Two common missteps lawyers and clients sometimes make are undue intimacy and a loose leash.
Sometimes friendships and even romances develop between lawyers and clients. Many lawyers form close personal friendships with former clients. However, because of the intense emotional nature of a divorce, lawyers and clients should defer a social relationship at least until the judge brings down the gavel for the last time.
Obviously, romantic relationships compromise a lawyer’s objectivity and elevate a client’s expectations. Plainly a divorce lawyer and a client should never have a sexual relationship during the case.
The second misstep can follow the first misstep. In divorce, or any other legal affair, the lawyer is the employee of the client. The client hires the lawyer, and can fire the lawyer. Many lawyers know stories about divorcing spouses who started their divorce with fairly good, non-confrontational attitudes. Each hired a lawyer to assist them in the orderly dissolution of their marriage; then, to their great dismay and chagrin, a year later the spouses hate each other, they hate their own and each other’s lawyers and they are financially devastated and no closer to the end of their marriage.
More than likely, the divorcing spouses marched into this cul de sac because they lost control of their lawyers, who each became more and more confrontational and more and more adversarial in hopes of a better settlement (perhaps). In a divorce, a client who turns his or her lawyer loose invites disaster. By the time the spouses reach this impasse the waters are so muddied that movement becomes almost impossible. In a divorce, even a good lawyer should always be kept on a tight leash.