Jokes about attorneys are common in today’s society. Attorney jokes have become colloquial to the stigma associated with attorneys. Generally, this stigma is never what an attorney actually wants to be associated with. This blog is designed to help dispel the ugly stigma attached to being a lawyer. Believe it or not, attorneys are humans too.
The moment a person decides to start the process of becoming an attorney, that person becomes attached to that ugly stigma. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked by a distraught person, “Why would you want to be a lawyer? To destroy people’s lives?” Naturally, any budding law student answers with, “to make a difference in the world.”
In my experience, we all started off in the same place. We chose the profession to do something with our own lives and for the lives of others. Of course there are a handful of people that decided to be an attorney for alternative reasons, but that doesn’t make them bad people. Needless to say, all of us started in the same place, endured the same struggle, and fought hard for the title of “Esquire.”
Just because we gain a fancy title at the end of our journey doesn’t mean we automatically lose ourselves completely. The majority of attorneys I know are personable human beings. Attorneys have lives outside the law. They have families, friends, hobbies, and other joys in life. The simple truth is attorneys are humans too. At the end of the day, they care about their clients and the outcome of their cases.
Walking into a law office can be a daunting and intimidating task. There are seldom occasions when people need lawyers for happy things. People need lawyers to help them fight for something. The law is not a peaceful creature; it is inherently adversarial. When shopping for an attorney, a person is not only looking for someone who knows the law, but someone who can put up a good fight. The most common question I get in a consultation is, “Are you aggressive?”
Being an aggressive attorney is certainty advantageous. However, there are other important attributes Clients should consider when hiring an attorney. One such attribute is the human element. Being a humanistic attorney creates a unique advantage in a case. Instead of constantly bullying back and forth, bringing a human aspect to the table, in turn brings realistic expectations. Attorneys who are able to relate both to their Clients and the opposing side, seem to be much more successful advocates for their Clients. Successful attorneys have strong relationships with their Clients as well as other attorneys in the community. Working with the other side is just as important as working with the Client. Open communication is more valuable than a constant aggression.
Clients often think their attorney, “just doesn’t understand what they are going through.” That may be true on an empathetic level, but the truth is, you’re not the first Client to have this problem. Having dealt with these issues on numerous occasions makes an attorney a healthy candidate to deal with these intense issues. Although attorneys are constantly attempting to draw the boundary between their own emotions and that of their clients, feelings still sneak in. That’s because attorneys are humans too.
Trust is probably the most important consideration when hiring an attorney. Sure there is the ethical obligation of the attorney-client privilege, but trust goes much deeper than the ethical laws that bind attorneys. Retaining an attorney requires both the Client and the attorney to trust each other without truly knowing each other. Instead of looking for an attorney who is solely enthralled in aggression, consider hiring an attorney that is also a human being. Find an attorney who you can relate to and vice versa. These are the attorneys that will be able to best advocate on your behalf. As silly as it sounds, keeping an open, truthful relationship with your attorney is the safest bet.
Successful attorneys are well-balanced people, and a part of that balance is the fact they are human. So next time you’re shopping for an attorney remember that we aren’t all malicious beasts, but people just like you. It will help your process of hiring an attorney, it will help you develop a strong bond with your attorney, and result in strong advocacy.