By: Alan Freed
Most people get to know lawyers through the media. We are used to seeing lawyers in movies and TV prosecuting (or defending) criminals, attacking corporate greed, or crusading against governmental injustices. In those seemingly black and white scenarios, the lawyer’s role is clear: fight for the good guys.
The real world of lawyering, in which my colleagues and I practice, rarely presents these kinds of clear-cut situations. We muck around in the gray zones, trying to find the best ways to present our case, but we recognize that judges are required to consider the facts and the law from all angles, not just the one that is most favorable to our client’s viewpoint.
Consequently, we try to be careful not to “fall in love” with a theory of the case that we believe will be persuasive. We also have to recognize that our client (and the opposing party) is human and has both positive and negative qualities that will be presented to the court. If we are to do our jobs properly, we need to consider all of the ways in which our theory might fail—the chinks in our armor that our adversary may uncover and the contrary court opinions and contrary evidence that suggest an alternative view of the law or the facts.
It’s easy to think that, particularly in the vulnerable state a divorce client finds him or herself, when your lawyer starts to question the legal theory of the case that you think the lawyer should advocate, or when your lawyer challenges your perspective on the facts, that lawyer is being disloyal. In fact, when your lawyer makes these challenges it’s not because the lawyer doesn’t want you to succeed or because the lawyer questions his or her own abilities. Your lawyer is actually helping you out by considering every challenge before it occurs so that your side will be better equipped to handle them.
Please recognize that a good lawyer will not always be telling you what you want to hear about your case. Your lawyer is trained in the law and a skilled lawyer will do everything possible to use that knowledge to present your case in the best light possible. Sometimes, in the course of doing that job, the lawyer is likely to disagree with you or suggest alternative ways of looking at something that, in your mind, is crystal clear. That simply means your lawyer is doing a lawyer’s job.
Please rely upon your friends and family to provide you with emotional and moral support. Rely upon your lawyer to be your agent of reality, and don’t think that the lawyer is not behind you when the lawyer poses difficult questions or disagrees with your viewpoint. The real world is a lot more complex than the one portrayed on TV. Your understanding of your lawyer’s role will assist both of you in getting to the best possible outcome.
The attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal can help you tackle any challenging family law issues.