For most of the public, law firms are not particularly transparent entities. They deal in complicated subject matters and use complex language to describe what they do, if they ever explain it at all.
Not so, however, with respect to the Columbia, South Carolina law firm of Pincus Family Law. Their firm website tells you exactly what they will do and what they won’t. Their critics say their to-the-point abruptness can’t be good for business. Consider the following excerpts from their website.
Under the heading “Client Expectations” the following paraphrased rules are set out:
1. They do not work weekends and they will not provide clients with a weekend emergency number;
2. They will not routinely respond to email from clients on a weekend, however, if they do on occasion respond, this is the exception and not the rule;
3. They are good at what they do but they are not perfect. They are human beings with the same frailties as their clients. If a mistake is made, they will fix it quickly, but they do not expect to be harangued or insulted by their clients for human error;
4. They will return client phone calls in the order they are received by the firm, subject to their assessment as to client priority. Calling their office three or four times a day will not change the priority assigned to a call;
5. Legal Assistants and Paralegals are available to answer clients’ questions and provide status updates and their hourly billing rates are substantially less than the firm’s lawyers;
6. Being “nice” to your spouse during the divorce process is a laudable goal, but do not expect to get any concessions or consideration from your spouse as a result of your civility;
7. In the litigation process, your spouse’s lawyer will file documents called “pleadings”. These pleadings will contain allegations that may be upsetting to you. Don’t waste your emotional energy fretting over these documents. The allegations are “standard-operating procedure” and may or may not be true;
8. Courtrooms are overbooked and often there are an insufficient number of judges to handle all the scheduled cases. Don’t blame us if we cannot obtain hearing dates as early as you or we would wish. We have no control over court scheduling;
9. Your spouse may retain counsel who are “nasty” or who procrastinate. Once again, that is not our fault. We will work within the rules to keep your case moving forward but we cannot be held responsible for your spouse’s lawyers’ personality disorder or their delay tactics;
10. In divorce and family law, nothing happens quickly. That’s just the way the system is, so be prepared.
My impression? I love it! I have never seen a family law firm that has more succinctly identified some of the major client issues that cause friction between attorney and client. Certainly, many divorce lawyers operate on the same terms, they just don’t do their clients the favour of telling them.
As award-winning journalist Roberta Baskin has noted, there is a public feeding frenzy for transparency, and Pincus Law delivers all of that. Kudos to them!
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang