The Attorney-Client Fit
The phrase “choosing your battles” may have been coined in the Family Law context. Whether you are going through a divorce, a custody issue, or support issues (or all of the above) it will be important to figure out where to reach agreements and where you may have to be ready to battle. When it comes to hiring an attorney to represent you, it is important that you find someone who you can trust to give you good advice even when it isn’t advice you want to hear. While it may feel better in the moment to have an attorney who will tell you that you should pursue every issue and that you will win at every hearing, it will leave you unprepared for times when a Judge orders something in opposition to your position. Finding an attorney who will prepare you for the most likely outcome is the best way to set yourself up for success.
The right lawyer will advocate for your interests in and out of court, and should be one who you trust to do so. As you interview lawyers, consider whether you will be able to trust these two things: first, that the person you’re interviewing will give you sound legal advice. It should be a priority that your lawyer can explain the concepts to you in a way that you can understand. Second, that you trust that the person you’re interviewing will represent your interests even if their advice is that you will not get what you want on that issue in court.
Understanding the possibility of an undesirable outcome from early on gives you the ability to prepare and work with your attorney to find ways to mitigate the most detrimental aspects of the outcome and focus on areas of your case where your efforts can make a bigger impact. Additionally, it can help you save on legal fees by reaching resolutions more quickly than spending significant time and money to fight unsuccessful battles.
Trusting your attorney to represent your interests is important for the attorney-client relationship to be successful. For example, judges often conference with attorneys, without their clients, to determine what issues need to be resolved and the best way to resolve them. Some of your attorney’s advocacy may happen behind closed doors – you will want that advocacy to be ardent even when you have been prepared for an outcome where you may need to make concessions.
This all boils down to considering not just whether your attorney has the legal skill to represent you well, but also whether you believe the relationship fit is good.
If you, or someone you know, may be affected by the information in this legal alert, please contact Abigail Bukowski at Eastburn and Gray. To learn more about Eastburn and Gray and our Family Law practice group, please visit the firm’s website, www.eastburngray.com.