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How to Know Who to Trust

How do I know who I can trust?

Imagine you’re travelling, and your car breaks down. You’re two hours away from home, you don’t have your wallet, and your cell phone battery is so close to running out that you think you only have one call. Who comes to mind? This is where you start your list of who to trust.

Once you have that list of people in mind, whether it’s one person or ten, it’s important to rule out those that can’t be counted on. A few things to think about:

Can you call them in an emergency?

Are they a fair-weather friend, or will they stick with you through the tough times?

Have they left you empty handed in the past?

Do they keep what you share with them private and confidential?

Lastly, are they going to be around to see the consequences, or are they in it for the short run?

If any of these questions leave you in doubt, strike that name off your list. It’s vital that the people you plan to turn to in times of crisis pass through all these lenses. These questions aren’t exhaustive, but they should give you a good idea of what to look for when it comes time to find someone to trust.

Throughout undergrad, one of our office staff members, Rebecca, worked in a primate research center. Each person in the center had a different objective. For some, the objective was to complete research with the monkeys. For others, their primary objective was to monitor the monkeys’ health and adjust accordingly. For those in charge of safety, the goal was to protect the care staff and researchers and prevent the spread of disease. Regardless of their primary goal, every person working in the primate research center knew that they had to rely on others to ensure research was completed in a way that protected the monkeys, the care staff, and the investigators.

The first thing one learns when working with animals is that each person’s actions affects the animals and the other people spending time with them. No single individual can complete every task associated with primate research, and the care staff and labs had to work together to make sure someone was always available for the monkeys. If one person didn’t come in on a Saturday, someone else had to drop what they were doing and come to the center. If one person noticed a monkey who was unusually lethargic or aggressive, it was the animal resource team’s responsibility to obtain or provide medical care. They all had separate roles that heavily depended on the others. A great example of this was feeding. As part of the research, monkeys were often given food rewards. However, the animal resource team monitored the number of calories and macronutrients each monkey consumed every day. The labs and the resource team had to depend on each other and work together to ensure that the monkeys were well- but not over-fed. Just like people, monkeys shouldn’t live on treats!

Working in tandem, everyone at the research center developed relationships with the monkeys and with each other. These relationships were deep and fostered loyalty. They could trust each other personally and professionally. In consideration of the questions we asked before, Rebecca could call on these people in an emergency, trust that they would be present for the long haul, and reflect on times in the past that they had stood beside her. She could add these people to her list of who she could trust.

You need people that you can trust in your professional life just as much as your personal life. The research center was a great example of that in Rebecca’s life, but there’s one example that is applicable to everyone regardless of age, profession, or goal. It’s crucial that you have an attorney you can trust when things go awry. This attorney should understand you and your background, be a trusted confidante, and be present whether it’s a time to celebrate or a time to sit, settle, or sue. Ideally, you should find an attorney who can identify stumbling blocks before they grow into big problems. This is the person you can call at the first inkling that something might not be right.

Find an attorney that can favorably answer each of the questions asked before. You should be able to call them in an emergency, be assured that they will stick with you in good times and in bad, and trust that your information will be held in confidence. If you are searching for an attorney you can trust, reach out to our managing partner, Stephen P. Fuller, at 770-622-4700 or email info@fullersloan.com.

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