When hiring a lawyer, should you try to hire the best liar? Is our system built so that the best liar wins? What about movies, and other things in our media that suggest that all lawyers are liars?
Here are some truths about lawyers, liars, and the legal system.
1. Our Legal System is built on the Truth
A foundational piece of our system is that everyone is supposed to tell the Truth.
Everyone has heard the oath that witnesses take – “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”
But for lawyers, it goes beyond that. Lawyers are “Officers of the Court.” Ever wonder why the lawyers don’t take the oath at the beginning of a case? It’s because as an Officer of the Court, a lawyer is expected to tell the Truth at all times. Lawyers are always under oath.
2. Television and Movies are Wrong
Anyone with common sense understands that TV shows and movies are made to entertain – not to depict the legal system with accuracy. You do not get from the beginning to the end of a case in 30 minutes. More importantly, the system is not designed to be a contest between liars.
Lawyers are not supposed to lie. Lawyers are not supposed to encourage their clients to lie. Lawyers are not supposed to allow their clients to lie. These concepts are inherent in our Legal System.
3. So what about Lawyers that Lie
Even though lawyers are supposed to tell the Truth 100% of the time, there are lawyers that lie. That is a sad reality.
If your lawyer lies for you, she is a liar. If your lawyer encourages you to lie, he is a liar. If your lawyer knowingly allows you to lie, he or she is a liar.
And one simple Truth is this: Liars Lie.
4. Anyone that Lies for you will Lie to you.
If you are in court, and you hear your lawyer tell the opposing counsel something that he or she knows is not true, your lawyer is a liar. If you are at a hearing and your lawyer tells the Judge something that you know your lawyer knows is false, your lawyer is a liar. If you are in mediation and your attorney intentionally misrepresents something to the mediator, you have a liar for a lawyer.
And anyone that lies for you will lie to you.
If your lawyer is lying for you in court, is he or she telling you the Truth on the billing statements?
If your lawyer lies for you in negotiations with opposing counsel, is he being honest with you when he tells you what went on in the Judge's Chambers, while you were waiting in the courtroom?
If your lawyer will lie to the Mediator, is she being truthful with you when she tells you what is happening in your case, behind the scenes?
5. Any Lawyer that Allows or Encourages Lies is a Liar
Not only is a lawyer not supposed to lie, but a lawyer is also not supposed to knowingly allow his or her client to lie.
Since a lawyer cannot properly allow a client to lie, then it should go without saying that a lawyer should never encourage a client to lie.
If your lawyer allows you to lie in court, asks you questions in testimony to help you lie in court, or ever encourages you to lie, he or she is unethical, and a liar.
And once you find out your lawyer is a liar, see the rule above – liars lie.
In Divorce and Custody cases, you are trusting your lawyer with your life, and the lives of your children. You are always trusting your lawyer with your money.
As a part of that, you are trusting your lawyer to do the things that he or she is telling you they are doing. You are trusting your lawyer to tell you the Truth about what is happening in the case and behind the scenes. And you are trusting your lawyer to be honest in his or her billing practices.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the best liar wins and trying to find the best liar. Or else don’t be surprised when you find out the things that you have been told by the liar are not true either.
If you determine that your lawyer or a lawyer that you are considering hiring is a liar, find another lawyer. Your life to too important not to.