be asking these questions, visit at least three attorneys. Most offer free consultations. You’ll find many lists of questions to ask them on the internet, but many of those questions were written by attorneys who can’t wait to give you their sales pitch. Instead, trust your instincts. Do you feel a bond with this attorney? Do the attorney have the skills to handle your case? Is the attorney passionate? Does the lawyer comfort you a little too much? Or does he explain the risks you face and the challenges to obtaining your goals?
How would you find and choose your attorney?