Archive for the ‘Attorney-Client Relations’ Category

Locking the barn doors after the horse has escaped

There are a half dozen critical moments in each family court case when having an experienced attorney is critical: motions for temporary relief; contempt actions; mediation; when trial is scheduled; trial; and when post-trial motions are due. A motion for temporary relief is often outcome determinative. The party obtaining favorable results can likely keep those […]

(Unwittingly) Coaching the children

To most people “coaching” children in the context of custody and visitation cases is telling a child to lie to the judge (or the guardian, or a mental health professional/forensic evaluator) about that party’s or the other parent’s behavior. Two classic (but overstated) examples are telling kids to lie about sexual or physical abuse in […]

Is it really better to beg forgiveness than ask permission?

Early in my career one of my most trusted mentors would counsel me when I asked her about filing a motion or complaint in the family court before having my client take an action that I thought might upset the opposing party: “it is better to beg forgiveness than ask permission”. Google that phrase and […]

Once trial starts the attorney is the director and the litigant is merely an actor

I was recently preparing for a trial with a litigant who was filled with good ideas but wanted to be the medium to express all those ideas. We had jointly developed a strategy we hoped might achieve the client’s goals. We had jointly prepared testimony outlines for all the witnesses, including his own testimony and […]

“Can I do something” is rarely the right question to ask

A common question I, and I suspect many attorneys, get asked are variations of “can I….?” A common variation of that question, almost always asked in a mock-shocked tone, is “can the opposing party/attorney…?,” “can the guardian…?,” or “can the judge…?” That variant often accompanies a story in which the possibility being considered has already […]

Real emergencies versus fake emergencies

There’s a saying that in doing work quickly, inexpensively, and accurately, you are lucky if you can achieve two of the three, but can never do all three. While obviously not an iron-clad rule, experience has shown it to be true. For myriad reasons the process of trying to rush something makes it harder and […]

Lying to your attorney makes your case more difficult and more expensive

With every contested case, I sit my client across the desk, look him or her in the eye, and give some variation on the following advice: Whatever you tell me remains confidential unless you choose to reveal it. However what you tell me guides me on what goals to pursue and what evidence to seek. […]

First you investigate

Clients, and the young attorneys I mentor, often ask me to render an opinion on their cases when their cases have just started. Specifically clients want opinions on their likelihood of achieving their goals, the length of time the case will take to complete, and the expected ultimate cost. Given that these clients are often […]