None of us get along with everyone or each other perfectly all of the time. It simply is not possible, and if we did I’d be out of a job. Relationships are often strained during stressful times. This also happens during litigation. It sometimes also happens between me and my clients. Although I try, I’m not perfect and neither are my clients. (Nor are jurors, judges, DA’s or opposing parties and their counsel for that matter, but that’s another story.)
I had a case recently where my client and I had what you might call some fairly serious “communication breakdowns” during his civil case. I can’t go into the details, but it was pretty bad. I was very angry, and hurt by some of his accusations; he was incredibly angry and frustrated with me. But we worked through it (short of him firing me or me quitting altogether), settled on the eve of trial, and now his case is over. I was surprised yesterday to get the nicest thank you message from him, and he gave me permission to publish it. Here is what he wrote:
“I finally got my settlement money, just wanted to thank you again so much for everything & really going to battle for me even though we started out on the wrong foot.. Lol I really appreciate it all just wanted to let u know & keep up the good work your awesome! J J
Take care & God bless J”
It is particularly gratifying to transform a rocky relationship into a solid one, where everyone is happy, and even more so when you are working together on a matter involving another rocky relationship. It’s not possible all the time, I know, but I strive to make that happen in my personal life and in my practice – whether it’s between me and my clients when we don’t see eye to eye, and especially in the courtroom. A hugely important part of my job consists of transforming relationships and shifting the perceptions (and feelings) of others about those relationships and what really happened between the people in them. It is impossible for me to separate the process of being human from my work. This posting is a special “thank you” to my now-happy client for helping me keep all this in mind.