Weinstein Law Blog

Friday, August 26, 2016

Valuing One Another

One of the most difficult aspects of private practice is attorney-client relations.  The ethics rules and codes across the country are filled with regulations regarding proper attorney-client conduct.  Moreover, there is a myriad of case law and ethics decisions relating to this topic. It is a regular issue that both attorneys and clients face.

Often, lawyers make the worst clients to other lawyers for the same reason that doctors are terrible patients: they do not trust the other professional enough.  Any healthy relationship is based on trust and mutual respect.  A client must trust the lawyer to do the right thing for them and the lawyer must trust the client to be forthcoming and honest. 

              Trust is fostered by good communication.  This means having an open and direct dialog with a client and the client responding in kind.  This is clearly the ideal situation.  It is far more common for there to be a lack of trust and a breakdown of communication between attorneys and their clients.  Then, the lawyer is left holding a bag they thought was full which turns out to have a gaping hold on the bottom. Worse, a client is left feeling betrayed by the lawyer he/she hired.

A Common Mistake

              Trust your friends not Google.  Something happens in your life, an arrest or some other wrong, and you want/need to do something, what do you do? You are likely to go to google “NY Criminal Defense Lawyer” or something of the like.  Who appears on the top of the page? The person paying for ads or Search Engine Optimization, not the person who is best for the job.  Would you open a phonebook and put your life in the hands of the person on the top of the page? I think not!  Look into the lawyer as you would a business partner or someone you date.  This is needed because you are about to engage on a journey together where that lawyer is the mouthpiece for your wishes.

How to Pick the Right Lawyer

              Each case has different needs and each client has different wants.  You must pick a lawyer that aligns with your wishes and expectations.  The lawyer, in turn, must be experienced, capable, and able to come through for you.  Realize that you and the lawyer are entering the case together and that you are also hiring each other.  With this realization, you will come to respect and understand one another better than before.  Similar to the courtship process, sometimes you just know when you have the right one.

What If I Don’t Like My Lawyer?

              Then leave him/her; you may always seek another lawyer.  However, just as in any relationship, you should not enter it hoping to break-up for someone “better” should they come along.  While the legal industry is a service one, I have always viewed it from the perspective of stepping into your shoes.  I am not merely providing a service; I am righting your wrong and standing up for your rights.  The client and lawyer each bring value to the table.  Allow that value to be respected and fostered and you can have a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.  Squander that value and you may end up with a lost case and grievance before the Bar.


Contact the Law Office of Jacob Z. Weinstein, PLLC for a free and confidential consultation.

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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.