Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cortland Lawyer Application of the Law of Reciprocity

Everyone has heard the expression "you can't have it both ways." Or "you can't have your cake and eat it too," (I never really got that one). I guess if I had my cake I would naturally want to eat it?

Suffice it to say you don't ever get "something for nothing." My dad used to say, "You want to play, you gotta pay." Very easy to understand but not so easy to live with. People naturally want to get something for nothing. I have been guilty of this.

The Truth

A gift or a favor can be very expensive proposition (to YOU). I have learned that when someone gives me a gift or does me a favor it usually has a string or strings attached. Some are very apparent and some are unspoken rules of convention. Say you accept a dinner then you are "obligated" to reciprocate. If you accept a favor, even a small one, like a ride to the airport, then a phone call requesting your presence at a birthday or any occasion is hard to turn down. This party will likely obligate a gift as well and your time and maybe the time of your spouse for hours.

You may think me cold but I am a realist. Life is short. I want to spend mine (my time and attention) on things that are important to me not to you (unless you are my client/my family).

Reciprocity and Law

How does the law of reciprocity apply to man made law?

You will always have to pay for something one way or another. You want the best legal defense or case outcome, it will not be free or cheap. Inexpensive, low cost, and free may apply to something but it does not feel right when referring to any type of professional services. If you want an inexpensive or free doctor, lawyer, financial advisor, or accountant be my guest. It is after all your prerogative.

TIME is Money

People call me and some want free legal advice. This is not always a consultation, they want me to specifically tell them what to do (act as their attorney) or they want me to tell them if their current lawyer is doing their job properly (not a good sign). Everyone has a limited (finite) amount of time. If I spend my time with 100 clients or patients, what level of care can I give them versus spending my time with 50 or with 25? The easy answer is less time with more people or more time and attention to fewer people.

The Rule of the "One and the Many"

At some point in everyone's practices (as professionals) they will make a decision which type of provider of service they want to be. The big question: Do they want to be: One for the masses or one for the few?

This may be a gradual transition or a pivotal moment in their careers. The same mentality decides whether they wish to be with one person for the rest of their lives or with a great many partners. Neither is better just different. The person who can give 100% of themselves to one person is going to have a different relationship with that person than someone who divides their attention, time, and energy amongst a dozen people.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850