Arguably, it is every lawyer’s dream to help shape the law, not just react to it, for, the power of the law is in the uncertainty of the law. Few words encapsulate the task of a lawyer than these, and clients know this, well, perhaps a few clients have gone overboard with what they expect of their lawyers in terms of what they can do for them. what is worse, some clients use their lawyers as pawns in a game of chess, solely to their entertainment and reserved instruction. This gives rise to quite a paradoxical enigma as I find it to be. Let me explain.
Casually, clients will come in with legal issues, seek services of a lawyer and in doing so, misrepresent the facts or omit pertinent information and on this basis, they would want to go litigate civilly or be defended in criminal matters.
Litigation is an art, be it in civil or criminal disputes. As some hold, going to court is where a lawyer really becomes an actor, and the best lawyers are really theatrical.
Some clients take this too far by the way they give instructions, when and how. One could say that they think a lawyer is so stupid that they will perform to every script (instructions) given or they are so good with their art that they will make miraculous tricks with law so as to cause their clients problems to disappear. That is not the case. Not all lawyers are not all stupid or can perform magic tricks.
Clients need to understand this. It is especially important to tell the whole story and truth, without any distortion of facts or events. This really is to the clients benefit. A lawyer can only accurately theatrically assist the client when they are well abreast with the facts. Nothing but the truth.
Recently, one of my colleagues had a civil dispute, feeling so strongly about her client’s case, or more rightfully, her clients falls and distorted version, she proceeded to litigate, only to be confronted by contrary evidence which really reduces the client’s case and version to shambles. What is funny is that the client all along knew the truth, they knew what evidence the opponents had, but intentionally hid it from their own lawyer: Why? Is it because to them lawyers re that stupid and can or should only use the narrative they get from their own client to the exclusion of other facts? Or is it because a lawyer as an actor is expected to perform magic tricks to win cases for their clients, even if such clients lie, distort facts and with hold them?
I cannot imagine the embarrassment that my colleague was faced with simply because a client distorted facts and withheld important information. To what end? What should a lawyer do? Just swallow their pride, forget ethics and professionalism and just bill the client?
This goes to all clients, past and future: Attorney client privilege is very alive, use it. Confide in your lawyer, tell the truth, you can only exceptionally be assisted when your lawyer knows all the accurate facts, regardless of whether you think they will be detrimental to your case or not, it is irrelevant.
Tell the whole story, the whole truth: not all lawyers are stupid, they can only use the law to perform miracles when they know all the facts and truths.