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Free Thoughts from Excellent Lawyers

How to interface with your Lawyer Part 1 of 2


Free anything is often worth what you paid for it. ... but what if, just this once, your attorney shared some thoughts and it didn't cost you a dime?  Read on - Mary Kirkpatrick and Rick Goldsborough have some straight-to-the-point insights on things you should consider as you interface with your attorney.

Only choose an attorney that understands your problem AND has experience working with the issues that surround the problem.

Mary and Rick say: "Many lawyers may not do the kind of work you want done. When searching for the right lawyer, be sure to ask how they work on the issues you have and what they see to be the significant elements of the claim."

Your lawyer should have some “teaching” skills—

Mary and Rick suggest: Ask: "What should I expect with the process of this claim? Can you help me understand how my claim will be presented? Will you explain to me how I will be examined?"

Do not expect that litigation is easy.

Mary and Rick say: "It is natural to feel anxiety, fear, and emotional turmoil particularly when you realize that you have to “prove” your position."

Be prepared for meetings with your attorney. NO client has ever stated "Gosh I was too prepared for that meeting!"

Mary and Rick say: "It is your job to be prepared and organized to discuss your concerns. Take the time to develop an outline of your concerns. Keep in mind that meetings are likely to be 30-60 minutes with your attorney, so optimize that time... be prepared and ask questions."

If you want to involve a support person for  yourself in your legal process discuss it with your attorney first.

Mary and Rick say: "Remember that the attorney-client privilege only attaches when the conversation is between you and the attorney, and no other people are in the room. It may be that you and your attorney agree that waiving the privilege, so that you will feel more supported, is fine and will not affect the outcome of your matter."

Do not expect your attorney to be your therapist

Mary and Rick say: "While you want to have an attorney whom you feel is supportive, you also want to hear the plain view of the matter, both the pros and cons. Your attorney should be able to give you feedback about your claims and defenses. While involved in a legal proceeding, you will have emotional reactions to the process on numerous levels. Some of the reactions may be painful, particularly relating to statements that may be made about you in the course of the proceeding. Your lawyer’s job is to prepare your case, assess the risks, evaluate the impact of new information on the merits of your claims and defenses, and communicate in a neutral way the effect of any negative statements about you on the greater merits of your claims and defenses. You should feel supported and confident in your lawyer.  If you begin to distrust the advice, or feel the attorney is not applying herself to your matter, it is important to either discuss your feelings with your lawyer to see if there is a misunderstanding, or to change lawyers.

It is important to keep up with the payment of legal fees as they accrue. 

Mary and Rick say: "While this may seem like common sense, make no mistake that being able to afford a lawsuit is a problem for many people.  Remember, however, that if you have no choice... it is better to view it as an investment in your future. The outcome will likely affect the rest of your life, and your lawyer like your mechanic or landlord expects to be paid for their work, investment, and experience. .  If you cannot make this commitment and follow through with payments, then see if there are other more affordable options through the legal aid societies in your area, or handle the matter by yourself and only use the lawyer as a consultant from time to time. Discuss these issues with your lawyer.

While this post is in no way legal advice... who doesn't like to get a little leg up when it comes to starting a new relationship? When you start to work with your attorney... it is like starting a new relationship. Use the information here to help you understand what to expect and how to get the most out of your time with the expert help you hire.