A couple of years ago, I spoke with a family therapist working with a mutual client. With our client’s permission, the two of us spoke about ways to support our client through a difficult family crisis. I enjoy collaborating with other professionals with complementary skills so that we can put together an effective team to serve our clients. During our discussion, we found areas where we could better serve our client and work together. We both gained insights on what we could do differently or better to help our client.
Once the substantive part of our conversation ended, we had an opportunity to visit about our practices in general. I expressed frustration that my clients sometimes resist or flat-out ignore my advice. To my surprise, my therapist colleague experienced the same frustrations with her clients. One of her tools, when confronted with that situation, is to remind her clients that the sole purpose of their relationship is that they are literally paying her for her advice and that it might be a good idea for them to take it. Genius!
I have since used that as a reminder to my clients, as well. They are hiring me to be their attorney and counselor at law. I cannot force clients to make a decision, nor can I make a critical one for them, even though some of my clients would like to hand me the keys. That’s a big no-no for lawyers who must never make critical decisions in cases for their clients. When my advice is ignored, or the client has to get the opinion of their mother, their sister, their neighbor, or our dear friend Google, I remind my clients that they are quite literally paying me for my advice. Having a support team and different opinions help, but at the end of the day, remember why you hired a lawyer in the first place. Take my advice: get your legal advice from your lawyer and follow it.