The Attorneys Oath: The benefits to the client trumps financial benefits to attorney

The Attorneys Oath: The benefits to the client trumps financial benefits to attorney

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  1. Nearly all attorneys practice primarily as an occupation, one that was difficult and expensive to attain.  Despite this, all attorneys are required to take an oath of profession, and to follow certain ethical mandates regarding their dealings with clients.  While most people are familiar with the doctor’s oath of "first, do no harm," lawyers follow a similar creed. 

    In many cases, attorneys have a number of avenues available to them, each with a set of advantages and disadvantages.  When you consult with your attorney, ask questions about their opinion.  Also, don’t be shy about seeking information from independent sources.  More and more, attorneys give advice that would benefit them financially, and may benefit the client, but other, less expensive options could be available to the client,  This is the conflict that the oath, and the rules governing professional responsibility, wrestle with on a daily basis.

    Some tips to discover if you are spending money wisely following your attorney’s advice follow:

    1.  Make sure that your attorney is familiar with the area of law that your case requires.  If you are speaking to a general practitioner, ask questions about similar cases the attorney has handled in the past.

    2.  Ask someone you trust.  Get referrals from your neighbors, coworkers and friends about the best attorney to use, and find out specifically if that attorney handles the area in question.  For example, if you need a divorce lawyer, your friend may not understand and give you the name of a great tax attorney.

    3.  Call the bar.  Each state has a bar association and many maintain a list of attorneys and the areas in which they state they practice for a number of purposes, including volunteer purposes.  While your case  may not qualify for free assistance, the fact that the lawyer is offering to handle cases in that area at no or low cost speaks to a certain amount of familiarity with the subject matter. 

    4.  Get a second opinion.  The lawyer you see should charge you for a consultation, or offer a free one.  Thank the lawyer and make an appointment with another one, to see what advice they offer.

    5.  Google it.  While you must take a great deal of advice on the internet with the hugest grain of salt, some searches may, or should, end up yielding multiple, similar themes that could tell you if other options are available to you.

    6.  Legal aid.  See if you do qualify for free representation.  In many cases, the attorney you will get in this area will be very knowledgeable and has zero profit motive.

    Most lawyers are like most people, basically good and very willing to help.  Hopefully these guides will help you navigate through the system.

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