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Weinstein Law Blog

Friday, November 4, 2016

CLIENT FIRST

              The legal system is an adversarial one.  The parties to any legal action are, by very definition, opposed to one another.  The plaintiff/prosecution and the defense have the responsibility for finding and presenting evidence.  No one is holding the other’s hand.  Each side is advocating for their own interest.

              The adversarial aspect of our justice system is essential to the truth-finding position courts are supposed to hold.  Yet, all too often, lawyers (starting from law school) are told to “be nice” and treat each other as “colleagues.”  This attitude assumes two things 1) one cannot be a good and effective attorney without being “nice”; and 2) the system runs better if everyone works together. This is a fundamentally flawed approach. 

As to the first assumption: A lawyer must zealously advocate for his/her client.  That is an ethical obligation and why people hire us.  If it is in the best interest of our clients to fight the other side every step of the way – that is exactly what we will do.  For the second assumption: the system fails those whom it serves when everyone is working “together.”  The goal must be truth-finding; not back-patting. If everyone is working together, who is working to find the truth?  The interests of the government in a criminal case are vastly different then the defendant in the very same one.  When faced with the choice of being good for my client, or nice to the other lawyer – I choose my client every time. 

In an all too rare instance, you will find two attorneys with cases that allow them to truly work together to find the truth of the matter at hand.  However, that is the exception – not the rule.  One must not confuse zealously advocating for a client with being bad-mannered.  You can do your job and still be courteous to the other side.  That being said, there is an unfortunate expectation, from both judges and other lawyers, that everyone should “get along” in a case.  There are instances where getting along, is counter to the best interest in the client.  When facing those instances, being nice is not being good.

 

For an experienced and client centered attorney, call the Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC at (646) 450-3484.

             

              


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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.