Hi. My name is Andrew Weltchek. I’m a partner at the law firm of Cohen, Hochman, and Allen. I’m going to tell you some secrets today.
Things I do when I’m the client. When I have been sued or I have a deal to do, I’m buying a house or some other legal action in which I need representation, the first thing is, I don’t represent myself.
The famous quote is ‘a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.’ And I do my best to sort of keep my foolery to a minimum. Also, when I am the client, I… one of the first things I say to whoever is representing me — usually people I know — is I’m gonna exercise my prerogative to be the difficult client because when I’m the client, that’s the point.
I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t have to be assured. I don’t have to be comfortable. I could be honest. I’m scared. I’m angry. I’m cheap. Whatever it is that I’m feeling in the course of being represented and given help by my colleague is what I’m going to say.
And frankly, that’s what my clients do and sometimes it drives me crazy. But it is the only way to have an effective relationship and effective representation. When I’m the client or when I’m serving the client, to be honest about what’s really going on, including the client’s feelings, whether that client is me or somebody else, is the basis for success. And, that includes saying nasty things about my opponent. When I’m the client, I’m free to be angry and blame the other lawyer for all the things that his no-good-for-nothing client is doing.
When, in fact, I am the lawyer, I understand that the other guy’s — or gal — is just doing their job. But you know what? Doing the job, if it involves hurting my interest when I’m the customer — when I’m the client — is pretty cold beer. And I am not… short beer, I think is the expression. In any case, it doesn’t work. I’m not satisfied with that. I’m free to be angry and upset because part of a lawyer’s role is to be a counselor. I used to work with a guy who said we don’t practice real estate law, we practice real estate therapy.
And I think that that is all too true. And when I am the customer, I take advantage of that. I benefit from that and I’m happy to pay for it. Thank you. Andrew Weltchek, Partner at Cohen, Hochman, and Allen.