When you choose any professional, it’s just not their ability to do the work but it’s the rapport that you’re able to develop with that person. The divorce process is a very emotional process, and although all divorce attorneys are not your psychologist, they are not your counselor, you have to feel comfortable revealing certain issues that have pervaded the relationship and cropped up during the course of the litigation with the person. You have to feel comfortable that you are able to, at some point, communicate with your attorney about very important issues regarding the litigation in hand. It’s all about rapport. You need to like your attorney; you don’t have to love them, but you need to like them. You need to feel confident with their style and how they move forward with your litigation. It’s a relationship. You’re going to be involved in that relationship, at least in the state of New Jersey, on average, for at least a year. Outside of competence, there must be a rapport also.
Most people, most litigants, when they come to a lawyer’s office, they want to trust the lawyer and they’re kind of aware that it’s not a good idea to hold back pertinent information from your attorneys. It’s important on the attorney’s side to be able to ask the right question and to communicate in a manner in which your client understands, because attorneys have a way of talking and explaining things that sometimes the lay person doesn’t get. That attorney needs to be able to break things down into common parlance so that someone understands. That’s how to build trust and that’s how you develop the rapport with your client. An attorney should try to break things down into common parlance, and that sounds like a very fancy word, but just plain speak and engage with the clients in that regard.
Rosalyn Charles is a family lawyer practicing in Newark, New Jersey.