10 Things Divorce Attorneys Won’t Say: “I Don’t Have Time for You”

By Attorney Gregg Herman
July 5, 2012

Smart Money magazine recently ran an article entitled “10 Things Divorce Attorneys Won’t Say.”  So far, I’ve covered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in previous posts. Here’s #9:

“I don’t have time for you.”

The article (finally) has one correct.  Divorce lawyers (for that matter, all lawyers, I would presume) would never say this to a client.  However, the article has the reasons all wrong.

The article posits that the divorce rate is spiking and the “ranks of the legal professional” are diminishing.  First, if the divorce rate is spiking (I’m not aware of that statistic, I thought it had leveled off) with the astonishing high rate of pro se divorces, the number of lawyers representing clients is far, far down.  As a result, the competition for paying clients has substantially increased.

Second, the concept of less lawyers is really a new one to me.  With law schools churning out graduates like water, I really doubt that a lack of lawyers is a problem.

But, while the analysis is wrong, I have noticed a worrisome trend of lawyers not returning calls or performing necessary work on cases in timely basis.  Divorce lawyers, like virtually everyone else, are affected by the struggling economy.  In addition to the pro se trend, the availability of free on-line forms and free legal clinics (I remain astonished at the willingness of bar associations to provide free legal services to people who can afford to pay for them) make good paying clients scarcer.  Some lawyers seem to be taking on more clients, in an effort to compensate by volume.  Since these lawyers also have only 24 hours in the day, the result is a lack of responsiveness.

As I said for many of the other “things” in this article, this is not true of good, professional lawyers, who control their caseload to ensure that they always have time for clients.  But, for once in this series, the article has correctly identified what I see as a trend, although it gets the reasons quite wrong.

Attorney Gregg Herman is a founding partner of Loeb & Herman S.C. in Milwaukee, WI. He practices family law exclusively, and can be reached via e-mail or by calling (414) 272-5632.