When your lawyer acts like a “lawyer”…

The members of legal profession have been suffering from the reputation of being arrogant, greedy, and materialistic for many generations. This long-standing stereotype is not without basis. I keep hearing from different people and my new clients about their negative experiences interacting with attorneys. “Arrogant, pompous, condescending, flamboyant” are the common terms that they describe the lawyers they know or had to work with.

I am not sure if it’s greed, insecurity or the desire for that missing validation from the outside that are behind that behavior. The astounding fact, however, is that so many of those attorneys believe that showing their “status” is beneficial to their work and their career. Nothing could be further from truth! Litigation process is intimidating enough. The last thing that a client needs is dealing with someone who makes it even more unpleasant and stressful. A lawyer is a fiduciary of his client. This is a very special relationship, during which a client has to disclose a lot of personal, confidential information about himself and his business. This is exactly why it is so crucial that an attorney treats his clients in as personable manner as possible without putting up walls. One of the very important roles of an attorney is making his client feel comfortable, open, and honest about his problems and goals. When a client feels comfortable relating and disclosing every little facts and circumstance of his case, it will be of tremendous benefit and value to his legal representation. When your attorney knows the facts of your case in just as great of a detail as you do, he will be able to represent you in the most effective and zealous way. This cannot be possibly achieved if the client is intimidated by his attorney, or feels rushed or unwelcome when talking to his lawyer.

One of my recent clients left her previous attorney for this exact reason. Every time she talked to him, on those rare occasions when she managed to actually get a hold of him, she experienced anxiety and feelings of inferiority as if her attorney was smarter than she was. When I called him to discuss the case, I knew immediately what my new client was talking about. Even I felt “pushed” when talking to him. The only difference is that I, of course, know how to handle the “type” and put him/her back in their place.

So, if you are intimidated by your attorney and you don’t feel comfortable sharing with him some of the personal information about you which could be relevant to your case, you are not the right fit for each other, and you are better off exercising your absolute right to be represented by a different lawyer.

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