I get lots of calls from potential divorce and family law clients who have, for one reason or another, waited until the last minute to hire a lawyer. By last minute I mean they have waited until a week or two (or less) before an important trial or hearing before calling on me.
I’m not talking about situations where there is an emergency case filed (like emergency child custody or a request for a domestic violence protective order); here I am talking about situations that have been developing for months and the potential client calls just before something big is going to happen in his or her case.
As a naturally inquisitive person I always ask the question, “Why did you wait until now to call me?” The answers I get are all over the place. Here are just a few of the actual answers I have heard to that question:.
- “I don’t know.”
- “I thought we could work it out.”
- “I thought I could handle it and it’s, well, complicated.”
- “I just found out he/she hired a lawyer, so I guess I need one too.”
- “I don’t want to be sanctioned by the judge! What does “sanctioned” mean?”
- “I’m scared to go to court alone.”
- “I don’t want to go to jail.”
- “My _____ finally convinced me to get a lawyer.”
- “I did not have the money to hire a lawyer.”
- “I’ve been on vacation.”
- “My previous lawyer just fired me.”