In THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast, we featured Eda Rosa, LLC a Ft. Lauderdale legal professional who has a concierge paralegal service for attorneys, has her own podcast, Let’s Talk Legal, and is an author of two books that support honesty and ethics in legal services.
Honesty and Ethics should be the cornerstone of law, and the veil under which lawyers, paralegals, mediators, and Judges operate. But is it? You know the answer: No.
A few unethical legal professionals really spoil the brand for those who want to perform in the most ethical and honest way possible. Why is that? Why do some legal professionals who unethical behavior: Money and Ego. Money, because there’s so much of it swimming around attorneys in many areas of law too tempting for attorneys who use money as their prize, their goal in being attorneys. And ego, because many people who become litigators have a certain type of personality that values winning above all else. Their focus is more on their win/lose record than on justice, honesty, and truth.
Government is also a place where money and power dictate behavior. Any environment that is theoretically based on justice, honesty and ethics, and money is part of the environment, human nature takes over, and human nature is imperfect. Yet when people need the services of legal and government professionals, the client’s relationship to honesty and ethics comes into play, too.
The role of a paralegal in a law firm is to support their assigned attorney in doing legal research for a case, sharing their views on how to argue a case, interfacing with clients other than giving legal advice, and hopefully, setting a moral tone for how to argue a case. The moral fiber of a paralegal is tested if they are pared with attorney who needs ethics training. The question for a paralegal is always whether to accept unethical behavior from their supervising attorney. Paralegals will be tested, too, with attorney and client directives that may not adhere to the principles of ethics and honesty.
Attorneys cannot and should not do unethical things like file frivolous motions and request frivolous hearings if their clients request this type of approach to wear the other side down. This ties up the court’s time unnecessarily, preventing others who have actual needs of the court’s time to have to wait to be heard; and frivolous filings turns the case into a battle of money and bad behavior, which has nothing to do with the reason why a case has been filed in the first place: To resolve a problematic situation legally.
This whole philosophy of “fighting” and what that means in the real world, starts in law school. I have had attorneys tell me that there are classes that teach future attorneys how to “act” in court in order to influence a jury and the Judge. Judges are people, too, and can be unconsciously influenced, shall we say, by the posturing of attorneys rather than rule just based on the facts and legal arguments presented.
Humanity and Law, are the two compatible? Doesn’t feel like it at times. Consider the rulings of Judges, and the arguments of attorneys in child custody cases. Clients are strangers to both when initiating a family law case. It may take an attorney a while to figure out where the truth is in their client’s rendition of who gets Billy. And the Judges are hard put to really understand the reality of who’s behaving badly and is an unfit parent with the limited time they get to see the parties and listen to two different versions of the case. I’ve read rulings from Judges that are shocking beyond words and that end up damaging the child. Judges are dependent on attorneys presenting the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
This is why it’s incumbent upon attorneys to only do what is right, and perhaps say “no” to their clients when asked to make arguments that either stretch the truth or fall short of the truth. While it is true that the client gets to make the final decisions in what is said in court by their attorneys, attorneys are not obligated to follow their clients’ requests to lie, manipulate the court system, or in any way misrepresent the truth and reality.
There are options in choosing people in the legal field to work with you if you’re seeking legal help, either in filing, arguing a case, or in mediating. If people can talk to one another in order to work out a divorce settlement, you can use legal document preparation people to file, and mediators can be used to work out settlement terms. There are some states who have Paraprofessionals, people who aren’t attorneys but licensed to be able to give legal advice and go to court with you. There are online filing services – not the best option because they can’t or don’t give you detailed information to be able to file without getting documents rejected. And lastly there are self-help centers at courthouses who can provide minimal guidance in terms of what forms to file for a family law case, for instance.
Regardless of the legal professionals chosen to assist in a case, honesty and ethics must prevail in order for justice to be served. It’s incumbent on the clients and the legal professionals to demand nothing more than the best moral, honest and ethical behavior of themselves and the legal system.
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Biography of Eda Rosa
Eda Rosa accrued 19 years of professional excellence in the legal profession. Early in her career she was a full-time paralegal for law firms across Florida’s tri-county area. She has gained valuable experience supporting attorneys nationwide by efficiently managing the caseload process, delivering a trustworthy product with supporting legal research and enhancing client relations. Additionally, Rosa gained practical knowledge in foreclosure/real estate law, personal injury, legal research, title work, and business/corporate law.
Eda Rosa, LLC. Is a concierge service providing legal support to law firms.
et’s Talk Legal and Behind the Oath-Experiences of Paralegals are Rosa’s two books.
Let’s Talk Legal is also the name of Eda’s podcast.