What is zealous advocacy?
I come from a family of attorneys and judges, so the study of law is something I grew up appreciating. I believe in defending the Constitution and zealously advocating for my clients.
Sometimes clients misunderstand what zealous advocacy means. It does not mean we do anything the client wants. It means we apply the law to the facts of a case and advise based on our understanding of that application. The feelings a client has about his or her case add to the facts of the case, so they are always being considered. Difficult decisions may need to be made based on this application, and attorneys cannot eliminate those difficult decisions from having to be made. I believe this is where the attorney-client relationship can break down.
When I have a client communicate a lack of trust, we either have to find a way to build that trust or part ways. Parting ways would then be in the best interests of the client, and zealous advocacy would require the tough decision to end the relationship. For example, I had a criminal client one time who had such an innate distrust of my advice that he wanted to do the opposite of whatever I was advising. That is the worst situation to be in as an attorney, knowing you are giving sound advice and your client insists on doing the opposite. I immediately requested a withdrawal before he destroyed his case or any hope of a good defense.
On the other hand, this can happen every so often in family law cases because of money, children, or the strong feelings involved. My main rule in family law is not to take a potential client who only wants to hurt the other party. That's not my purpose.
This is important to communicate to potential clients because I want anyone who calls my office to know we are in the business of collecting facts, applying the law, advising our clients the best way possible, and then doing the work. If we can agree to work together on completing those tasks, we're good!