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Teamwork

Information to Know Before Choosing a Legal Team

Lindsey Malberg asked:

At some point in life, a problem will likely occur that leaves you needing a lawyer. Hunting for a good legal team can prove to be difficult and, even once you find them, it can be challenging making them perform their tasks in a timely manner. Gathered here are the basic rules to help you keep a hold of your team.

Recommendations – Inquire about referrals. I have noticed that good lawyers have good reputations. People are more inclined to grumble about their lawyers than mention some good words about them. So, always look up a recommended lawyer.

Research – Take the time to check online sites and get information about lawyers in your local area. Fee structure, qualifications, specialized case types, and licensing information can typically be found about any registered lawyer in NoLo’s lawyer directory. If you can’t find the lawyer you’re looking for, try lawyers.com. Know your lawyer. How does the community rate the lawyer? Will your pockets be empty if you choose this lawyer? Keep in mind that you have to make sure you engage the best legal team possible, irrespective of any recommendations you might have received about a particular lawyer.

Understand the Law – Homework must be done. Before going to see any lawyer, educate yourself on the basics of the law in relation to your case. Simply put, you need to know your own rights and not be completely dependent upon your lawyer. Lawyers knowing and doing everything is a misconception. Not only do you need to have an idea about what is going on with your case, but you will also gain respect from your lawyer if you do.

Conduct an Interview – Ask them questions. Just because a lawyer agrees to take your case does not mean you should feel “honored.” Make sure you really want or need this particular lawyer. The lawyer will ask you questions to determine if he wants to take on your case. This is the time when you need to ask him plenty of questions. Find out his track record, caseload, and what cases have been won in the past. Know all the fees, billables, and hourly rates to prevent any unexpected bills. But remember that each lawyer is a person and should be treated with respect.

Establish a Relationship – Do you like this person? It is essential that you have a good relationship with your lawyer. Not a personal relationship involving popcorn and a movie, but know that the lawyer cares for you and your case enough to do all that he should do. Besides, if you don’t like him, chances are other people don’t either, and you don’t want a poor attitude to show through during court. Do your best to get along and show respect. Don’t blow this off as it is of the utmost importance.

Be Nice to the staff – Get on good terms with the secretary. The secretary will work harder to get things done faster if she likes you. When you chose your lawyer, you chose your legal team too. The legal team works together on your case and the secretaries are responsible for a great deal. The lawyer presents your case to the court, but the secretaries present your documents to the lawyer, handle your calls, prepare case related memos, as well as many other extremely important tasks. For sure, you’ll want the secretary handling your evidence logs and depositions to be on your good side, so be charming. Speak to them with respect. You might even want to give them an appreciation gift like a card or cookies at your next appointment.

Rule number one is that, no matter how frustrated you get, remember not to take it out on the secretary. And remember, if at any point you don’t think that your legal team is doing the job that you hired them for, move on and let them go. Don’t fret over it; remember they’re working for you. Your only job is to ensure they do their jobs. If you care for your legal team, they will take care of you.

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