ZOMBIE SIGHTINGS IN DOWNTOWN DENVER!
In a recent blogpost, I had a link to an adverstisement for an insurance company selling coverage for retirees interested in buying protection against robot attacks. . . . Who knew I would be writing a post about zombie lawyers a few short weeks later! You may not recognize these zombies because, well, they’re not the Hollywood stylized ones popularized by the movie Zombieland and that whole genre of too-many-B-movies-to-name (with all due respect to George Romero and Shaun of the Dead. . . . ). Yes, they’re missing the makeup and the flashy zombie attire, but don’t be fooled – they’re real!
In case you are doubting the veracity of this post, here’s another picture – this one of bar association employees – who knew they too were zombies?! – gathered for a snack in their lunchroom.
Okay, really these zombies are obviously having too much fun to be the menacing, drooling Hollywood types! So what gives with the zombie lawyer theme? Is there any redeeming part of this whole April Fools blogpost you ask? Well . . . hold on. . . .
I was also thinking of another variation of a “zombie lawyer” – I’m thinking of the DIY online document services and legal information available over the internet – both the free and the fee-based kind. Why – you might wonder – would I consider this a kind of “zombie lawyer?” Well, many folks who have legal questions or difficulties often have questions about the law, or how it applies to them – and they don’t know where to start. The internet is an amazing but often overwhelming source of information, and some of the information that is available is legal in nature. So there is plenty of information out there, but how to filter out the wheat from the chaff? And what about figuring out how it might apply to your particular situation? If you aren’t sure whether you are asking the right question or think your situation is unique, or that your scenario might be complicated -and not something that is readily answerable in an “FAQ” type information source – sifting through the information can be overwhelming. How do you decide which is “good” information that applies to your circumstances? Well, the “zombie lawyer” or more accurately “zombie legal advice” you can cobble together from a variety of internet sources may be problematic in several ways:
- it may not be state (Colorado) specific, but based on another state’s law (how do you know?)
- it may be designed to apply to a one-size-fits-all category and you’re not sure what your size is. . . .
- you might zero in on a known problem and not consider its relationship to other issues
- you might end up “fixing” one problem only to create a difficulty in another area
- how will you know if you’re asking the right question or getting a sound answer?
- can you accurately consider the cost of the “downside” for doing nothing, or addressing the situation by handling it yourself?
When you contact a lawyer, you get the benefit of talking with an actual human, not a zombie that looks like a source of legal information or advice! A lawyer is not someone who is just trained in the law in terms of finding information, we go to law school to learn to look at things and analyze issues and situations in terms of legal analysis. Sometimes the most important task in finding an answer for a client is in identifying the right question. Here I would also offer an insight from a favorite book of mine – Daniel Pink’s “A Whole New Mind,” and in terms of work in my field of estate and elder law, it takes me and my colleagues from being otherwise pigeonholed by some as mere document preparers to a job more along the lines of being a symphony conductor: We provide the forum to ask the right questions, to hear the concerns of the client and to coordinate the legal issues, analysis and practical application to a synthesis or symphony. . . . In my opinion, this is the best part of being a lawyer. And that is no April Fool’s joke!
©Barbara Cashman www.DenverElderLaw.org