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Idiot's Guide to Surviving Divorce



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O U T S T A N D I N G . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Goes the extra mile for the client
  • Take pride in work
  • Shows a sense of caring for justice in the matter
  • Advises against unethical practice even though it may be legal
  • Shows sincere regard for the fact that lives are involved
  • Is willing to report judge or other lawyers who engage in serious misconduct

C O M P E T E N T . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Provides sufficient information to permit the client to make informed decisions
  • Puts clients' interests ahead of lawyer's own interest
  • Has basic working knowledge of facts and law
  • Communicates with client in easy-to-understand manner
  • Explains what's important and when things should happen in case
  • Does not let a client's relatives or other third persons interfere with representation or make decisions affecting representation, even if the third person, such as a spouse, is paying the lawyer.
  • Discloses evidence of a substantial risk of physical or sexual abuse of a child by the attorneys client

S U B S T A N D A R D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Seems more concerned in obtaining clients money or property than in defending client's rights
  • Keeps client in the dark about significant developments on the case
  • Fails to adequately explain client's rights
  • Fails to prepare client for hearing or trial
  • Acts in threatening, intimidating or bullying manner will client
  • Does not willingly cooperate in the exchange of information and documents
  • Fails to itemize bill for client or explain charges

DANGEROUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  • Signs stipulations or agreements with opposing side without getting client's approval
  • Overcharges client using deceptive billing tactics
  • Creates unnecessary or excessive litigation to illegitimately boost legal fees
  • Deceives or intentionally misleads opposing counsel or judge
  • Leads client to believe client is going to trial only to pressure client into settlement at the last minute
  • Show signs of colluding with other side
  • Conceals theft of client's property by creating a deceptive paper or transactional facade to disguise the true nature of what has occurred
  • Breaches confidentiality with client
  • Mishandles case and lies to client to cover up mistakes
  • Refuses to return unearned portion of retainer
  • Dumps client when the client's money runs out
  • Starts sexual relationship with client at the time of representation

Provided to Divorce Central Courtesy of Karen Winner, author of Divorced From Justice: The Abuse of Women and Children By Divorce Lawyers and Judges, (Regan Books/Harper Collins) and creator of the Divorced From Justice Website. If you would like to contact Karen Winner, you may e-mail her at kwinner@divorcedfromjustice.com or write to Divorced from Justice, 200 East 10th Street, #618, New York, NY 10003.

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