August 29, 2018
In my view every attorney has two obligations to a client. First, the attorney has an obligation to “counsel” the client. Second, he has an obligation to “advocate” for the client.
It seems to me that so many attorneys neglect their first obligation. Attorneys should not only know the law, but they should know the likelihood of attaining the client’s objectives based upon the facts of the case, the judge that has been assigned to the case and a variety of other circumstances that might not seem particularly important to the client. Only after the client fully understands his or her legal situation and likelihood of success should the lawyer assume the role of advocate for his client.
I’ve seen too many cases where the attorney fought for what the client wanted even though what the client wanted was not realistic. For example, I’ve seen cases where the parent filed for a modification of custody only to have the court refuse to modify custody then then grant a counterclaim for a an increase in child support. The client essentially paid the attorney to get his child support INCREASED! This doesn’t seem like money well spent to me.
Sometimes settling for less than what the client wants in a “perfect world outcome” is a successful result if the settlement terms are better than what will mostly occur if the judge decides the case. If you don’t trust your attorney’s judgment in this regard then you probably have the wrong attorney. Beware, however, of hiring a lawyer that tells you exactly what you want to hear. The only promises that an attorney should make to a prospective client is that he will be prepared, that he will understand the applicable law, that he will understand the facts and circumstances of your specific case and that he will do his very best throughout the process.