Author: John C. Mitby
- Listen to you!
Speaking and email writing are key skills, but your attorney needs to listen to you.
If a task is going to be performed more than a few times, have the attorney format it in a useful way.
- Communicate with you!
Sometimes paper is the best tool; sometimes a phone call is even better.It makes sense to use the computer for many tasks. If paper works, use it. Often times one just needs to see the “whole” document. And sometimes a phone call works even better.But most important is for you to know what is going on with your legal matter.
- Your attorney must stay current on the law!
Given the Internet and political environment, the law changes almost daily. As to any legal issues, one must stay current on the law. There is not enough time, nor is it cost effective, to stop and research everything. So it is important that your attorney know the law by following report cases and computer legal services AND following your business/industry.
You want to know what the costs/legal fees are. Attorneys can offer hourly, contingent, alternative, or limited scope legal services. With your written consent, limited scope legal representation is permitted under Supreme Court Rule 20:1.2(c). This can be a cost effective way to retain legal services. As an example, you may prepare a document and only want a certain part of the document reviewed or critiqued. There is then a limited agreed-upon scope review by the attorney and the document has a statement adjacent to the client’s signature that “This document was prepared with the assistance of an attorney.”Which method is the best depends on the nature of your legal matter, the complexity of the matter, and the attorney’s time involved. Regardless, make sure your attorney’s fee and scope of legal services is reduced to writing and agreed upon before the legal matter is handled.
- Use a bigger font size!
Work product needs to be easily read on computers, tablets, and smart phones (not sure yet about the Apple Watch).
If possible, your attorney should return your phone calls and emails the same day; most times they are available by cell phone and will reply to your emails. If unable to do so, the attorney should let you know when you can expect a response.
We are a “team.” The team goal is to get a reasonable, timely, cost effective, and successful result recognizing that just being involved in a legal matter can be an emotional and sometimes unrewarding experience for any client. But your attorney should work hard with you to give you the best chance for a reasonable result. Plus the attorney should explain and keep you timely informed as to the nature and progress of your matter. It is best to realize that you and your attorney are a team wherein facts, issues, risks, and goals are shared.