Remembering Why Lawyers Enjoy Being Lawyers
Yesterday I went and spent a few hours manning the “Attorney for the Day” desk at the local courthouse. It is a program through the Birmingham Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Program. FYI If you are an attorney it is good program to volunteer for.
Things that struck me as I listen to people talk about their legal issues and court cases. First that I enjoy I can use my knowledge and experience to help people and Second, that I kept wondering that some of the people who say they cannot afford to hire an attorney, when in reality the question is “How can they not afford to hire an attorney?”
There were two case that stuck out. Each involved substantial amounts of money. In one a small businessman was trying to collect a substantial debt he was owed. He said that he could not afford to hire an attorney and that was why he had filed the case Pro Se. I pointed out that if he lost the case then he would not be able to recover any of the money he was owed. If he hired a collections attorney the attorney would take a percentage of the money, but that he would have a better chance in court than being Pro Se and that the attorney would help him actually collect the money once he had a judgment. I believe that he will go get an attorney to help him with this case and future cases he would have.
The Second case was a gentleman who had been trying to collect on a judgment for several years. I looked over his paperwork and it was clear that an experienced attorney would have collected the judgment within 6 months of the judgment or determined that there was no assets to recover from.
As attorneys we have to educate people on the importance of having an attorney when going into court and that the benefits usually out weigh the cost.
The Second thing that struck me was that I enjoy helping people. Many of the problems that were presented to me during that time had simple answers that I could provide. To see people relief on having a solution to their problem or being provided with a pathway to the solution of the problem reminds me why I became a lawyer. To help people, to try to provide them with a solution.
It is good to be reminded why we became lawyers.