Why people don't trust lawyers

By Michael Knight

Wednesday 18 November 2009

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From your first step in a lawyer's office, from non truths to lies, to secrets and then a huge bill for often doing absolutely nothing save cause a blood bath and a whole repertoire of loss and pain, it's no wonder many in the community simply don't trust lawyers, especially those who practice Family Law.

If only you could see their noses growing like Pinocchio. You could say their credibility is absolutely shot to pieces.

After a parent runs off to a lawyer for what they believe is simple legal advice, what happens next more often than not, is a lawyer will advance him or herself into a very clever position of acting for you. Once this happens, many people, especially women are usually too frightened to either speak up or have the lawyer cease acting for them. It can be a tricky bind for the client and a clever 'pincer grip' for the lawyer.

All you need to do is shoot them an email saying "From this point on, I wish you to cease acting for me" or something similar. You will obviously have to pay all their costs up to that point, but hey, getting the bill just may wake you up to what they really do charge. However, not getting yourself into that pickle in the first place is the best way to go.

Whether you are naive and gullible, non-assertive, fearful or confused, an ambitious lawyer will often automatically assume the role of acting for you. Other tactics they use may come in the form of them providing you with a level of perceived reassurance and protection. Others coerce, manipulate and intimidate, by using fear tactics on you, so be aware and most of all don't be bullied by them, else you will regret it in more ways than one.

It's a dirty game they play but somebody's got to do it, right? WRONG!

Let me be clear, not all lawyers are unscrupulous, conniving and dishonest, however the list of good family lawyers isn't very long I'm afraid.

All people need to keep in mind there is a huge difference between getting ADVICE from a lawyer and having one ACT for you, especially in Family Law proceedings.

From the moment a lawyer begins to ACT for you on the record, the meter starts running. The dollars start to accrue and your assets and finances will begin to be siphoned away. It's a sickening feeling if you have made this mistake when you look back in years to come, at how stupid you were.

Every minute they spend dealing with your case will be billable. For example, the time you spend in their office and on the phone with them, any supposed work they do, any documents they read, consultations with specialists, barristers and ANY communications they have with your ex and/or their lawyer. Make sure you get a scale or schedule of costs showing exactly what lawyers can charge for and exactly how much.

In effect what has happened is you have handed them an open cheque, for which they can write any amount, and usually secure their bill by placing an equitable charge over any assets you have, such as a caveat over the family home, or multiple properties. When it comes to money lawyers on the whole aren't dumb, and will protect their interests before yours.

Now, if you are happy with this that's fine. You may not have to read any further. However, the next step for a lawyer is to ramp up the battle and get you into court. Local courts, the Family Court, it doesn't much matter, as this is where the real dollars for them are. Plus more often than not you become emotionally embroiled in this bitter battle and lose clarity of what's really happening, being distracted by your children, your fear and freedom, that money can be the last thing on your mind. But rest assured, money will be the first thing on a lawyer's mind.

See what happens when you get into Court, the intensity of your emotions and fear will heighten. You usually become not only more angry at your ex, but now you're starting to get pissed off with these useless lawyers that effectively don't give you any real value for the truck load of money you pay them, and a system that really doesn't give a "rat's ass" about you, or your children.

Usually, if you are feeling this way you are generally the respondent, defendant or whatever they may call it in your jurisdiction, but either way, you have found yourself in a whole world of financial parasites feeding on your life. You wonder will it only stop when your assets run dry. Yep, that's about it alright, unless you become assertive and take the reigns yourself.

If you have already experienced some of this process and didn't get upset or have a problem with it, please seek medical and psychological help immediately, you do have a problem.

What normally happens to parents once the court process starts is they become polarised and non communicative for many reasons. These can include guilt, fear, torrid emotions, overwhelming stress, restrictions placed on freedoms and feelings of hurt and pain.

Offense is normally taken to allegations as they are tossed around in affidavits, in the lawyer's offices and court rooms. People's self image and ego take a dive, and people change personalities in response to the bizarre situation that has been thrust upon them. Some become sanctimonious and others recalcitrant, it's a truly mixed up environment to be caught in.

There are also those who seem to enjoy the system's attack on another, getting immense pleasure from the rush of power that can get wielded, especially in enforcement type proceedings.

So perhaps think twice before you have a lawyer ACT for you. Otherwise before you know it, you too may experience some form of what has just been said.

Anyone who has real common sense, dignity and respect for themselves, their ex and their children and families, will never, ever have a lawyer ACT for them in Family Law proceedings, let alone set foot in a Family Court.

With love, kindness and peace

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Your Comments:

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    By: Trish from Tasman, New Zealand on June 9, 2016 @ 1:04 am
    Where is the comment I posted last week?
    By: Jim from VIC, Aust on July 29, 2013 @ 6:21 am
    How many reasons are there to trust lawyers is a good question
    By: Kevin Jay from Sth Australia, Australia on July 29, 2013 @ 1:08 am
    Whether it be Family Court lawyers or any lawyer, trust is determined from what they don't say just as importantly as from what they do say.
    By: Michael from Victoria, Australia on September 25, 2012 @ 11:32 pm
    Thank you Mohammad

    Families, separation and human behaviour can be a complex problem and having lawyers take advantage of people whilst vulnerable is not an appealing concept.

    Admittedly, it is not always easy for lawyers. Whilst some revel in bitter family feuds and fleecing money with power and control, others with integrity, a strong sense of ethics and moral code often do their best with difficult people and situations.

    But after all, to most most lawyers it's just a game - a chess and money game where often the lives of people can be a secondary concern.

    As lawyers are bound to serve the government and their legal institution first followed by their own interests a close second, it is not surprising clients often feel their interests are placed last, hence often causing a lack of trust and respect in the industry.

    So, a big hand to you and anyone who works toward improving fairness in the family law industry for the benefit of families.

    Simply, new ways are needed to improve better outcomes for all - not just a legal solution like so many have been led to believe. Law is only a part of this whole problem - sometimes making it better but also worse.

    Mistrust essentially comes from fear, values, low self esteem, a lack of knowledge, self power and awareness.

    It's hard to place ones trust in the legal fraternity when the industry's mantra heavily relies upon denial!

    Any attempt by you and your organisation to ameliorate the slow evolving culture of the legal industry into one of earnest trust by the community through value for money and effectiveness by lawyers on behalf of families, can only be regarded as praise worthy....
    By: Mohammad from Texas, USA on September 25, 2012 @ 7:00 am
    Thanks for the article, Michael. It's great to hear these types of testimonials about the industry. My organization works to build law firm trust for trustWORTHY attorneys (http://lawfirmtrust.com). We are researching ways to repair the bridge of trust between consumers and their options when it comes to legal help. Where do you think the mistrust steps in? I'm sure that becoming a lawyer doesn't carry the prerequisite of being a conniving individual, so where do you think it comes from?
    By: suzzie from VIC, australia on November 17, 2009 @ 9:04 pm
    This is the first of your articles that I can not read. I know it's all so true. It makes me feel so sick. All that money gone and I am worse off legally for it.Shall send that letter off today.....(I hope, you know the feeling)
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