Hiring a lawyer is usually a daunting situation. If we all have a way, they would be out of business but since the justice of our world depends on them, there is little to nothing we can do about their existence.
Sometimes, we are thankful to them notably when they help us out of a bad situation. It’s important to work effectively with your lawyer if you want to get the most out of the money spent on hiring them.
Since attorneys charge for time, here are some things you could leverage to maximize every penny spent to your advantage:
1. Hire a professional expert
When deciding on who should represent you, before anything else, check if the lawyer has handled a considerable number of cases related to yours over the years. A divorce attorney cannot be expected to perform wonders when helping you with a mortgage case.
“We have seen people lose suits not because they don’t have a strong case, but for the error of hiring attorneys with no experience on their type of case”, says The Barnes Firm, a group of motorcycle accident lawyers.
Also, always think of who your opponent would likely choose to represent them. This gives you a yardstick to evaluate the caliber of the lawyer to hire. Think like a professional because when big companies go against anybody in court, they mobilize their best legal team and not just any lawyer.
Communication is paramount for optimal attorney/client relationships. You must be easy to reach. The same goes for your lawyer. Schedule time to talk and during this conversation, make sure they understand you.
Give them all information they might need such as details about your business which you think might help in court.
If you are running a startup, for instance, the lawyer you are hiring should understand the basic terms of your business such as traction, series funding, and vesting.
Lawyers usually offer an initial consultation without charge. You can assess them during this time to know if they are the right person for your case or not.
Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification when it comes to fees. Make sure everything is spelt out, down to the least legal fee.
3. Set a standard
After settling for a lawyer, be clear with your expectation. Not giving a lawyer an expectation indicates you are fine with any outcome. Set a standard and discuss this at your first meeting. If the lawyer cannot deliver or convince you otherwise while offering a better outcome, continue your search.
It will amaze you lawyers love working with people that have standards. It gives them a focus and how well to channel their defence and offence in the court.
Irrespective of the complexity of a legal matter, trust between you and your lawyer is very important.
The foundation of trust is expected to be cemented during your first meeting with the lawyer. Provided you settled for a counsel you can work with, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just like you risk wasting your money, lawyers risk disbarment and suspension from the court.
Your attorney should be able to explain thoroughly why an action is illegal, when a lot of jargon is being used despite asking for a simpler explanation, consider getting a second opinion.
Whenever you are not convinced of a lawyer has your best interest at heart, get another.
5. Involve your lawyer in any negotiation or deal
Never discuss any issue related to your case or business without the presence of your lawyer. Most negotiations may not result in a problem at the end of the day despite not involving your lawyer, but you won’t know the one that would become an issue in the future.
This is important, especially for business owners who are desperate for funds to expand their business. A deal may contain some elements impossible to satisfy. Signing them might be the sole reason you are out of business or kicked out of your company.
6. Read through documents and act on time
Read through every document your lawyer sends you. Peruse and evaluate the advice given to make sure it is the best for your situation.
Don’t be afraid of challenging your lawyer. The same thing goes for the lawyer too. An attorney-client disagreement is normal when it is for good cause and not extreme.
A good counsel should be able to explain in simplest terms why you should consider the advice and not force it down your throat.
Likewise, when a client is demanding the impossible, a lawyer will highlight why and recommend the best alternative.
When requested to do something, get it done on time and at the first ask. This improves the attorney-client relationship because the lawyer would feel respected. It might also reduce your legal fee especially when you are billed per hour.