The attorney-client relationship is built on mutual trust. The seeds for trust start either by phone or with an in-person meeting and then develop and mature over time.
I have a client who has been lying to me. Not just white lies, little lies, or your average lie, but lying to the extent that the person doesn't know where the truth stops and the lies start.
I always establish and maintain boundaries with my law firm clients because being friends with a client is a NO NO because its harder to provide objective advice, unbiased counseling, and give someone the "cold hard facts" and the "low & lovely legal" when you are friends.
Nurse license defense is intense; well it is in my law firm. We work closely with our clients and over the weeks, months, or years (yes, pumpkin, years in some cases) the seeds of a friendly attorney-client relationship are planted. Some of my cases, we are working together just a few weeks or months with phone calls, several meetings, and that's it while others are weekly calls, monthly meetings, emails, and text messages. It just depends.
Also this isn't a law firm factory where we have 500 cases pending at one time and a swarm of lawyers, paralegals, and secretaries servicing a case. You call the office, you speak with the receptionists. Then there is Jack and there is LaTonia. I get to know my clients and their cases.
There are clients with nicknames like Big Lot Betty, and The Jam Lady (who is paying for her legal defense with jars of homemade strawberry jam) and others. I had a client send me a wedding present and the gift sits right next to our wedding certificate in our entryway. I receive Christmas and birthdays cards from the clients. I had one client send cookies (and this person knew I was dieting) on our 1st wedding anniversary last summer. I am a nurse and I represent nurses so it can get a little emotional or personal at times. Its the nature of the beast.
My husband asked me last week, why don't we have a pool party for your clients here this summer? I told him by the time, I had everyone sign the appropriate disclosures, waivers, disclaimers, and I had everyone essentially sign a document essentially saying "we are not here and this didn't happen" that it wouldn't be a very fun pool party. I can't imagine a pool party without alcohol and I certainly couldn't serve alcohol at a pool party with nurse license clients.
Why? Alot of my clients are in Board of Nursing Alternative Programs or have Agreements, Orders, or Contracts which require UDS and prohibit the consumption of alcohol.
Imagine, a Notice of Opportunity for a Hearing from the Ohio Nursing Board suspending the license of Nancy Nurse for violating her Consent Agreement:
NANCY NURSE in her statement to the Board indicated she attended a party given by her attorney on May 31, 2011. She consumed several fruity colorful and extremely well made beverages shaken, stirred, and/or blended by attorney. NANCY NURSE as she backed out of the driveway of attorney's home at 4am was pulled over by a police officer on a bicycle and was arrested, charged, and convicted of felony OVI in just 3 days.
Also in violation of her Consent Agreement, NANCY NURSE submitted to a UDS on June 1, 2011 and tested positive for alcohol and Tramadol. NANCY NURSE has a history of alcohol dependency. She does not have a legally valid prescription for Tramadol. NANCY NURSE states that someone at the pool party gave her a pill for a headache and NANCY took pill because in the direct sun it resembled "Ibuprofen when wet."
This is just a hypo folks. But you can see why entertaining clients sounds nice but no, pool party at LaTonia's.
I was angry. I was upset. However I was angry and upset because I was hurt. But I realized today its more than just hurt feelings or a bruised ego; its betrayed trust. This nurse betrayed my trust and it hurts.
Actually I expect lying, deception, deceit, and dishonestly in PERSONAL relationships with friends, relatives, and others because its human nature. But I guess this is where I struggle to connect human nature with the essence of nurse legal defense and counseling and advising because I do not expect my clients to lie to me; I expect this behavior in personal relationships but not professional service relationships. Yes, it happens but I don't expect it.
Why? I assume my clients want to provide me with helpful information for their defense.
You tell me but what a##wipe would:
*Intentionally lie, deceive, and/or provide inaccurate, incomplete, or otherwise untruthful;
*Materials, documents, statement, or verbal representations;
* To the nurse license defense attorney;
* Providing legal representation before a State Nursing Board;
* Counseling and advising the nurse on the implications of a complaint and the implications and consequences of The "D" (discipline);
*When the Advice, Counseling, & Representation provided by said attorney is oh so DEPENDENT on the instructions of the client?
Attorneys exist to serve the public and provide a service. The case belongs to the client. I tell my clients, its your case and its your license and I explain my role.
An attorney represents, counsels, and advises you based partyly or primarily (it depends of course) on the information you provide. You are paying the attorney for this service. Therefore, why would you lie to the person you are paying thousands of dollars for a service? Are you nuts?
If I did nurse license defense just to pay the bills then I might feel differently. But nurse license defense is more than a job to me just like practicing law in a law firm limited to nursing and nursing law issues is more than a niche to me.
I have a client who betrayed my trust and it hurts. Like anything else, this too will pass but it is what it is today. Today, my feelings are hurt and I feel a pinch in my chest today.
But because it hurts today, this lets me know that I care about my clients and their case and their license, today and tomorrow.