It’s kind of an oxymoron, that the lawyers who help to guide us through the legal issues affecting us are held up to higher scrutiny as if they themselves are a problem.
Here are 7 common misconceptions about lawyers that we need to drop right away:
1. Lawyers are Only Doing it For the Money
This is, in my opinion, the biggest and most misleading cliché that does the rounds about lawyers. Obviously, everyone works to earn a living, and making good money will always make a profession more desirable but on the whole, I think lawyers are genuinely passionate about what they do.
Mere greed to make money doesn’t let a person survive through years of studying and practicing if it isn’t about passion!
In fact, the more lawyers enjoy their work, the better at it they generally are. So next time, watch out for the unhappy lawyer and stay away.
2. Lawyers Are Always Trying to Cheat You
The commonly held opinion is that a lawyer will always try to up-sell you unnecessary services (for more money than you want to spend).
That’s not the case though. Law and business have been separated at law school. Only a lawyer with an interest in the business world will have such a thought process, not all.
3. Litigators Need to be Aggressive to be Good
We have all formed our impressions of effective lawyers, skewed over the years by heroic TV shows and films. “Objection” shouts the lawyer. “Relevance!”
This is not truly how it happens in a real court. As a matter of fact, it’s quite the opposite. The best lawyers in court are generally the ones who don’t create too much disruption. This is in no small part because, in court, it is important to be liked by the judge.
Aggression, in fact, does the opposite!
4. Becoming a Lawyer Means Becoming Rich
Not anymore. Lawyers are aware of the financial pressures companies and individuals face, and it is part of their job to adapt their fees to their clients’ needs.
If your litigator is charging you astronomical sums, chances are they are also supporting a large office and a myriad of support staff not because they are greedy. Also, lawyers come in all shapes and sizes, and therefore in all prices.
You can find lawyers who will expect you to spend your life’s savings, whilst others will take you on for free or on a ‘no-win-no-fee’ basis. It all depends on who you are looking at to solve your problems.
5. Lawyers Feed Off Your Life Tragedies
Unfortunately, most people turn to lawyers when situations have already gone from bad to worse. Lawyers are used to dealing with plummeting scenarios, and this may be why they appear a bit cynical.
Consider the same circumstances, but with a doctor as the professional whose services you’ve sought. None of us will visit a doctor when we are healthy. But they will always jump in at the last minute and make the best of a life-threatening situation.
Well, so do litigators. They can keep you out of prison, help you save your business from going bankrupt, and prevent your children from suffering due to a messy divorce. Life altering, if not life saving and in no way relishing on hardships of the client.
6. Lawyers are Manipulative
At law school, we are taught how to form arguments. With practice, we hone these skills.
Misconception: This skill is used to manipulate clients.
Reality: This skill is used to manoeuvre complex legal principles, and to adapt them to the client’s case.
I would say that litigators are not so much manipulative as they are masterful, with a tremendous amount of common sense and skill. It takes expertise and finesse to stay on top of every nuance in a case, so that the facts don’t go against them and their client.
7. Good Lawyers Only Care about The Case and Not the Person
This is actually a more accurate description of a “bad” litigator. Case and client are closely aligned and neither can be ignored in the legal world.
Every good litigator knows that in order to win a case, they must work closely with (and get to know) their client. This is necessary in order to best understand their client’s perspective and individual needs.
Lawyers aren’t cut-throat money-making machines to you anymore, are they?
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