Many people don’t realize that lawyers are not buses, not everyone gets to ride. As a private divorce lawyer we have the ability to “fire” clients, whenever we choose. The ethical rules come into play a little, but they are generally pretty broad and if we can’t work together, you’ll be fired.
I’ve compiled a short list of way to get fired, most are common sense and common courtesy, but here we go:
1) The top one is to be rude to both your lawyer and the staff. Call them both names, use profanity, be insulting and generally have an attitude. It is amazing how many times you can see a client yelling at their lawyer at the courthouse. Use “please” and “thank you” it’s what our mother’s taught us to do and it is still is good advice.
2) Be unreasonable. After a few years as a divorce lawyer you get the ability to look at cases and have a pretty good idea of what is going to happen. For example, the dad who has never seen his kids is probably not going to get the judge to order a 50-50 custody arrangement. One of the best tools any lawyer has is to know the judge, to have experience in front of him or her and having had similar cases and have a good idea what they are going to do. You, as a client, do not have this experience so listen to your attorney.
3) Don’t pay the bill. This should go without saying, but getting a divorce with the help of a lawyer is not a right..it’s a privilege. Just as not everyone can have a 50″ plasma tv, a new Mercedes, and vacation in the South of France, not everyone can afford a divorce lawyer. Is it fair? Absolutely not, but that is the cold hard reality of our world. TIP: If you are having trouble paying, talk to you lawyer right away, get a payment plan set up, perhaps he or she will take that extra vehicle you have as payment? But if you just don’t pay, odds are you’ll be without a lawyer soon.
4) Don’t trust your lawyer, and tell them this. Either you trust your lawyer or you don’t. There is no middle ground on this point. I look at it like going to war, if our spears aren’t both facing the enemy, if your spear is in my back it won’t go well. I don’t want to worry about am I upsetting my client, I want to worry about winning the case.
Finally, know this: if you are fired by your attorney you will probably have a bit of difficulty getting another good divorce lawyer. As lawyers, we look very skeptically on clients who have been fired and usually charge accordingly.
As always, if you have questions or comments either post them or email me at www.rokolaw.com
Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Office
Mankato, MN 56001