There have been several clients who have sat in the chair across from me sweating bullets. At first, I figured they were nervous about the issue we were discussing. But after I believed that I had sufficiently calmed them down, the drops continued to roll. This has happened enough times that I finally asked a client if perhaps they were ill. The response was surprising; they were nervous to meet with a lawyer. I wanted to laugh but instead assured them that I wasn’t someone to be nervous around. If you are nervous to meet with a lawyer listen up.
I’m going to speak for most lawyers … not all…as I have run across some special breeds. But in my case, this is the way it is.
I’m just like you. I have to go to work at least 5 days a week, if not 6 and sometimes 7. I work at least 8 hours a day, most of the time 10. I too have bills to pay, deadlines to meet, and people I piss off and others that I must make happy. I have faults and shortcomings too. My hair is turning gray, my health isn’t what it should be, and I wish I were 20 years younger and could “re-do” parts of my life too.
I get up every day only to face a messy house, messy children and messy days ahead. I worry about exactly the same things you do. Are my children safe? Should I sign that mortgage contract? Did I just pass a police car?
I understand daily life…I get it.
Now, I’m not going to say that I understand what it’s like to be arrested or convicted of a crime because I can’t (otherwise I couldn’t be a lawyer) but I understand what it means to be a person. I am no better and no worse than the person who sits across from me. Clients come to me for help. I do not pass judgment, I leave that up to the Court. I have seen and heard a lot. There isn’t going to be a whole lot that will surprise me.
I suppose having grown up with a father who is an attorney, I never thought to be intimidated by his profession. Of course, he was intimidating because he was my father, but underneath his suit and tie, he was “Dad”.
Being nervous is one thing, but being nervous because you are sitting with an attorney is ridiculous. I consider us a team. We need each other. It’s not a one-sided relationship with an uneven balance of power. We both deserve respect not for what we do but for who we are…people.
So the next time you walk into a law office, just remember that the attorney you are scheduled to meet is just like you doing their job to the best of their ability.