by Max Baer of the Huffington Post
Outcomes are often determined by the way in which the "game" is
designed. For example, the drafting process in sports is designed to
prevent any one team from selecting the best players. Without such a
process, it would be possible for a particular team to stack the deck by
selecting all the best players year after year. The same is true in
the "game" of life. When people find themselves involved in a family law proceeding such as a divorce, the attorneys drafted onto a "team"
will most certainly impact the outcome of that case.
While it may be expressed in many different ways, the selection of an
attorney is the most significant factor in determining how a case will
proceed. While an attorney's competency is extremely important, the
selection process should not be limited to that aspect. After all, the
attorney's personality and overall philosophy with regard to family law
are of great importance. What do you think is going to occur if you
retain an attorney with whom other attorneys have difficulty working?
Does the fact that someone is an attorney necessarily mean that they
understand the nature of human conflict? How functional or
dysfunctional are families after certain family law attorneys are
involved? Do high conflict individuals happen to self-select attorneys
who seem to handle high conflict cases, or might the attorney's approach
cause cases they handle to become high conflict? Remember, while you
might win the battle, you can still lose the war. Things that parents
do to each other during a divorce either on their own or with the
assistance of their attorneys have consequences.
Some level of distrust and conflict typically exist whenever a
dispute arises. It is no coincidence that it also happens to be a time
when emotions run high. Unfortunately, it is at such times that people
must draft their "team players."
Long gone are the days in which law was a noble profession. It is
now the business of law as much or more than it is the practice of law.
How does the bottom line of the business impact its clients, is the
question. Interestingly enough, client satisfaction decreased after law
became a business. When opposing attorneys don't like or respect each
other, who pays for their fees while their conflict plays out? As the
level of distrust and conflict between the parties and/or their
attorneys grows, the amount of money spent on legal fees and costs
increases. From a client's perspective, does it make more sense to
increase or decrease the level of distrust and conflict? When people
involved in a legal dispute are unable to communicate constructively
with each other, how do you think that impacts legal fees? When an
attorney "advises" their client not to communicate directly with the
other party, who does that benefit? In family law, those clients
frequently have children together, whether they are minors or adults.
How does such advice ultimately benefit such clients or their family?
Remember, like it or not, if there are children of the relationship
(regardless of their age), the family still exists after the
In family law, we are dealing with people who had been sexually
intimate. Family law frequently involves couples who have children
together. In no other area of law are people giving or receiving money
without the concept of fault being involved. The combination of these
factors can lead to very destructive behavior the consequences of which
can be felt long after the "case" is over. Is it the attorneys or the
clients, their children and their families that get to live with those
consequences? The personality and philosophy of the attorneys involved
in a case have far more impact than people realize. Please keep this in
mind when selecting your "teammates."