Sunday, May 16, 2010

Legal Dis-services

Today on my walk around town, I encountered a man who had consulted with me a couple of times about his divorce. He and his wife had gone to mediation. He came for me to review the proposed mediated agreements. He offered to give his wife more than she ever could recover in court. She then asked for more. And he agreed to it in order to avoid the emotional wear and tear and the cost of a contested divorce. THEN she asked for even more! This time, the husband was done with making offers and hired a lawyer to handle a contested divorce-which is what the parties now have. One year now has passed. Each has spent a fortune on attorney's fees, and they still are not divorced.

A sad part of the story is that the wife was represented by an attorney who advised her to keep asking for more. The worst part of the story, however, is that the lawyer led (or misled) her to believe that she actually could get more. She now is coming to the realization that not only is she not going to get more, but she actually will get less. Much less when you factor in the attorney's fees.

There is nothing wrong with trying to maximize the client's recovery, but there is something wrong with creating false expectations.

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