When married men are facing a persistent martial issue, at some point they decide that it is time to take advice from a lawyer.
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Many people are under the impression that an advocate is a professional just like a doctor, and they trust that they will get the same good advice as they get from a doctor.
Nothing could be more endangering to your future than believing in this doctor-lawyer stuff. But people have actually told me this even after NOT getting good service from their advocate.
There are many more men who are searching for good, honest, professional lawyer to handle their cases since they are dissatisfied with their existing lawyer.
There are also many who have changed few lawyers already over the years in the hope that the new lawyer will give them better results but that doesn’t seem to be happening.
I won’t blame only the lawyers for the situation.
All of us have experience of dealing with doctors. I have also dealt with other professionals like chartered accountants, and I actually believe in the often repeated adage that there are bad, incompetent, corrupt people in all professions – be it software engineers, doctors, lawyers, chartered accountants, professors, whatever else. There is no guarantee of getting good service if we don’t do basic homework or are not vigilant about our rights as clients.
The type of profession will not change the basic nature of humans some of who will try to take advantage whatever profession they happen to be in. It’s not that by becoming a professor one will become a paragon of virtue and example for others. Many can testify to this having experienced professors who put no more effort than repeating same notes from their own prescribed text book year after year, and administering tests and grades seems to be their main ‘value add’.
Do Indian lawyers act as upholders of justice, or more as a cosy closed club?
On this point, the Indian advocates really leave the corrupt/black sheep of other professions far, far behind! While we can face issues from individuals in other professions, it is unique culture of Indian advocates that they indulge from time to time in collective disruption, strike, violence be it in cities of Bangalore, Ghaziabad, Meerut or Chennai. Usually every 6 months or so there is one such news. Just a quick google search returned sample of news items below all of them being from last few years:
At the same time, citizens are supposed to uphold judiciary (and lawyers) in high esteem because some manuals and codes have been written giving sermons on duties of advocates, expected ethics, high standards of behaviour and what not.
So dear friends, do you still believe that people who even though are bound by professional codes of conduct, ethics, rules of their bar association and such things but behave in above manner can be treated at par with doctors? You be the judge!
How to find a ‘good’ lawyer
So let’s get back to the practical issue of finding an individual lawyer, knowing fully well that as a group they are not exactly setting standards for others to follow.
A lawyer representing a husband (that’s you) in a matrimony related case in India will be only as good as the following:
1. How good a homework you have done in reading up basic laws of CrPC 125, DV Act, 498a arrest/acquittal rates, and doing homework to understand the System as given in main advice to men post. Many people fail at this very basic test because they expect their advocate or some men’s rights activists to do these things and just provide them with ready to digest formulas or pills which can take away the persistent headache and deliver peace! It is no wonder that the kind of formulas suggested by lawyers like send legal notice to wife, file Section 9/RCR, file divorce get them into bigger soup like DV, 498a, divorce cases filed by wife which they are totally unprepared to handle. Instead of a quick solution, they get long term cases to handle.
2. Do you have realistic expectations and not living in a fantasy land. I quote just 2 of the real life examples where the lawyer has promised a fantasy and the client has bought it all.
Father of husband facing 498a soon: “The advocate said that he can get my son divorce within 1 year”.
Husband having 498a case already: “My advocate said that if we go to high court, I can fix your situation within 3 months”.
Believing any of the above statements is in similar category of ‘investing’ money with someone who promises to double it within 6 months. Falling for “divorce within one year” lies in the same category. Even in 21st century when people have access to latest information on their finger tips, people fall for things like email prize scams, Nigerian scams and what not. There’s a saying: “there’s a sucker born every minute”. Do you want to be that sucker?
3. Do you know how good/bad your lawyer is doing for you? Basically this is about creating a feedback loop. To know this is only possible by interacting with other men facing same issues, which will let you know what to expect and if your lawyer is doing something other than usual. But that is such a no-no for many people who are hell bent on proving innocence (I call it The Innocence Project) because they believe that proving innocence is the desirable goal, when the law says that one is innocent until proven guilty. Mostly they are cracking up in the very initial stages of their cases itself because they will fall for trap called solution within 1 year or 6 months and when that doesn’t happen.
Having done all of the above, finding a lawyer is as simple as talking to a few of them and going with one who seems to understand your strategy/plan and is willing to execute it that way. Also make sure that he/she is ok with the communication and other administrative aspects as given below in Managing and Communication sections.
Managing your advocate
If one has done all of the above ground work, managing a lawyer is not difficult, and even changing a lawyer won’t be a problem. But changing of lawyers should be done only after having a defined trail of communication, and proof that your advocate is not doing the things as other people’s advocates are (read point 3 again above). If you are changing advocate every year, then probably it’s your own expectations that are unrealistic. Following are sample of unrealistic expectations:
1. Lawyer can speed up my case. Forget it. Just wake up and read the newspaper. Cases are running for decades altogether in India including Salman Khan’s black buck and hit and run/homicide case, just in case you read ‘filmy’ news. Are those cases less important than your cases? Only fast track cases can finish within 2-3 years.
2. Thinking of lawyer as a solution provider: Think of advocate more as a helper and at best a partner. Using the word professional is not very useful since many people don’t find them professional at all. Definitely don’t think of advocate as a counsellor, even though the mediator types in courts are lawyers themselves but how many of them act as if they are counselling. They are all there to satisfy the wives, and indirectly steer the husband towards the C-word.
You be the car driver, and let him/her be the navigator. People do the opposite letting lawyer doing the driving and then they wonder why he doesn’t do what they tell him to do! If the lawyer didn’t advise you on who to marry and how to run your married life, why the hell he should be advising you on what to do if your married life has run into problems? Whether you should file RCR, divorce (both not recommended in most cases), or just wait and watch; should be your choice, not based on advocate’s advice.
Many people won’t be able to digest the above. Let me give another example. If I am an insurance salesman, then it is in my interest if you buy insurance from me, then would you expect me to give you advice against buying insurance? When even doctors are found prescribing unnecessary tests which serve no value to patient, why do you expect an advocate to prescribe just the right things and nothing more than the right things?
Other points on communication and managing things
To have a defined trail of communication, it’s best that those with internet/email access keep some kind of documentary communication through emails even though for routine communication phone/SMS are being used. It leaves a good trail which can be useful to prove later if you supplied the information and instructions at appropriate times, but still the advocate didn’t take action on them.
To add more…
Myths propagated by advocates
To be written…