by Margrit Lent Parker
Recently, at a local gathering of fellow business owners, a newcomer looking for me was given my description and told, “she doesn’t look like a lawyer.” I think I should take this as a compliment? Especially given that, in this group, we are not only business owners but also friends.
This comment has kept me thinking in the days since. What does a lawyer “look like”?
Likely, the speaker’s comment subconsciously derived from the legal profession’s negative stereotypes. This is certainly not unjustified in some circumstances.
But, I want people to look at lawyers differently. I have a vast network of attorney friends and, to a person, they are dedicated to service and to helping their clients with whatever legal predicament they face. Sure, dedicated and ethical service to clients is codified into our rules of professional conduct, but for the attorneys I know and work with, it’s not just rules. It’s who we are and what we do.
I am also reminded of a half-joking, half-serious comment from a close friend more than 10 years ago when my job focused on defending licensed professionals (lawyers, doctors, etc.) against malpractice lawsuits. This friend, who also was a dedicated licensed professional, said, “I sure hope I never have to hire you.” Because, in their mind, that meant something terrible: being sued and accused of harming a patient. Every one of my clients in those days was truly dedicated to their clients and patients and was emotionally crushed by the allegations. It was a great honor to help them navigate the circumstances they found themselves in to make it to the other side in one piece. Lawsuits happen, and at times are unavoidable. And lawyers are there to help their clients through.
But, again, I want people to look at lawyers differently. Lawyers don’t just help people through contentious legal disputes. We also help people plan for the future, be forward thinking, protect and improve the businesses that they pour their hearts into, and protect and improve the quality of life for their families. Rather than thinking of a lawyer only as someone to seek out after something has gone terribly wrong, think of a lawyer also as someone who can coach, guide, and help you build preventative measures to give peace of mind that you have measures in place to avert the far more costly legal crisis, protect your business, and protect your family.
That coaching and preventative planning is what I love doing.
What does a lawyer look like to you?
Margrit Lent Parker practices law in Firestone providing estate planning and business legal services. After over a decade of commuting to Denver, she is thrilled to now be filling a need by serving the Carbon Valley community where she lives with her husband and young son. When not helping clients, Margrit is outside with her family, whether enjoying the great outdoors or gardening at home.
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