There is a temptation for us lawyers to judge other lawyers based mainly upon their technical legal ability. “She’s a good lawyer” (or not) is often heard.
What do we know?
Yes, us lawyers can judge if another lawyer has excellent legal knowledge as we are qualified to know. But what is the real test of a good lawyer? What effects do we have when dealing with a divorce or other family law issue? Should it not be our clients who have the say in whether we are a good lawyer or not, certainly their judgement is the one that matters, or is it?
Personally I find almost all family lawyers with about 5 years plus experience are at least “good” at law. But I think many are very poor at customer service and especially empathy with the client. It is easy to lose touch with what really matters to a client. The below is an extract (to keep confidentiality) from a comment by a client to our Karen Agnew-Griffith one of our top divorce lawyers:
“I just wanted to take the time to say a warm Happy Mother's Day to you. I was sitting her tonight thinking of all of the mother's that you have helped to keep them with their children.
I just wanted to say that your thoughts, actions and caring nature has touched and blessed more mother's in many ways that you could ever imagine. Thanks for being a catalyst that has brought some piece and stability to X,Y's and my life.
Your weren't just doing your job, but you went above and over to be a backbone and listening ear on many occasions. That goes beyond the description of your job. You are definitely a guardian angel for
many families and children.
Happy Mother's Day “
This sort of comment makes the job worthwhile. But none of the comment is about legalistic ability. Being a really good divorce lawyer (as lawyers would see it) is simply a given, it has to be there.
Lawyers ignore soft skills at their peril.