Are lawyers mercenaries?
Webster defines mercenary as “one that serves merely for wages; especially a solider hired into foreign service.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mercenary
In the context of lawyers, we are hired and paid a wage. We fight for whichever side pays us first. It doesn’t really matter which side. We fight for that side regardless of right or wrong. Does that sound right?
Sometimes it seems like lawyers are just arguing for argument’s sake. Sometimes lawyers argue for position A and against position B, and then hours later argue the opposite.
Does that sound like a mercenary? Perhaps. Let me try and convince you otherwise.
Position A may be right in one case with a particular set of facts, it may be wrong in another case with very similar facts, but key differences. For example, let’s consider two “normal” custody cases:
Hypothetical Smith vs Smith: mom and dad are both caring, loving parents. They have a 10 year-old honor roll student with no behavioral concerns. The child does homework without problems wherever he may be and without much assistance from his parents. Say I represent dad; I would argue very strongly that mom and dad should have equal time with their child, perhaps week to week.
Hypothetical Williams vs Williams: mom and dad are both caring, loving parents. They have a 10 year-old honor roll student with no behavioral concerns. The child needs focused help to do his homework, and mom has historically been the parent providing this focused time. Say I represent mom; this time I would argue that dad should be limited to visitation during weekends.
So, these cases might seem identical from the outside looking in. It might appear that I have flipped my position because I represent mom in the Williams case and dad in the Smith case. Sounds like I am a mercenary arguing for whichever side I happen to have been paid by. But that’s not fair. The Williams child has a certain need that I have to fight for. The child’s needs changes my “mercenary” point of view.
Here is the point: every case is different. I can honestly say, in my ten years of practice, I have never had two identical cases. I have had “routine” cases that fit a certain mold, but even they have nuances that need special attention and particular arguments. So, I can’t worry about some position I took on a different case. I am not a mercenary fighting for whomever has hired me. I am a lawyer fighting for each and every client.
That said, there are positions that I will not (absent special circumstances) deviate from, like a mercenary might. For example, under the category of child support, it is discretionary for the court to make the paying parent cover a portion of extracurricular expenses. I have seen mercenary lawyers totally flip-flop on this issue. I do not. I think both parents should support their children’s extracurricular activity, both emotionally and financially. So, if a chid wants to play tee-ball and there is no reason why he or she shouldn’t, I advise my clients (mom or dad) that both sides have to pay for tee-ball.
That is just a small example to illustrate my personality. I am no mercenary. I fight for my clients, but I fight for what is right. I will never argue a position contrary to the law. I will never arbitrarily flip-flop a legal position. But most importantly, I will learn my client’s particular circumstances and argue their case forcefully and appropriately.
If you want a lawyer that cares about your needs and your position, call the Jones Law Firm at (318) 442-1515 or use our contact form. I look forward to meeting you and representing you. Until then, be safe and God bless.