Will the Lawyer Take Me as a Client?

So you’re sizing up a lawyer to assist you with your divorce. It’s your first meeting. You’ve asked about experience. You’ve taken stock of temperament. You like her approach to your problem—or you don’t.

Do you wonder what the lawyer thinks of you? Maybe not, but maybe you should.

Some lawyers practice “threshold law.” They take anyone who appears at the office threshold as a client. You want a will? You got it.  Arrested on a driving under charge? C’mon in. You want to get divorced? Let’s get started.

I said some lawyers practice this way. Most don’t. Most limit the areas of law they handle. And all lawyers have their version of the personal traits they’d like to see in a potential client.

Passing the LRT Test

For me, the would-be divorce client has to pass the LRT test—like, respect, trust.

I have to like the person. “Like” means different things to different people. To me, it means not feeling anything less than neutral about the person. I don’t have to be truly fond of someone, but I can’t dislike the person, either. If I do, the relationship just won’t work. Not good for me, not good for the client.

I have to respect the person. I don’t want to hear that someone will use the kids as pawns to get more of the pension. That’s just not respectable. I also don’t like you.

I have to trust the person. I have to have confidence that a person is being honest and open with me. Again, the relationship just won’t work—and the person can do himself or herself great damage—without trust going both ways.

So shop around. Speak with several attorneys. Size them up. Just remember that, for some lawyers, you’re being interviewed, too.

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