Festering Animosity

Recently reading my Lawyers Weekly, I came upon an article about lawyers getting sued for malpractice and the steps firms are taking to consult inside counsel to determine certain ethical questions pertaining to conflict of interest. The advice, of course, was to seek outside advice but not so much as getting better advice, but for being able to protect the information under the attorney-client privilege.

People can never underestimate the power of the privilege that you have when you are talking to an attorney in a professional setting. It is secret and it is not shared with anyone so you can tell them anything and everything and that is cathartic. It is also protected if matters spiral out of control and litigation commences.

The cornerstone of the privilege is not only protection but releasing all the information and animosity so it does not fester. You can hear it out with an objective third party.

The real issue is failing to address a person’s feelings about the matter you are involved in in the case of legal services lawyers are like anyone else and often want to avoid conflict with their clients, clients are unhappy with the services provided or more likely than not the fee for that service, letting it fester, unattended is like failing to go to the doctor when you are really sick, (or in my case failing to go to the dermatologist – for over 3 years– to be evaluated for skin cancer that runs in my family – the Dr. chewed me out!!!)

I recently spent a Sunday mediating a family feud, my crude term for families that fail to address issues in the estate of a loved one and fight about the distribution of the estate. The two brothers cannot communicate and as such animosity has now grown to a level where simple issues have been compounded.

“Anger is the cousin of fear,” I read somewhere and that side of our life has to be reckoned with daily to be successful in our lives. Failing to confront our deepest feelings, fears and issues when left to fester will create a raging animosity that will grow to proportions beyond reality. It will become a demon that will devour you.

“Let it go” was a recent conclusion a client reached after discussions with our office about potential litigation against a software company. They decided not to pursue the matter with litigation even on a contingent basis – that is, they would only pay us if we were successful. They determined that “they couldn’t afford it” psychically, that is, as it pulled them away from their business.

So like those TV Commercials about the desperate people who are unhappy with their cable television provider and could have all their problems avoided if they just go with Direct TV, move on, throw the TV out the window and go for a hike in the woods!

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