There is friction in all human endeavors. In our society of laws, lawyers are the graphite that reduce that friction and enable life to go on. The client enmeshed in the legal system generally does not enjoy the process. It is expensive, time consuming and stressful. The client and the client’s lawyer, however, should have sufficient confidence in, and respect for each other so that the process is not more difficult than it needs to be. In that relationship, the lawyer must be able to honestly and objectively advise the client when to fight and when to flee, when to litigate and when to settle, when to invest in lawyering and when to cut losses and invest in something else.
After practicing civil and commercial law for 23 years in a downtown Seattle law firm, I chose to open this law practice in 2004 in an effort to add a respectful, mutually appreciative client-lawyer dimension to my decades of legal experience. I chose to open this firm in a location that offered clients the attorney experience of a downtown law practice without the traffic, parking expenses or overhead of a downtown law practice.
Although the law is a serious business, there is no reason why it cannot also be gratifying. I increase the personal satisfaction I have in my cases and in my clients by limiting the number and type of matters I will handle. I am intrigued by that which is interesting, just, challenging and new. I like legal puzzles and pulling rabbits out of hats.
Lest some misunderstand, this is not a free legal clinic. I do public service for those hardship cases and issues that move me, but it is certainly my intention to continue earning a living at the bar. My goal is to charge clients fair prices for the services they receive. I may charge more for more difficult matters or less for easier ones. I will not, however, place my own pecuniary interests ahead of the interests of the client. This is a firm where the needs of the case and client, not the lawyer’s overhead, will drive the work that is done.
Lawyers often know which levers to pull and which buttons to push to take the legal system through its paces. Nevertheless, this is a complicated and often troubled world where the legal system can sometimes be expensive, incomprehensible, frustrating and, unfortunately, painful for those who partake in it. Often the law seems to creak along in interminably frustrating circles. Thus, even when the system works smoothly, it can be trying for the client. And when the system does not work smoothly, it can be downright aggravating. Although no lawyer can guarantee any particular result, or even smooth sailing, the lawyer can, and must, maintain open and frank communication with the client in pursuit of the client’s legitimate goals, and discharge himself in accordance with the highest standards of ethics.
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