I Don’t Like That – When Your Attorney Tells You What You Don’t Want To Hear

When you hire an attorney you want him or her to tell you the truth.  That is what you are paying for, advice and information.  If your attorney has to give you bad news, you should listen to what he or she has to say.  Your attorney does not want to hurt you, he or she is trying to help you.

Unfortunately, clients do not like it when I tell them the reality of their case.  I do not tell you that you will have to pay alimony because I don’t like you or because I think I will make more money in your case.  I am informing you of what the statute and case law says, what judges typically do in your type of case and applying my knowledge to your circumstances.  Same goes for when I inform a parent that the parenting plan that he or she has developed is not reasonable.  It’s my job to give you my opinion and let you know what is likely to happen.

Trust me, I do not enjoy giving someone bad news.  I hate having to tell a spouse that if your husband or wife wants a divorce, you are getting divorced.  I get no thrill in telling you that the retirement accounts you contributed to for the past 20 years are subject to equitable distribution.  There is no joy in telling you I do not believe that your position is going to sway the Court in your favor, because your position contradicts all current case law.  But I have to give you this information.  You need to know so you can make an informed decision.

Being honest with clients can cause an attorney to lose clients.  People do not want to hear bad news.  It is in our human nature to want to hear something better.  But you are not getting what you need if your attorney is only telling you what you want to hear and not what you need to hear.  You are paying for legal advice and assistance.  If you want someone to tell you what you want to hear, hire a cheerleader or personal assistant. 

The truth hurts, but you need to hear it.  If your attorney is telling you exactly what you want to hear, it may not be a good thing.