In their hour of need, many divorcees turn to their lawyer for reassurance, comfort, and empathy. However, that person would be better off finding a therapist, family member, or friend to lean on. Lawyers are not your friends.
They’re not therapists. They are professionals with one goal in mind: winning the case. So, don’t be surprised if they don’t join in on a client’s pity party. And, though it might seem insulting, that detachment’s often the sign of an adept lawyer.
Considering the close relationship people form with their lawyer, it’s understandable that clients want an amicable one. However, it’s far more important that a person selects a lawyer with a good track record and is commercially smart. Clients should weigh all their options carefully before picking an attorney. Choosing not to do so can lead to a lost custody battle or unreasonably high spousal support. Picking a lawyer who’s more interesting in winning cases, and less interested in discussing his or her clients’ personal issues, can save both time and money.
Anyone who feels like their lawyer is dragging their feet, even if it’s disguised as emotional support, should confront the lawyer directly. A client should never be afraid to cut loose a lawyer that’s underperforming. That’s difficult when a lawyer becomes a less legal representative and more closest confidant.
However, as much as a lawyer has an obligation to perform well, a client must try not to overwhelm him or her with the minutiae of a case. A stressed lawyer rarely performs at his or her best. So, while it may be tempting to use them as a sounding board, that practice rarely results in happiness on either side. When a lawyer comes off as insensitive to, or unaware of, the rollercoaster-like lives many of their clients lead, they rarely do so out of spite. In truth, many of the best lawyers rely on this aura of detachment to get them through days filled with stories of sobbing children, bankruptcies, and spousal abuse. It’s rarely just the client who’s stressed out.
In short, it’s unwise to mix life and law. Let the lawyer handle the legality and let friends, or family, to deal with the rest. Alan Weiss Founder of aussiedivorce.com.au and criminallegal.com.au