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 basically whenever we choose. If we feel that it’s a bad match or a client wants to do something unethical. 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 really are more dealing with common courtesy than anything else, but here we go:
1) The top one is to be rude to both your lawyer or the staff. Call them names, be demanding, be insulting and generally have an attitude with them
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. The other issue is that you need to remember your lawyer wants to help you. I swear! Just because the next court date is 3 months away, don’t yell at your the paralegal, they can’t fix it!
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 if you go to trial. 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. By the same token a mom who only sees the kids half the time and is busy with darts or pool most nights might be lucky to get joint custody.
One of the best tools any lawyer has is to have experience with the judge, to have been in front of him or her and having had similar cases and have a good idea what they are going to do is truly the mark of a good family lawyer. You, as a client, do not have this experience so listen to your attorney, again they are on your side and want to help you!
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. Your lawyer as a lot of expenses, secretaries, advertising, insurance, you name it it all adds up. You don’t work for free do you? of course not, neither should you expect your lawyer to work for free.
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 be sure to 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 promise you this.
As a divorce lawyer I want to give you my best honest advice, I don’t want to worry about if I am 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 lawyers As lawyers, we look very skeptically on clients who have been fired and usually charge accordingly.
So a few tips I’ve seen over the years as a family law attorney. One final tip, if you are having problems with your lawyer, talk to them. Tell them what your concern or problem is and be honest with them. If you wonder why your lawyer is doing something don’t be afraid to ask
Information obtained in mankatofamilylaw.com may contain knowledgeable content about Minnesota Family Law that may be considered beneficial to some; however, in no way should this website or its contents be considered legal advice. Mr. Kohlmeyer is a Minnesota licensed Attorney and cannot provide legal services or guidance to those outside of Minnesota. If you wish to retain Mr. Kohlmeyer as your Attorney in your Family Law matter, contact 507-625-5000.