THE BLOG

How Family Law Attorneys Tend to Think, Part I

04/27/2015 03:55 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2015

On April 23, 2015, I read an article titled "Solid negotiation skills crucial for family lawyers," which I felt was an important read for both the public and my colleagues. I therefore shared the article over the social media and with the members of the listserv for the Family Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

My email to the members of the listserv was as follows:

"I had nothing to do with this article, except that I am sharing it with the members of this listserv. While the article pertains to family law attorneys in Canada, it applies equally well to family law attorneys in the United States and most everywhere else, for that matter.

I can't even begin to list the number of articles I have written on this reality over the years.

Lawyer paternalism, anyone?

'Is Mediation About Reaching the Same Result in a More Efficient and Economical Manner?'

Any wonder why my article titled 'The Perfect Storm: Lawyer Limitations and the Adversarial Model in Family Law' is used to teach LLM students at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution?

I posted the following status update yesterday, 'I was just talking to a family law attorney colleague who said that another family law attorney recently mentioned my name to her. They said that all I do is promote myself.

She responded that he is trying to share information and educate people.

BOTTOM LINE: It really doesn't matter how this information is conveyed because these people just don't want to receive it.'

Here's what an attorney in Kansas City, Missouri had to say:

'Lawyers have three choices.

Self-promote, go to work for someone else who promotes for you (and takes a massive chunk of your fees, accordingly), or go to work in a field where no promotion is necessary (think government or in-house).

Oh, there's a fourth choice... get out of law.

Now show me a successful lawyer who doesn't self-promote, and then point out the source of their income.

Your blogs & columns are insightful, well-argued, and definitely reflective of significant work and thought.

And in publishing them-- in this or any other forum-- promotes your expertise.

This is not a bad thing! Every time I step up to a microphone at a CLE or hand my business card to someone or put URL's to my blog posts in my LinkedIn profile, I'm self-promoting.

It's the way the world works. Don't feel the slightest bit guilty about it, Mark. Ever.'

Now, remember, Mark B. Baer, Esq. is not providing his colleagues with valuable information from which they can learn - He is merely promoting himself. It is this type of thinking that has led an increasingly large percentage of people to handle their family law matters without the assistance of attorneys. Only between 10-15% of people involved in family law proceedings in California retain attorneys. That is what we call a crisis and it is not because all those people can't afford lawyers - It is because the lawyers are not typically giving their clients and potential clients the services they want."