More on “Why Hire a Divorce or Personal Injury Lawyer?”
Published to: 000111, 000112, 000114, 000116, A Small Town Lawyer's Perspective, hire a lawyer, lawyer ratings, Perspectives of a Small Town Lawyer, pro se, self represented, West Virginia Lawyer - Tips and Techniques
on June 26, 2013 9:16 pm
This is the post you should forward to a friend or family member with legal woes, if you care about them.
I have written much on why a person injured by the fault of another, or a party facing the agony of divorce, should hire an attorney.
That question in a personal injury matter has an obvious answer. So why do so many try to “go it alone”, at least during that critical beginning? The answer is that since you cannot file or try a personal injury lawsuit yourself, and since the carrier will not take you seriously if there is little potential you will file suit, it is a “no brainer” that you turn over the documentation and negotiation to an experienced lawyer.
And that’s not necessarily the guy with the funniest t.v. ads. If you were an insurance adjustor busting his/her ass each day to keep up with an impossible case load, would you make your best offers to the guy who portrays you as a buffoon in his t.v. ads? I think not.
Add to that, that the lawyer may find insurance coverage you did not know existed, help you keep away creditors, or find other treatment options, that issue is quickly dealt with. (My number is 304 472-7477, and I work of a very competitive contingency fee percentage!)
Superficially, the answer to the question of hiring a lawyer for your divorce is not so clear, but if you think a bit, it should be. In fact, sometimes I don’t meet the client until they have been thoroughly frightened by their spouse’s behavior.
1. Even though I had spoken with a potential client, and carefully spelled out the reasons for the client to have counsel, I believe, upon reflection, that she would not have hired me if the spouse had not said, “I will pick them up and keep them overnight at my girlfriend’s house whether you want me to or not!”
2. Them’s fightin’ words, and they brought her to me.
3. As we worked our way through the facts and issues, it was apparent that the client had many misperceptions and no experience with divorce.
4. The client permitted me to call the spouse, as is my practice, to introduce myself, and to make sure the spouse knew we intended to proceed in a polite and professional manner.
5. The response? “But I thought we were going to work this out without lawyers and all that stuff!” The spouse was devastated, not because of the divorce, which the spouse expected to be filed, but by the appearance of a lawyer. He seemed to believe all manner of evil was going befall him.
6. In twenty minutes, I believe I failed to convince the spouse of the benefit of my involvement, but in many instances that call lays a foundation for a settlement.
7. In the course of an hour and a half with my new client, as I covered the “ins and outs” of the process, the applicable law, her immediate concerns, and the likely timeframe and outcome, my client began “to get it”. She left the office with a grateful smile, without the misperceptions she came with.
8. The spouse, of course, continued to see gloom and doom, with voice cracking at one point.
9. Why is there this perception? “Here’s my take”, as Fareed Zacaria says:
a. In most marriages and break-ups, there is a disparity in power. The person who believes he/she has the edge in money or power is the most anxious that the other party not be empowered.
b. Our WV Supreme Court and “Legal Aid” have backed away from urging people to have private counsel. I could not disagree more, for the client, and for the attorney who comes to a WV town or city hoping to find a way to make a living for himself and family and to contribute to his/her community.
c. There are “Supreme Court Approved” “do it yourself” forms. The implication is “anyone can do it.”
d. This demeans family law attorneys who are treated, in my opinion, as “second class citizens” by the Court.
e. My evidence? Perceiving that insurance companies, big business, and other moneyed clients can look out for themselves, the WV State Bar Ethics Counsel focuses most of the energy on the loudest complainers.
f. They are court appointed criminal defendants (who have plenty of time and a free law library) and family law clients, people under stress at one of the worst times in their lives.
g. By giving out a “$50 do it yourself kit”, the appaent nod off approval from the Supreme Court, and the trappings of the Circuit Clerk’s office, and allowing “do it yourself” training courses at the Legal Aid Office, a cruel hoax is perpetrated upon those borderline parties who can find funds to be represented, but do not.
h. The parties mentioned in my example above both make good money. Affording counsel was not there problem. But, for some reason they dreaded “involving lawyers”.
i. I confess, some lawyers are to be dreaded. I perceive they are not there to collaborate, cooperate, and serve. They think it is their job to wield a club for a party to get what he wants. The debate between lawyers of over these diverse positions will not easily be resolved.
j. I have written posts on the horror stories who were unrepresented. I just entered “why hire” into my blog search engine and got 6-8 “hits”.
10. If you have a friend or relative, or if you, are facing a divorce, at the very least, scrape up $500 and come talk. I will give you a PDF file of my 260 page book (Now 700. jbh 2-25-2015), a list of the key documents to file, methods for organizing your case, and pros (very few cons) of being represented.
11. How can I do this? Because most people I meet under those circumstances hire me. Truth is, once they have the facts, hiring as family law lawyer is as much a “no-brainer” as hiring a personal injury lawyer.
12a. That’s good, because I happen to do both! I hope you do not need my services, for an injury or a divorce, but, if you do, I hope you won’t hesitate to give us a call, or visit www.hunterlawfirm.net. jbh
This post was written by Burton Hunter