Yesterday was an emotional day for me in my law practice. A client who I have been working with for four plus years who is struggling with alcoholism is being permitted to return to nursing practice after meeting the terms/conditions for reinstatement of her license which included several months of clean UDS (urine drug screens). I almost cried because my client has struggled with a variety of issues over the years not just with the State Nursing Board. His/her case isn't nearly over but we hit a positive milestone. The nurse is about to start practicing again, the nurse is in a steady relationship, the nurse is sober and working a solid recovery program, and the nurse is expecting a nice income tax refund next week. The nurse is happy and her attorney is happy for him/her.
I also found out that a client has been lying to me consistently for 2 months. Not just a little small lie but a several large ones. Its not a shocker that clients lie to their attorneys but it still pains me because I am representing, counseling, and advising nurses based on the information provided and uncovered during the case. I remind myself its a professional relationship and its the license and case of the nurse; the case or the license doesn't belong to the attorney representing the nurse. Then I take a deep breath and remind myself why I do nurse license defense cases.
When you are an attorney you come to expect that clients, some anyway may not tell you the truth. What is the truth? My grandmother always told me there are 3 versions of the truth yours, mine, and what's left in the middle. As an attorney, I need the facts, not what you want to occur, what you wished you had done, or what you might have done in hindsight. Just the facts, baby.
Here are two actual provisions in my legal services agreement which address honest and forthright communication:
A. The attorney-client relationship is built on mutual respect and trust. Client shall be honest, upfront and forthright with Attorney. Communications between attorney and client are privileged and you are encouraged to be honest and provide attorney with an accurate representation of the facts and speak openly and candidly with Attorney even if this means you are disclosing potentially embarrassing information.
B. Attorney cannot provide Client with adequate and concise legal counseling and advising if Client lies, misrepresents the facts, or engages in deceit and deception with Attorney related to the case. Attorney will withdraw from representation if Client engages in conduct adverse to the attorney-client relationship.
That's right, I will, can, and have fired nurse clients for lying to me about important facts and information in a license defense case.
I am waiting to have my moment, when I am sitting in a conference room with a
client or a prosective client and I say tell me why you were terminated and reported to the
State Nursing Board by Always Happy and Heavenly Home & Hospice Care and the nurse tells me "You can't handle the TRUTH."
I have said it before many times on this blog. If you are going to engage in deceit, deception, and dishonesty, don't do it with your lawyer in a State Nursing Board defense or license case. I am sure you have alot of friends, family members, and peers you can lie to and keep a straight face about your legal matter. Be honest with your attorney because its your case, your license, your career, and your livelihood at stake.