Attorneys rarely forget that they have a role in serving as a legal advocate for their clients. As legal advocates, lawyers file pleadings, issue and respond to discovery and show up to a court to advocate for their clients. Lawyers who litigate rarely forget these obligations.
But lawyers often forget that they also serve in a counselor role. The counselor role is on the law license of almost every lawyer. Law degrees specifically refer to lawyers as an “attorney and counselor at law.”
With the COVID-19 crisis, the role of a lawyer as a counselor could not be more critical. The role of a counselor is not merely for a psychologist, counselor or therapist. Lawyers also serve as a counselor in terms of listening, reassuring, guiding and advising clients.
Many lawyers in this current crisis are unsure of what they are going to do to aid their clients. With many courts effectively closed in many respects, many lawyers are struggling to see their role. They might worry about how they can help clients. They might worry about whether they can really can or should take on new cases when it can be hard to have matters heard right now.
However, the reality is that lawyers can still serve an essential role as a counselor of law. In many respects, lawyers can still guide and aid their clients in terms of advising them about how they should act and behave to ensure that their legal interests are protected. By advising clients during this crisis, many clients can feel well knowing that they will be in the best possible position once the courts fully re-open.
Ultimately, most clients and potential clients still have the same legal problems they had before. These legal problems did not just go away with the COVID-19 pandemic. What many clients and potential clients need right now is an ear. They might need to know their options. It can also help many clients and potential clients to know that once the courts fully re-open, that they have a lawyer in their corner who is prepared to take appropriate action.
Many lawyers right now are in disbelief — wondering how they are going to keep their law firm afloat in the present crisis. They might not see how they can make it. They might even take out a small business administration loan to keep their law firm afloat. Ultimately, that or may not end up being a good idea based on the circumstances of the lawyer or law firm.
But for many lawyers, they ought to take their role as a counselor of law seriously. If they make their role as a counselor of law a greater priority, these lawyers can still help many clients and stay plenty busy.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.