Thursday, October 18, 2007

Following up on How to Hire the Right Divorce Attorney

Yesterday, I wrote How to Hire the Right Divorce Attorney. Today, I ran across a very long post on The Small Guy's Attorney Blog, HOW TO GET THE BEST OUT OF YOUR ATTORNEY.

I must comment on some parts of this article.

2. Write your story in a page or two. Bring it with you or fax or e-mail it. Cover all the essential matters. It's best typed but a hand printed document is acceptable. Your story should be organised chronologically. This saves the attorney's time. He no longer has to take down in a consultation what you could have written or typed out beforehand. You use his time efficiently and save unnecessary fees.
I wish more clients would do this. I have started trying this with clients after we meet. I will have to see if this helps.
4. In many cases the best way to communicate with the lawyer is through his secretary. Get to know the secretary. Lawyers tend to be in and out of court or in meetings. Secretaries are always there.
Since I do not have a full time secretary, the best choices are e-mail or voice mail.
6. Don’t phone every day, but don't hesitate to phone if you want to know what's going on, either. Consider whether your phone call is necessary. Can you save your questions for the next meeting? Each phone call will use up your lawyer's time and your money - his time and advice are his stock in trade. But busy lawyers sometimes need nagging clients !
Absolutely true. If I am on the telephone, I cannot get anything else done. The best time to reach me is between 4:00 and 5:00 pm - court is over by 4:00 pm (usually).

7. Pay his bills promptly. The clients that enjoy the best service are inevitably the best payers. There is a subtle psychology at work in any lawyer's brain that tends to give the rewarding client's file priority in preference to a client who is difficult or a non-payer.
Maybe my psychology is not so subtle. I wrote in my earlier post that the attorney-client relationship is a partnership. Partnerships require trust. How can I trust you if you do not pay my fees as agreed upon? After that loss of trust, it does make everything else you say questionable.
8. Should you terminate your lawyer's mandate, be the first to tell him. Don't let him learn of it through third parties.
Again, something I put in the trust category. I had this happen to me this past Summer. I do not think it was a coincidence that she still owed money on her fees.
2. elucidate how your case can be advantageous for him and his firm;
No, no. I do disagree on this one. Most lawyers know what is good for them and their firms. If they do not know what is a good case, get out of their office now. I had a client earlier in the year trying to give me the hard sell on their case. I explained all this to him and some more. My job is be an objective advocate. I am not a cheerleader for the case. I must know and deal with the problems as well as the good things in a case.
I would point out that the blog originates in South Africa and some of the points have no counterpoints here in Indiana. On the other hand, it is amazing that the same problems between client and lawyer crop in other places.

One other point I do not think either of the articles linked to in my posts do not is this: listen as intently at what you are being told as your lawyer listens to you.

I suggest anyone looking for an attorney read this article and my earlier post.

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