Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What we don't do well.

A client who is quite familiar with these ever growing pages recently expressed her sense of the accuracy of my posts and generally complimented the firm.  She said, "you understand what I'm going through better than anyone else I talked to.  You understand this area of law inside and out and, as I've seen, you can litigate anybody into the ground.  Is there anything you don't do well?"

"I'm sure there must be," I told her.  Though I couldn't think of anything at the time.

But her question stayed with me.  Is there anything we don't do well?  I finally came up with an answer.

We don't lie well.  We don't make stuff up.  Frankly, we don't do balderdash well at all.

If you've read my posts for any length of time you're aware that there are two types of family law attorneys.  Short of saying the good guys and the not so good guys, I'll recast it this way: the majority of us are honest and straightforward.  We look for common ground to achieve a fair settlement.  Most of us practice in this same vein.

Some, however, feel that an honest, straightforward, affirmative practice is not what lawyering is all about.  They argue that lawyers are not doing their job unless they are zealous advocates.  (The Bar regulations actually use that term, zealous advocates.)  But these folks mean something very specific by their interpretation of the Bar's rules.  They mean that you win at all costs, including integrity, honesty, ethics, decency and morality.  In short, to win, you make stuff up. 

We have several cases moving forward right now where I can see a fair, just and equitable settlement.  But the other side is represented by "winner take all" attorneys, doing the bidding of an unscrupulous spouse.  In each case, they have no case, no facts, no law.  So they conjure the facts and they bastardize the law in the hope of creating a case in which they will eventually vanquish us.

And we don't do that well. 

I love my profession.  I think it a noble business.  I value the law too much to cheapen it by falsifying documents, purchasing witnesses and torturing time honored legal positions.  I value my clients too much to allow them to perjure themselves or posit a position which is outside the bounds of decency. 

I always say, "It is what it is."  I don't make the facts.  History has cemented the facts.  Those are the facts we work with.  Reality dictates the just result.  A result not based upon reality is, by definition, unjust.  And unjust results yield a destruction of the legal process, undermining the dignity of law and a whole host of unexpected and unwanted consequences.

Karma anyone?

So we don't lie, cheat or steal well.  And we never will.

You want somebody to make up stuff?  Check out those other guys.  You want honesty and integrity in your family law case so that you can look your children in the face, or better still, look yourself in the face in the morning and hold your head up high always?  Give us a call.

Michael Manely

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