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Friday, September 2, 2016

Counselor v. Attorney

As an attorney with a focus on criminal defense and civil rights, I often find my clients worrying about immaterial and irrelevant matters.  While lawyers may be called “counselors” we simply do not possess the training to properly address the mental health issues that accompany a criminal case.  However, it is a position we must live up to and learn to manage.  Inevitably, and regardless of guilt or innocence, the criminal justice system is both a physically and psychologically traumatic experience.

As such, a lawyer will often find themselves thrust into the role of counseling the client on the law and the resulting emotional issues.  Generally, I have found that most of the resulting mental anguish that attach to a criminal case are directly correlated with the client’s lack of knowledge.  As such, an experienced and knowledgeable attorney may address this by clearly and transparently explain to the client the criminal justice system process and possible outcomes.  While empathy is very important, it does not help without the proper experience and knowledge to comfort your client that they have placed their life in the right hands.

Generally, once a client understands the process and the possible outcomes, they are more capable of dealing with the situation they are in.  However, this capability is absolutely undercut when the client feels that his/her attorney is not competent.  This is further frustrated by the reality that most clients do not know what to seek in a lawyer.  They are looking for whatever Mr. Google, Esq. is telling them a good lawyer is and where that lawyer may be found.  Instead, a client should be seeking a lawyer who will be patient and transparent to their worries and concerns.  A lawyer who they can trust.

On the lawyer’s part, never ignore your client’s worries.  This is true even when it appears to be the most irrelevant and unlikely concern.  By ignoring your client, you are feeding into the general stereotype of the lawyer who does not care.  In turn, this will drive a wedge between yourself and your client.  Ultimately, if your client does not feel there is trust, things are left unsaid and the entirety of the case suffers.   I have gladly spent hours of my time with clients explaining the entirety of the justice system, over and over again.  When you make your clients a priority and express a value for them, not just the case, you help with the anguish and despair associated with criminal defense cases.

 

Call the Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC for an experienced and strong trial lawyer who puts his client’s first.

 


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As a former prosecutor, I fully understand the power law enforcement has. As a trial attorney, I know the law seems very scary.