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Given the glut of lawyer jokes out there, and the common impression of lawyers (even the pejoratives attorneys seem to happily embrace), the thought of lawyers requiring niceties or, no kidding, a whole day dedicated to being nice to them, seems laughable. Lawyers want our money, not our compliments, right?
But behind that professional veneer, lawyers are people, too, and like the rest of us they have relationships they enjoy and those they don't. So can that enjoyment affect the quality of their work? The Huffington Post thinks so, positing that the relationship you have with your lawyer can affect your divorce case, which might be a really good reason to be nice to your divorce lawyer.
Liking Your Lawyer; Your Lawyer Liking You
It makes intuitive sense, right? We all have coworkers with whom we get along better or worse, and like working with the coworkers we like. And you're going to be working a lot with your divorce lawyer. As Christina Pesoli points out, that work becomes more difficult if you and your lawyer don't like each other:
"If your lawyer doesn't like your personality, it will affect how she feels about working on your case. Rather than looking forward to working on your case, she will have to talk herself into it. Sure, a lawyer with any degree of professionalism will still be able to get the job done; but not liking you can affect her enthusiasm for the work, and how well supported you feel during the process."
Pesoli accurately notes that the attorney-client relationship is a professional one, and need not be friendly, per se. But unlikeable clients and unlikeable attorneys aren't fun to work with for either party, and that can seep into the quality of work. So when you're looking to find a divorce lawyer, you should find a genial attorney you respect, and display those qualities yourself.
That doesn't necessarily mean flooding your lawyer with compliments -- you don't have to be bosom buddies with your divorce lawyer. Pesoli says:
"I'm not saying that you can't get a good outcome in your divorce if you don't especially care for your lawyer and/or your lawyer doesn't especially care for you. What I am saying is the whole thing will likely go better and be less painful if you do. And with so many skilled lawyers and potential clients to choose from, there's really no reason for anyone to pick someone who is not the right personality fit."
When choosing the right divorce lawyer, personal recommendations and the attorney's experience and lawyering style will matter much more than whether you want to have a beer with them. The point is to get through the divorce process in a positive way, and you'll always have time after your divorce to be pals with your lawyer. In the meantime, though, it could help to be nice enough to work with to get there.