10 Things Divorce Attorneys Won’t Say: “I’m Dragging My Feet”

By Attorney Gregg Herman
July 6, 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, 8 and 9 in previous posts. Here’s #10:

“I’m dragging my feet.” 

Well, of course lawyers will never say that to clients.  But, the question is whether lawyers actually do that.

The statistics in the article that divorces involving lawyers take longer to resolve than those without does not answer the question.  Of course they take longer.  Many divorces, probably the overwhelming majority in Milwaukee for example, involve no property and little income.  Lawyers are totally unnecessary as all the people need to do is fill out forms.  For these people, the Milwaukee Justice Center and similar clinics are invaluable (the MJC, by the way, does means testing of potential clients, which all clinics should do so they are helping people who truly need pro bono services).    The people who hire lawyers have property and/or income so of course those cases take longer.

The popular myth is that lawyer’s drag out cases to increase their fees.  While I’m sure that this does happen on occasion, the myth is far over blown.  In my practice, it is far, far more common for lawyers to discuss with me ways to shorten the proceedings and save the parties money than the opposite.

As I’ve stated throughout this series, there are unprofessional lawyers, just as their are unprofessional doctors, accountants and every other occupation.  Fortunately, in real life they are rare.  This article, like most news stories, treats the rarity as the norm.  After all, the norm does not sell magazines.  But, it also does no service to its readers.  To summarize my response to most of the ten “things” in this article:  Most divorce lawyers are highly professional.  As such, they don’t say these things to clients because they are simply not true.

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.