- April 21st, 2015
- Cheryl McGirr
- 1 Comment
As I was working on a case today, going through some very intimate details of my client’s life, I was struck again, hard, by the amount of trust my clients place in me.
The details I require about my clients lives – every detail of their finances, the details of their sex lives, their relationships with their children. It’s the most intimate information you can share with someone. And they give it to me. Because I ask them to so that I can represent them well. Lawyers need to know all these areas (at least in family law) to do their job and advocate in their client’s best interest.
Lawyers aren’t the only ones – it hit me again as I handed over my financial information to our CPA to prepare our taxes. I’m telling this person INTIMATE details of our lives. Basically, we share our heart with our accountants. The Bible tells us that where our treasure is, there will our hearts be. If you want to know someone’s heart – look at what they do with their money. Our accountant knows the hearts of me and my husband. Because he knows where our money goes. That is incredibly intimate information. And I’ve given it to someone I only see a few times a year. He came recommended to me by a trusted friend – someone who had put their trust in this particular professional and had been assured by their ongoing relationship that he was worthy of ongoing trust. And now he has mine as well. And I recommend him to others because I trusted him, and he has proven through the years that our trust was well-placed.
“…a fiduciary is someone invested with rights and powers to be exercised for the benefit of another person.”
And so we are held to very high standards. We are given a duty to each client called a fiduciary duty. It is the obligation to safeguard our clients’ interests above even our own interests. It is the duty to safeguard that intimate information and our responsibility to give wise counsel. Black’s Law Dictionary states that a fiduciary is someone invested with rights and powers to be exercised for the benefit of another person. It becomes a quite intimate relationship over the life of a case. One that demands trust from all parties.
So don’t just pick a name off the internet or point to someone in a phone book when it comes to finding one of these professionals. Meet with them, see if they can give you references, find out what their philosophies are and if they mesh with yours.
There are other fields that involve issues of trust – but my own profession and those of accountants were the main two I was thinking of. The medical profession to some extent as well.
What other professions are undergirded by a deep trust relationship?
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