Words You Don’t Want to Hear ( From Your Lawyer)Posted by Scott Taylor
“That’s a unique (you can also substitute “intriguing” or “interesting”) legal matter,” says your lawyer, smiling wryly.
While you’re sitting there smugly assuming this must mean something good, (after all it appears your lawyer is highly entertained) you’d be wrong, and here’s why.
Words such as “unique, intriguing and interesting” when uttered by your lawyer simply means that he or she is relatively (or completely) unfamiliar with the legal issues raised by your family law case. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this since your lawyers can’t be expected to be an expert at everything.
But this could also mean that your lawyer may need to spend their time, and your money, to get up to speed to understand how to handle this particular issue. Don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer about their particular experience, and if it appears lacking, I suggest that you obtain a referral to another lawyer who has demonstrated expertise in this area.
“Oh”, sighs your lawyer, “your spouse has hired Darth Vader as counsel.”
Anytime your lawyer emits an exasperated sigh upon learning the name of your spouse’s counsel, I suggest you ask for particulars.
It could be that your counsel has a past history with this lawyer which has become personal, never a good thing to have two lawyers who personally dislike each other, it can only end badly for both clients.
It may also mean that the other lawyer has a reputation for being unnecessarily difficult to deal with, such as always favouring litigation over reasonable negotiation or mediation.
If this is the case far better for you to know, and prepare, at the start, for what will likely become a protracted and costly legal proceeding.
“We’re looking for trial dates.”
Going to trial is virtually always the worst possible method to resolve legal problems, including your family law case. That’s why it’s a very good idea, long before your lawyer talks to you about trial dates to discuss, and explore, alternatives such as mediation or collaborative divorce.
In fact, far better to see where your lawyer stands on such alternatives before you decide to retain them. Now that you know these “words of wisdom” pass them on!