What should you expect from your lawyer?

There are a number of areas in which attorneys and their clients can come to disagreements. After all, in most cases, being the party in a probate, criminal or civil law suit is a high stress endeavor.

Lack of communication, doubt about the attorney’s abilities, or simply the fact that he/she is a pompous ass are only a few reasons why clients and attorneys have relationship issues. In turn, some folks have a different view of reality than the rest of us. Sometimes communication can improve this. Sometimes not.

I thought that it might help to address what types of expectations folks have of their attorney.

When you hire a physician, you expect a certain degree of expertise. However, most folks realize that, good as the doctor might be, he or she is probably not a wizard or witch. There are limits as to what the doctor can do.

The same is true with attorneys, no matter how experienced he or she is. There are various rules, procedures and laws which govern a great deal of what we do. Many of these may be seen as unfair to you. Fair or unfair, however, they must be dealt with as realities. Because they ARE realities.

Your attorney can argue the facts and the law in the light most favorable to their client. However, there are only certain reasons to suppress evidence. I can bring a motion to suppress a statement because my client is alleged to have made a statement which was not voluntary. I cannot bring a motion to suppress because the police were “rude” to him. Or make up new Constitutional Rights to allege their breaking them.

Often, a judge will order counsel to do something. It might be providing financial statements, having a client submit to a DNA test or the like. The client may not like it. I may have fought against it, but, for the most part, after the arguments are over, the judge’s ruling stands. You violate it at your own peril.

Part of why you want to retain the services of a lawyer in whom you feel confident is you will have to trust that lawyer to guide you through the system. Often, the rules of the system do not make sense to you. Maybe your lawyer will never convince you as to the reasons for the particular rules to which you are opposed. However, this is an arena where your view of what makes sense is not going to rule the day. The system has formed its present rules through many years and many changes.

“Yes, but some rules have changed. For example, there was not always the requirement for officers to read Miranda Rights.”

That’s correct. But those types of changes occur via appeals courts or supreme courts. You are not going to change the rules at the trial in most cases, nor on the way to trial. I hasten to also point out that some things that are seen as inherently wrong now that were not seen as wrong at earlier times. An example of this would be equal protection (and respect) for transgendered individuals. The timing must be right and the issue must rise to the level of Constitutional Rights.

The fact that you do not like a particular ruling a judge makes can be revisited on appeal. However, it will likely be decided on the basis of what the law currently is.

The bottom line is that if you have hired a lawyer in whom you have trust, follow the advice you are paying for…at least in terms of what the judge can and cannot do.

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