Transcending the blockages of anger, irritation, and untruth
An interesting mating dance is often done between criminal defendants and the lawyers they are considering hiring. They want to know a lawyer’s fee, the lawyer’s quality, and the lawyer’s devotion to them and their case if hired. Some feel pressure (for instance to visit a lawyer the relative has heard of) and questioning from relatives or friends, as well. My view is that a criminal defendant needs to feel comfortable with his or her lawyer, for starters, and needs a lawyer who will serve the client well. This is about the defendant, not about whether s/he will hire me; to approach the matter otherwise likely will get a lawyer fewer clients.
Along this mating dance path, I sometimes get some particularly direct questions, including:
– "I am very comfortable with you. However, I will be visiting another lawyer you have praised online, who was recommended by my friend. I was wondering what input you might have on this lawyer." I rarely get a question like this. I followed my gut, told this potential client that the other lawyer is very good, and invited the potential client to call or email me as he wished. Three days later, this person hired me. Would he have done so if my answer showed selfishness about my wanting only to be hired?
– "What is your win-loss record?" I frequently answer that success is defined in many ways, from acquittals to dismissals to great negotiations to great sentences. Sometimes I refer them to my online anecdotes about my victories.
– "You are quoting me much more money to defend me than the other lawyers I have met." Sometimes I answer that a criminal defendant for the most part only has one chance to get the best results, and I bill to give my full firepower, backed up by my support staff. I do not have pricing for less than full firepower. Some of these people hire me; some do not.
The first time I heard each of the above questions, I felt some irritation. Then I caught myself. These people are asking these questions not to irritate, but to figure out how to get themselves out of the mess they are in.
Anger and irritation are blockages that never help anyone. They are also dualistic for being reactive mechanisms rather than proactive approaches. I tell my clients and witnesses to be honest with me and on the witness stand, and underline the penalties of perjury and other blockages of being untruthful, and that nothing is more powerful than the truth. If the truth is going to harm my client’s cause, their only choice to avoid that harm is to stay off the witness stand, not to prevaricate.
To be angry or irritated and to be untruthful all are blockages to a successful and powerful life. None other than my teacher Ram Dass underlines that, through his teachers command to love everyone and to tell the truth. When we love ourselves and everyone else, we are being non-dualistic, make anger and irritation unlikely, and will tell the truth
I at least know that I am at my strongest, most persuasive, and happiest when I love everyone and answer their questions without feeling irritation nor judging the questions in the interim.