When Do I Need a Lawyer ?

Having done over 1500 mediations, I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of lawyers. With few exceptions I have found them to be men and women of integrity, well intentioned and skillful.

Hiring a lawyer, which I personally have done many times, is sometimes the smartest thing one can do, in a given situation. Let’s take a look at what lawyers are trained to do, how they think, and when their skills can best be utilized.

Combat Specialists

Lawyers work in an atmosphere of combat. They are perceived and act as surrogate champions. That is, they are hired to stand in for a client who does not have the experience, knowledge & skill to stand up to a legal onslaught.

Lawyers talk in terms of death and winner – take – all.

Here are examples of the language that I hear from them. “I killed him in that trial. I am going to wipe her out on the witness stand. I murdered him in front of the judge.”

Parties Are Usually Mad

When people get into a lawsuit, they almost always get mad. They are angry at the perceived wrongs of the other party or they are mad at being attacked and fearful of what losing in the strange world of the court system may cost them.

Add to that the element of greed that sometimes comes into play (suing big Insurance Companies & hospitals for example) and we occasionally (more…)

Who Owes The Credit Card?


Dolly Defendant came to the mediation with her attorney whom we shall call Larry Lawyer.

Hazel Brown  represented Debt Buyer, L.L.C.

The case appeared to be routine – a person who had experienced some hard times and gotten behind on her credit card,  so I moved  through my opening statement  quickly.


Dolly had a credit card, in her name only, to which her husband had charged some of their business items, with her knowledge and permission. They subsequently got a divorce with the agreement and court order  that he would  take this debt after the divorce.

As the years went by, he became affluent and she took a job as an administrative assistant in a dental office and was the primary provider for their three children. He paid on the card after the divorce for some time but quit paying at the time when a $3000 balance remained.

The balance,  growing at 24.9 % (more…)