IMG_1907 I was recently afforded the opportunity and privilege to speak on attorney Audrey Thomas’s radio show, The Empowerment Hour, which airs every Wednesday night at 11 p.m. est. on 93.5 F.M..  During the show we discussed the benefits of attorney objectivity in emotional litigation.  This discussion ensued as a byproduct of that evening’s theme:  “What They Say Isn’t Nearly As Important As What You Believe.”  It was prompted by the famous quote “A Man Who Represents Himself Has a Fool For a Client.”  On the show, I vehemently agreed with that statement, and believe that the statement is especially true in the family and criminal law sectors.   As a family law practitioner, I find that one of the most challenging tasks is managing the emotions of my clients.  While I wholeheartedly respect and appreciate the emotional dynamics of my clients, I am required to act as an objective party who thinks logically and rationally. 

Essentially, attorneys are hired to ensure that the best legal interests of their clients are being served.  However, often times a client’s best legal interest is contradictory to their driving emotions.  This begs the question why.  The simplest of answers: because emotion impairs logical and rational thinking (the type of thinking, in my opinion, is necessary to strategically litigate a case). 

In fact scientific research supports the contention that after an emotionally provoking event occurs, it causes a collection of physiological changes.[i] Setting off an anatomical series of signals from the body to the sensory regions of the brain[ii] that in turn causes an emotion or feeling to be produced.[iii]  When the sensory regions of the brain are being activated, the brain thinks its well-being is being threatened and goes into survival mode where reason and logic may be impaired.[iv] 

 Unequivocally then, where an emotional event such as a pending divorce or criminal arrest has occurred, I would conclude that the statement “A Man Whom Represents Himself Has a Fool For a Client” is true since the provoking emotional event is likely to impair his logical and rational thinking.  Returning full circle to the purpose of this article, in my opinion, your attorney is a necessary player in any emotional litigation such as divorce or criminal arrest.  I believe this is an accurate statement not only because of the attorney’s professional training and experience, but also because the attorney is an objective third-party capable of thinking logically and rationally.  

 

Disclaimer:  Nothing contained in this article is meant to constitute as formal legal advice.  Any statements or assertions contained in this article are merely opinions of the author and are not intended to suggest that representation of counsel in any litigation guarantees a successful outcome.

 

 



[i] Pierre Philippot & Robert S. Feldman, The Regulation of Emotions 6-8 (2004).   

[ii]Id.

[iii]Id.

[iv]Janet Weinstein, I Know Better Than That: The Role of Emotions and The Brain in Family Law Disputes, 7 J.L. & Fam. Stud. 351, 364-65 (2005).