The legal system is like a huge national park. Think of it as Yosemite, or Yellowstone, or The Grand Canyon, or any other vast open space that comes to mind. As an attorney, I am your park ranger, and I have worked in this enormous, vast open space called “The Legal System” for more than twenty years. Now, do I know every square inch of this vast open space? No. No one could, but I’m more than familiar enough with it to know how to guide you from one side of it to the other.
My role as your park ranger is to help you get around The Legal System and guide you to your destination. Say you want to get to End of Litigation Lookout. I, as your park ranger, can’t tell you “the best way” to get to your destination (and anyone who says he/she can isn’t being honest with you). I can’t step into your skin and determine what’s “best” for you – the only person who can determine the “best” way to reach your destination is you.
What I can do is, tell you the options you have to reach End of Litigation Lookout. I may tell you about a direct path that gets you there faster, but this direct path is expensive and part of it leads you right in front of a cave entrance to the home of an especially mean and aggressive bear. Now, this bear is known to totally annihilate anyone who disturbs its peace and quiet. It may or may not be at home when you get there; it may or may not be hibernating; it may or may not come out at all. But if it’s home and if it comes out, there’s nothing I can do to protect you from it. I may also tell you about a less-direct route to where you want to go, which takes a lot longer but is less expensive than the direct path and goes nowhere near the bear cave (so you avoid all that risk). Which path is “best” for you? Only you can make that decision. But once made, it’s my role to guide you along whichever path you choose.
And off we go.
Can you change your chosen path after venturing into The Legal System? You bet. This happens frequently. Sometimes the path can be easily changed; other times the terrain of the originally chosen path makes changing direction a bit more challenging. And, there are times when it’s not so much a matter of changing paths as it is making a brief stop to rest and recharge in order to continue onwards. My role is to advise you of the cost and potential risks/consequences associated with the options available, let you decide how you want to proceed, and then guide you accordingly. Together, we can get you to the destination you choose.
By the way, the view from End of Litigation Lookout is amazing.
By Katrin M. Cusack, Esq.