I never remember having a deep, moral, discussion with any of the lawyers I happened to run across at school. That trend has continued as most discussions I have had with the legal fraternity over the years are about how to skirt or avoid the law as opposed to following the “letter of the law.” That’s because that’s where the business and money is and if you want to find out the driving force behind most professions, following the money is never a bad place to start!
Given this history and I assume most of you have had similar experiences with lawyers, why do people assume that they might be more honest than any other professional? Like your dentist that is always recommending fancy mouth upgrades. Or the chiropractor who has never seen a condition that can’t be “re-aligned” into shape. Most of them are in it for the money (like you are) and it is a foolish business person who doesn’t realize this.
Ergo, when dealing with a lawyer, ask them for a quote and what you will be receiving for that money. Be specific. Ask if there are any extra “disbursements” or expected charges and if so, what might they be. Get it in writing. If they seem affronted or act as if the job can’t be quoted like any other professional contract, thank them for their time and move on. You’ll be thankful you did. They were probably about to hit you up for a mediocre job and a lot of money. In the legal professional this is called “churning” a file and is very, very, common. The longer it churns, the more money they make and the poorer you become.
Better yet, try to avoid situations where you might need a lawyer. Lots of agreements (e.g. partnership agreements, wills, work contracts, etc.) can be developed without the use of a lawyer. Use common sense, simple language and make sure that everyone is aware of all the issues that might arise. Bringing a lawyer into the mix usually just generates delays and bills.
People then ask the question: What happens if you have to go to court? Isn’t a lawyer better at creating legal documents that will hold up in court? The answer to that question is “yes” of course. However, if you are creating an agreement or contract where you think a lawyer might be needed in the future, you better rethink the contract! You can neither afford nor put up with the hassle of ever going to court. Even trying to get into a court is awful and while you are there, you tend to sit a lot while the lawyers “churn” the file for every last dime. Your last dime.