Work with a Smile
When I was in law school, my mom used to send me jokes that she would find in the newspaper or online. This one was always one of my favorites:
“What is the difference between an attorney and a catfish?
One of them is a bottom-feeding scum-sucker and the other is a catfish.
Why do I start with a joke? Humor is an important part of who I am. I’ve had clients tell me I’m the only attorney that has ever made them laugh. That’s because most attorneys allow the seriousness of the work we are engaged in to affect their disposition of life. I firmly believe it is possible to handle serious, even terribly grave, situations with joie de vivre – an exuberant joy of life. That has always been my philosophy, to bring joy to everyone I come into contact with.
As a newly minted attorney, one of the first small jobs I took was for a company being billed by a big Chicago law firm. The company wanted me to look over all the legal charges, which amounted to thousands and thousands of dollars, to see if everything was legitimate. After spending several hours looking over the charges, my response was:
“Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to challenge the validity of the charges – but next time you may want to get a faster attorney.”
And it was true. None of the charges would ever be overturned in court, but wow did it take that firm a long time to write their letters and do their research. I understand that you, as a client, are entrusting me with important work. You understand that the work is only the work that an attorney can do. That does not mean that I get to hold you hostage. There are some things that take a lot of time. There are some things that don’t. My promise is that I will value your time as much as my own, which means I will be efficient and cost-effective in my representation.
Personal (and Creative) Solutions
There are jokes (some are very funny) that attorneys are simply paid to fill in the blanks. An attorney has a “form” and all he does is erase the previous client’s name and put yours in there and voila – the work is done and that will be $500.00 please! However, a good attorney understands that no two people are the same. Neither are two legal situations the same. This means that trying to fit every situation or case into the same form or blank is an erroneous approach to law (and life!).
At our first meeting, you can expect me to ask quite a few questions about you and your outlook on life. With regards to estate planning, I will ask specific questions to better understand your goals, your concerns, and your family dynamic. I will then custom tailor an approach that will suit you.