Have you ever noticed that some attorneys refer to themselves as “Joe Smith, Counselor-at-law,” instead of Attorney or Attorney-at-law? And, in court, the judge and opposing attorneys refer to attorneys as “Counselor.” When you get in trouble with the law, you’re advised to seek legal counsel. And large companies have “In-house Counsel.” Do you notice a theme there?
We attorneys ARE counselors. That’s our primary job – to advise people of their rights and options, counsel them on the pros and cons of the various options, and then do the best legal job possible once the client has chosen his or her course of action.
Yet, I occasionally talk with people who want me to TELL them what to do. “The attorney I met with ten years ago – I can’t remember his name – asked me a bunch of questions and told me I needed xxxxx. Thirty minutes later I was out the door. Then four weeks later I came back in to sign the documents his paralegal put in front of me. I never even read them until about a year ago when I got sick. I figure it’s probably time to update them. So, tell me what I need.”
Or, after I’ve spent hours explaining the pros and cons of various options, the person looks at me and says, “Tell me what to do.”
No, no, no. That’s not what an attorney is supposed to do. As long as you have the mental capacity to understand what I’m explaining to you, and the ability to make a rational decision, YOU must decide what you’re going to hire me to do for you. Again, I can and will explain the consequences of different options, but ultimately the decision is yours.
You hire attorneys to give you advice and counsel, not to make your decisions for you. Step up and be an adult.
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Ready to make sure everything’s in order for your loved ones in the event you become incapacitated or die? Give Manasota Elder Law a call at 941-444-5958. We’ll help you determine whether you’re all set, or whether there are still some things that need to be done to protect what’s most important to you … your family.