Our clients call upon us in doubtful, difficult and sometimes dangerous situations. Clients do not seek us out as law professors, legal arbiters or lawgivers. They come to us for guidance and strength - to help protect them from harm and to prevent further harm.
We all have our own battlefields in life, and our clients provide us the privilege to help them with their own particular legal challenges. Estate and trust litigation attorneys practice on the frontlines of acrimonious elements of the law. Emotions run high and there is often much at stake. It is easy to let the heat of conflict remove us from the better angels of our nature. While this is an understandable detour - it is still a detour. We do the best for our clients and ourselves when we do not swerve from the truth. It is worth the effort to keep in mind that the best results of difficult legal disputes often rest on settlements derived from a potent mix of justice and mercy.
When clients or prospective clients call us, our first job is to listen. It is easy to want to impress - to show our knowledge of the law - to tell war stories. I know this - it is one of my shortcomings. Shortcomings aside, it is more satisfying and helpful to listen - to listen to a fellow human being who suffers like we all do. Remember that most prospective clients do not relish their first calls with lawyers. Such calls probably parallel our desire to sit in a dentist's chair - we do it for our health, not for our enjoyment.
An underlying principle in any client or prospective client discussion is the need for kindness. I've served a few thousand clients over my 40 years of law practice. My fondest memories of service are those attorney-client relationships where I was able to share kindness. Traveling the country and throughout Northern California and Los Angeles - spending time and looking into the faces of and listening to uncounted stories of hardship - has been one of my life's great blessings.
We represented over one thousand people with diet drug injuries as well as several hundred people injured by new on-the-market diabetic drugs. We helped families with loved ones, men and women with pharmaceutical induced fatal diseases, and others with lesser but still substantial injuries. We had clients in 31 states, and I had the privilege of visiting many of these clients in their homes.
I felt honored that people trusted me enough to allow a home visit. My clients' homes ranged from extravagant oceanfront condominiums to modest apartments in Harlem. I visited clients at their farms, ranches, bungalows, mobile homes, big city apartments and small village ramshackle dwellings across America. My clients were from all races, creeds and colors. Amidst this great mix of people, the need for kindness continually stood out. Families grieving their loved ones, seriously ill people grieving their health and impending separation from their families, and people just afraid about the future made me aware that we all share similar journeys - and share them best when we work to help each other.
Good counsel for our clients is something that all lawyers - young or old - should aspire to. My belief that I share with you is that this effort is strengthened by kindness and empathy. We are ultimately on the same voyage, and those that seek us out are worthy of our respect and appreciation. When we help people that don't look like us, don't talk like us and that have weaknesses different from ours - remember that our weaknesses are only different in kind. Our respect and appreciation for clients sets the foundation for good counsel - vigorous representation and the pursuit of excellence should then naturally follow.
If you are seeking good counsel in trust and estate litigation in the Los Angeles area, we'll be happy to speak with you about your case. Call us at Hackard Law: 916-313-3030.