What To Say When You Have No Answer

What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a client’s bankruptcy question?  After all, you’re a bankruptcy lawyer.

Divorce lawyer Lee Rosen lists six sound responses to the question you can’t answer off the top of your head.  His favorite is “I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you”.

I find myself saying, “let me think about it”. And this after 30 years of thinking about bankruptcy law.  I nurture a  growing conviction that lives and the law is often incredibly complex.   Much as we’d like it otherwise, frequently no quick or pat answer exists.

It’s worthwhile training our clients that there is a certain level of uncertainty when real facts meet ill-drafted statutes as interpreted by human judges.  It doesn’t hurt the client to get a glimpse of that complexity.

My partner has a quick retort when a client asks how some event will come out:  “if I could see the future, I wouldn’t be here practicing law, I’d be picking the lotto numbers.”

Do you have a favorite response?

Image courtesy of Horia  Varlan.

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