12 Sep The Profession: Attorney as Counselor
I wasn’t always sure that I wanted to be in the legal profession. I remember back in high school, it was probably my junior year, my mom asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. Well, not in those words. Her words would have been much more direct and serious: “What profession are you going to choose, Pawnee? You know you need to start thinking about that.” My mind went through about 7 different careers. I think I still remember a few of them:
Therapist or Counselor
Doctor – perhaps performing operations
I remember a few more, but I’ll keep that information to myself! Anyway, each of these careers have stayed on my mind. I have done some aspect of almost all of them.
Counseling is an Everyday Occurrence as an Attorney
Now, my career, my role, is Attorney and Counselor (some people add “At Law” at the end of that. I remember when I first started my law firm, I noticed that my clients and potential clients were unloading what was happening in their lives. Family life really takes a toll on the emotions. I remember more than a couple women and men cried while describing their experience. They were digging into that pain and releasing it.
Clients have experienced my counsel when I listen to them, reassure them, give them hope, and I’ve been told that my calmness makes them calmer. I believe that these attributes come with my personality, and they are so necessary.
The heaviest issues that my clients deal with are abuse of any kind: physical, emotional, psychological; anything having to do with their children; and their spouse having an affair. Is this pretty gloomy? I am in a profession that deals with people’s pain and represents and counsels them in law and their personal affairs? But understand that I don’t enjoy your pain; I enjoy helping my clients. I especially enjoy helping when my client can stay rational and think through each decision in your legal matter.
About Your Attorney’s Advice
For example, if precedent (prior cases) demonstrate that courts do not support the next action you want to take, then it would not be wise to do it. If all the decisions in the case law that your attorney reads and analyzes against your facts are not on your side, then you would without a doubt, categorically lose, then there is nothing your attorney can do to tip the case in your favor. In other words, your facts are not supported by the law. And hopefully when this happens you listen to your attorney who has been through between 19 and 21 years of school, started reading case law since he or she was a teenager and obviously passed the bar, so-yeah, it’s wise to listen and take their advice, and make sure that you understand it and the consequences. Also make sure you understand the consequences of not following the expert’s advice. They have an ethical duty to act in your best interests and the honest ones are doing that.