The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth!
I absolutely love the oath administered in court to a witness. Think for a minute with me about what the above oath implies. First and foremost, this oath requires that the account given by the witness will be correct and accurate. Second, that it will be a complete account. And finally, that there will not be any “historical fiction” testified to. However, there is still plenty of room left in this oath for the witness’ own subjectivity and personal observation of the facts. For example, if it appeared to the witness that the car raced past the pedestrian in the parking lot, the witness can testify to that. On the other hand, if it appeared to the witness that the car was barely moving in reverse when it bumped into the bicycle—traveling behind the parking space the car had been parked in, then the witness can testify to that. Without a properly calibrated radar gun, we really don’t know, objectively speaking, how fast either car was moving. But in each case, we have a witness truthfully testifying to what that witness observed.
Now, I’m not trotting out this discussion for the purpose of preparing you for testimony at deposition, arbitration or trial. Instead, I want you, the consumer and client, or if you are another attorney—then you as the professional—to think about the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as to the role and value of the attorney and the attorney’s services to the consumer and client.
I was recently named again as one of Jacksonville’s top lawyers in the area of Business Law, based primarily on my “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell for professional skill and ethics. Before I get carried away, let me say that there were many other top lawyers on that list in the business law and other areas listed. Also, I am not board certified by The Florida Bar or any other organization as having demonstrated special skills or expertise in the field of business law, and in fact I spend as much time working in the areas of estate planning, elder law, and local government law and taxation, as I do on business representations. However, I am a legal problem solver as an attorney, and that’s the point I would make to consumers and members of the bar, alike. The attorney’s true role and value is to solve problems more effectively and efficiently than would otherwise be the case. Now the devil is in the details, and problem solving to a litigation attorney, may look like bad faith litigation brought for the purposes of harassment to the consumer on the other end.
While I’ve sued and defended my fair share over the years, fortunately I am usually in the position of helping others avoid litigation and unnecessary civil and other court procedures, via agreements, settlements, organizational structures, estate plans, and other positive practice areas in which the trier of fact, at the end of the day, is not compelled to turn to one side and say “You lose, you owed the other side $_______ much!” There’s an old saying about litigators that every tool in their legal tool box looks like a lawsuit. Well, I can assure you that as much as litigation or other formal court proceedings are necessary to solve some legal problems, in many cases good lawyering and legal problem solving involve avoiding litigation and court procedures, and instead choosing other less expensive and time consuming avenues.
I want to challenge my own consumer clients to hold me to standard of cost-effective problem solving for their own unique needs, whether I am representing you on a trust matter, a probate, an estate plan, an elder law matter, a business deal, a local government representation, a conflict with another party, or whatever your particular matter may concern.
Don’t be the victim of one size fits all lawyering. Know your legal rights and options, and work with an effective licensed and trained legal problem solver on your team.