Selecting your lawyer in Germany

“There are a lot of assholes among German lawyers.”

Dan Hull from ‘What about Paris?‘ in an email.

OK, that got off on a bad but true note. Anyway, let’s try not to get distracted in the search but rather focused.

  1. Someone with a doctor title adds of course to your standing, but they are often conceited and smug, so go for second best and that is
  2. a lawyer with a hyphenated name. You can’t go wrong with that. After all, you’ve heard George Carlin. Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy wouldn’t be bad either but that’s a dandy and pretty rare these days.
  3. So basics are settled. Now you want to have some spark. Only a Princess Peach legal eagle can deliver that.
  4. Next, this being the decade of social media, a presence on Pinterest is de rigueur.
  5. Now move on to body language. So important like MSG as Uncle Roger would say. Well look at these blokes. Crossed arms. Haiyaa, so bad.

Once upon a time this was considered a power pose designed to impart strength and competence, but not in 2020.

This is not what you want. You want a pro-active bitch. One that jumps at every opportunity to serve you and advance your interests. Sweating altruism.

Clients want their lawyers trusted advisors to sit on the same side of the table with them, to provide the guidance, simplicity, and hand-holding to empower them to make smart choices. The best lawyers are more interested in making their clients look good as opposed to themselves, and this applies to all practice areas.

Consider updating your headshot and firm photos. Natural lighting, a warm smile, a soft background and possibly nixing the tie will make you and your firm much more approachable.”

As it so happened, that is exactly my lawyer, I mean trusted advisor. It is now time to introduce her and I do this with the utmost humbleness as I am only too aware of my inferiority in the presence of her shining light and her judicial omniscience. Ladies & gentlemen, Sonja Hein-Schnieder, my trusted adviser in Munich, Mediator cum Certified Disability Management Professional. Presence on Pinterest? Checked. Did I mention ‘Reboarding‘? She’s into that as well. Gee, I am scrambling for air. That is quite a mouth full and all that since November 2018. Yep, it’s been two years now. That’s nothing to sneeze at, righty so?

Take a look at her posture, her uncompromizing, unadulterated body language. Her upper body turned 45 degrees toward you, the client. Attentive to your needs. The lower body, though not visible, clearly trained in a forward motion from left to right. Left to right signifies progress, solution-driven professional commitment towards your personal greater good. Going for the kill.

Sonja Hein-Schnieder in solution-driven professional pose.

OK, in an open talk with the Munich Chamber of Lawyers she aired some grievance. The missus is not happy widda moneyz and is all in for some pecuniar optimization.

“The reward for our performance is another point where I would like to see optimization. The RVG provides framework fees in social law which, due to the complexity of the factual and legal situation, often do not compensate for the effort required to process the mandate. Despite all the euphoria for social law, disillusionment occurs at the latest when one has to fight for the medium fee even for mandates with considerable effort.”

Absolutely honey, you nailed it. Can you blame her? Not at all. It’s the relationship that we have that counts, not the smackeroos. So how is it, I hear you asking. Great, all peaches and roses. We enjoy an AC relationship. When she’s there, I am not and vice versa. IOW, we are a force present 24/7/365. Actually, it’s 730 as you correctly figured.

When I proffer details, she smartly realigns them in the proper judicial context where they, perhaps a little surprising to the uninitiated lay person in all things legal & beyond, are rendered into a state of non-being. My legal eagle Sonja Hein-Schnieder flies in a judicial Nirvana where the study of case files is a trifle mundane, plebeian, contrived, unnatural, superfluous. You catch my drift? The Missus Sonja prefers relationship management. That means she professes a keen interest to be closely aligned, for your good mind you, with the judge AND the opposing party. You could call it kind of a juridico-sexual promiscuous relationship.

So after two years with three different cases she has achieved absolutely nothing, zippo and that with aplomb. Suppression of two documents and thereby theft of money from my daughter by the opposing party elicited no interest in sugar babe. Her single-best performance was to withdraw a lawsuit in Oct. 2020 involving my daughter, contrary to the law, and without telling me in advance. A complete breach of professional obligations. That is quite an achievement. Has she bothered to read the case files? Yes and no. Yes, as she disclosed during a phone call once and no, as she wrote after she had withdrawn the law suit.

An email sent to her on Nov. 6, asking to explain her decision which was in total breach of a lawyer’s obligation and professional conduct remained unanswered! Nuff said, see the lede.