Remember the saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”? This is one truism that applies to any lawyer that promises you a sure-fire outcome. A good lawyer should not guarantee you a definite result, no matter how likely same is. A good lawyer should discuss with you what outcome is likely, and what factors may influence the chance of arriving at that outcome. Below are some further examples of what a good lawyer should not do.
- A good lawyer cannot force, compel or otherwise control the actions of third parties.
This means we cannot make someone engage in negotiations, respond to correspondence, provide disclosure of documents, and so forth.
But, if a third party fails or refuses to ‘play ball’, we can initiate legal proceedings and obtain Court orders on your behalf.
Thereafter, there may be consequences if someone fails to engage in the legal process, fails to provide disclosure, or ignores Court orders.
- A good lawyer cannot control the scheduling of matters in Court.
We appreciate that the delay with getting your matter before the Court on the first occasion, between Court dates, obtaining a trial listing and return of judgment can often be frustrating, and we will always look for opportunities to negotiate an outcome during the litigation process. But ultimately, timeframes are dictated by the Courts, which have finite resources and large caseloads.
- While a good lawyer can think ‘outside of the box’ to try to find practical solutions to your legal dilemmas, we cannot act outside of already existing legal structures and processes.
We appreciate that this can be frustrating, and that our clients may not always agree with what the law says or how it applies to their matter. However, it is the legislature’s job to consider changes to legislation, not a lawyer’s.
- A good lawyer cannot always follow every lead, unless there is concrete evidence to point us in the right direction, as we are not investigators.
This is a common conundrum in family law property settlement matters, where some of our clients have been of the view that their former spouse is hiding assets. While we can issue subpoenas to produce documents (for example, asking a bank to produce bank statements for any account held in the name of X), we cannot subpoena every bank in Australia (let alone the whole world where there is a possible international element involved).
We need some indication of which bank is holding the money before we can consider issuing a subpoena. There are evidential rules in place which prevent what is known as ‘fishing expeditions’, including the issue of significant numbers of subpoenas without good justification for why same is necessary.
As a side note, did you know that we can engage investigators to assist us with your matter? In practice, this is rare, and understandably an investigator will charge for their services.
- Particularly in parenting matters, a good lawyer cannot monitor the other party’s compliance with Court Orders. In such circumstances, it is our client’s responsibility to monitor compliance and then seek our advice if the other side has not abided by the Orders.
Where there is a breach of Orders, we may advise you that a Contravention Application should be filed with the Court, as the Court (just like lawyers) does not have the ability to monitor parties’ compliance with Court Orders and instead relies on a party alerting them to breaches.
- A good lawyer should not be the decision maker in your matter; you should remain ‘in the driver’s seat’.
A lawyer’s job is to equip you with an understanding of the options available to you, the risks and benefits of each option, so that you can make an informed decision about how to progress your matter. After all, it is you that has to live with the outcome, not the lawyer, and while you can tell a lawyer your priorities and motivations, it is not the same as having first-hand insight into those factors and how they should weigh in the decision-making process.
At Lindbloms Lawyers we have experienced lawyers who can help you achieve the outcome you desire. Call Lindbloms Lawyers on (08) 8357 7611 to make an appointment today.