THE BLOG
05/10/2013 11:23 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

The Personality and Philosophy of Attorneys Impact the Results

Outcomes are often determined by the way in which the "game" is designed. For example, the drafting process in sports is designed to prevent any one team from selecting the best players. Without such a process, it would be possible for a particular team to stack the deck by selecting all the best players year after year. The same is true in the "game" of life. When people find themselves involved in a family law proceeding such as a divorce, the attorneys drafted onto a "team" will most certainly impact the outcome of that case.

While it may be expressed in many different ways, the selection of an attorney is the most significant factor in determining how a case will proceed. While an attorney's competency is extremely important, the selection process should not be limited to that aspect. After all, the attorney's personality and overall philosophy with regard to family law are of great importance. What do you think is going to occur if you retain an attorney with whom other attorneys have difficulty working? Does the fact that someone is an attorney necessarily mean that they understand the nature of human conflict? How functional or dysfunctional are families after certain family law attorneys are involved? Do high conflict individuals happen to self-select attorneys who seem to handle high conflict cases, or might the attorney's approach cause cases they handle to become high conflict? Remember, while you might win the battle, you can still lose the war. Things that parents do to each other during a divorce either on their own or with the assistance of their attorneys have consequences.

Some level of distrust and conflict typically exist whenever a dispute arises. It is no coincidence that it also happens to be a time when emotions run high. Unfortunately, it is at such times that people must draft their "team players."

Long gone are the days in which law was a noble profession. It is now the business of law as much or more than it is the practice of law. How does the bottom line of the business impact its clients, is the question. Interestingly enough, client satisfaction decreased after law became a business. When opposing attorneys don't like or respect each other, who pays for their fees while their conflict plays out? As the level of distrust and conflict between the parties and/or their attorneys grows, the amount of money spent on legal fees and costs increases. From a client's perspective, does it make more sense to increase or decrease the level of distrust and conflict? When people involved in a legal dispute are unable to communicate constructively with each other, how do you think that impacts legal fees? When an attorney "advises" their client not to communicate directly with the other party, who does that benefit? In family law, those clients frequently have children together, whether they are minors or adults. How does such advice ultimately benefit such clients or their family? Remember, like it or not, if there are children of the relationship (regardless of their age), the family still exists after the relationship ends.

In family law, we are dealing with people who had been sexually intimate. Family law frequently involves couples who have children together. In no other area of law are people giving or receiving money without the concept of fault being involved. The combination of these factors can lead to very destructive behavior the consequences of which can be felt long after the "case" is over. Is it the attorneys or the clients, their children and their families that get to live with those consequences? The personality and philosophy of the attorneys involved in a case have far more impact than people realize. Please keep this in mind when selecting your "teammates."

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