Q: Why don’t snakes bite lawyers?
A: Professional courtesy
Q: How can you tell that a lawyer is about to lie?
A: His lips begin to move
These are some jokes about lawyers, which tend to be about their dishonesty. The difficulty for lawyers is the widespread perception that even when lawyers act as good lawyers – they display the vices of dishonesty. However, this is far from the truth. There will always be a few bad seeds but to vilify the whole profession is greatly unfair. Here are some guides to help you weed out the bad from the good.
- They Avoid Using Words like “Sure Win” & “Guarantee Success”
Some lawyers tend to use words like “Sure Win” and “Guarantee Success” because those are the words that you want to hear. There is comfort in hearing your lawyer say those words but they are more often than not, very misleading and often false. An honest lawyer avoids using these words as there is nothing certain, especially when you are dragged to Court. Furthermore, an honest lawyer will want to hear the other party first before making an assurance of a win or a success.
- They Tell You How It Is, Not What You Want to Hear
An honest lawyer will tell you what you don’t want to hear. Some matters are not legally possible, no matter how good; experienced; senior; or influential that lawyer might be. An honest lawyer may suggest possible solutions and alternatives but they never promise something can be done when it is legally impossible to do so. An honest lawyer may go further and advice you that you won’t succeed in your case. This might not be what you want to hear but you avoid the costs of going to court for a losing case.
- They Explain the Work that they Will Do
Some lawyers don’t explain in detail the work that they do is usually because they can’t justify the fees ie. they overcharge on simple matters. An honest lawyer takes the time to explain what his services encompass so that you understand the difficulty and multitude of work that your lawyer is doing for you to justify the fees of those services.
- They Avoid using Legal Jargon
An honest (and good) lawyer will be able to explain to you your matter without using legal jargons. Legal jargons are sometimes used to confuse you and make a lawyer appear smarter (than he really is).
- They Work Within the Legal Framework
An honest lawyer will never offer to bribe the police, judge or court officers. An honest lawyer will never offer to break the law for you. You might get the “result” you want but you are an accomplice to a crime. You could have succeeded by doing things within the legal framework anyway, so never ever deal with a dishonest lawyer that will win “at all costs”.
Just like in any other profession, the actions of the few hurt the many lawyers out there who take their clients burdens and help achieve their clients goals.