Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Caveat Emptor! Cheap Lawyer Legal Services


In any given day I am on phone more than I am off the phone. Whether this is a good thing or not I can't really say. Should I be concerned about cell phone radiation? Or should I be more concerned about global warming or my neighbor's desire to frack? So many pressing questions and neurotic wanderings. Ithaca forces me to think about my impact on the planet!

Discounted Legal Services

As an Ithaca attorney that sells legal services sometimes (it is not often) people ask me for a discount. You've seen those internet ads, tickets for $195, DWI defense for $500, divorce for $399, and the list goes on and on.

Ah the dangers of dis-counted professional services.

I feel this is a huge problem because anytime you engage anyone for a service/a job to do there MUST be an equal footing. A give and take, as they say in latin, "quid pro quo."

Quid Pro Quo

Quite simply, "You give something and you get something." Trying or attempting to violate this law of nature (law of the universe) will lead to multiple problems. The Universal Law is called the Law of Reciprocity. Punishment for violating man-made law is one thing but the punishment/pain for violating Universal ones can be moreso. It is true in Every relationship you have.

First, if you give but do not receive you will feel resentment (re-sent-ment = feeling uneven). This will grow as the magnitude (the size) of the discrepancy enlarges. You know how you feel when someone takes and takes and then takes some more, in Yiddish (my Jewish roots) we call this person a Schnorrer. In German, a schnorrer is a freeloader, someone that pinches you for little crap over and over. What is worse is that this person feels entitled for some reason to get without giving.

Attorneys or doctors or any other professional who gives without receiving is unlikely to want to take your call, let alone return your call, or even spend anytime with you or your problem.

Second, people feel good about their relationship with anyone when they are on an equal footing. Balanced relationships mean meeting the other party's values and goals. In our personal relationships this is not usually achieved through money. In fact, it might be easier to pay then to have to sit through another fantasy chick flick where men act and think like women, just kidding. Creating and fostering a healthy professional relationship necessitates the exchange of money for service. Bartering is usually not a viable or easy option.

Dis-Counted Services

In Spanish, DES = un when before a word, as in "not counted." This is the same as in English, DIS = un, as in services which are "NOT counted" or worse yet, "NOT valued", or NOT worth as much.

I refuse to dis-count my self, my time, my experience, or the value of what I have to offer. Basically, dis- anything means to de-value. Anyone doing this is telling you loud and clear exactly how they feel about themselves and what they have to offer the world. They feel worth-less (they are selling themselves out) than they are willing to charge. The price (label) on their sleeve is cheap. With that mindset, how they value your time, the court's time, and their own time (and service) is going to be a potential problem.

Judging a Book by It's Cover

Maybe you should not judge a book by it's cover? Maybe the unshaven, unkempt, unclean, and disheveled person you hire to work on something is really a highly competent, skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced professional? Does professionalism run skin deep? If someone does not invest in their appearance, in their continuing education, and in their personal health/well being does all that speak louder than words? First impressions may not be always be accurate but they are telling.

What you see is what you get. If by some miracle you believe in Hollywood fantasy then maybe you buy into the fact that people can be and are usually incongruent. That the bum on the street is really a prince in disguise or that the child rapist is really a loving father.

Real world 101: people generally act, look, walk, and talk with congruency. They are what they are. If they are sloppy in their personal lives than it is likely they are just as sloppy in their practice lives. If they are cheating on their wives/girlfriends what makes them now selectively honest with you? If someone has their stuff together personally then it is likely they are a pretty good gamble/ bet professionally. I have run and consulted for dozens of professional practices as both Chiropractic Physician and as an Attorney. I can state with absolute certainty that Your "Practice" life usually mirrors Your "Personal" life.

Services are More than Time

The plumber comes over the house, spends five minutes checking the pipes to the radiators, takes out his wrench, makes two twists on one pipe and charges you $80.00. In 10 minutes he checked. evaluated, and fixed your problem. Was he worth $480/hour? Yes. You did not pay him for his time, you paid him for his expertise, his experience for the past 20 years, and his knowledge. Would you rather have the 15 minute digital laser root canal or the three hour manual drill root canal? Maybe you want your money's worth lol.

What a professional knows is worth far more than their time expended. A para-legal or neophyte lawyer may be able to do the job but at what skill level is questionable. What they counsel you on or about may be vitally important. What they fail to tell you or what they forget or what they just do not know can make a difference.

Do you honestly believe that you can get the for a limited time only, super discounted legal service
AND a highly qualified, experienced, and skillful advocate? If you do I have some land to sell you in the Florida Everglades (it may be under water right now) at a special dis-count.

Having it BOTH Ways

You can't have it both ways. You can't have your cake and eat it too (what that really means I will never understand). In other words, dis-count and high value and worth don't go together.

People who are true professionals with confidence, high self worth, and self esteem
DO NOT Dis-count themselves. I know what I am worth, I honor my value to my clients and to my profession. I pledge myself to provide a service that is first rate, first class, and of integrity.

Waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror is easy if you are competent, confident, and do something very well.

Caveat Emptor

When it comes to any professional service these days, Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware). Be aware of what you are buying. Be aware of who you are dealing. Be aware of what you are getting. And if for some reason you feel you can cheat the system (the universe) or anyone or anything else of their due
may G-d help you. For the scales will not be in your favor. The grand balance does not care about your
entitlements, your baggage, your personal gripes or anything else, it knows one thing, there will be a balance sometime and somewhere.


Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

The Gateway Center
Ithaca, NY 14850
607-229-5184