Authored By: Christopher Pearsall
a.k.a. The Rhode Island Divorce Coach℠
I can't do anything but put it bluntly. The problem some lawyers cause when a client has an uncontested divorce case is that the attorney is greedy. I hate actually hate to say that. Why? Because I'm in this profession and many people think all attorneys are the same.
Let me tell you, we're not. So what happens when an attorney is greedy and takes in an uncontested divorce case? Usually the attorney hasn't billed enough for the case, or at least not as much as the attorney wants to make so the next best thing is this "cause controversy and make it a contested case."
Wouldn't a client see that though? Unfortunately, they don't see how skillful these unscrupulous lawyers are. Some lawyers can turn an easy uncontested case into a contested case and make it look like it's the judge's fault or the other attorney's fault or even the other party's fault. Anyone's fault but the attorneys.
This type of action by lawyers disgusts me. It plays on the emotions of the parties, spends their monies needlessly, sometimes destroys family relationships, and takes away time from people's lives that they otherwise could have spent happily.
There are things you want to look for when researching, meeting with, and hiring a lawyer. They may seem lofty or great in a speech but they still exist and as long as we continue to promote them in life. I live my life by them and I run my practice by them. What are they? They are embodied in words such as Honor . . . Decency . . . Caring . . . Respect . . . Manners . . . Integrity . . . Fortitude . . . Perseverance . . . Honesty . . . and the list goes on.
I've wanted to give up so many times in the practice of family law because I run into some bad lawyers and sometimes they win because it's hard to beat a lawyer who doesn't play by the rules and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the money they want to make.
Yet I don't quit. I persevere for those good people that I can help. I keep going so that when people need a lawyer who will tell a person his or her rights and yet not cause trouble when they want to settle a case that may give away 95% of what the law says they should get. We as lawyers are advisors and guides. We are not here to make the decision for the client or to create situations that end up having clients make decisions that are based upon incorrect information because the attorney has caused controversy between the parties.
We're here to help people. We're here to help them get through to a better and hopefully brighter tomorrow without being one of the factors that makes their lives worse. That's my philosophy and no amount of money will change it. Years ago I realized I could make hundreds of thousands of dollars if I just agreed to put my principles to one side and create controversy in every divorce I was involved in rather than helping the parties come reach an amicable resolution quickly. Not once have I done it, nor will I ever do so.
Clients, you are the best one to look out for your own interests. Remember, sometimes that may include as it relates to policing your own attorney too.