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- Handling Your Stress. When a client has a legal problem, he or she is oftentimes under financial and consequent emotional stress. The good attorney should listen to you enough to be able to “walk in your shoes” to feel as you do about your case, and to respect not only your views but your feelings as well, and be respectful, patient, and tactful toward you. Some attorneys are too gruff and impatient to deal with your feelings. Find one who will.
- Game Plan. Your attorney, if sufficiently experienced, should be able rather quickly to formulate and communicate a “game plan” of resolution for you, e.g., how long it will take, how much it may cost you, and what are the anticipated results? He or she needs to articulate to you how he or she can “put a net financial benefit” in your pocket by hiring him or her.
- Ongoing Communications. Your attorney should keep you updated on your case, i.e., what’s going on, and send to you copies of work he or she does and copies of the papers from opposing counsel to which he or she responds. He should never be too busy to call or email you back within 24 hours of your inquiry or have a competent staff member so do.
- Billing Statements. They should be monthly and carefully itemize/describe each task done so you can see for what you’re paying. They should answer your questions, rather than raise ones.
- Fighter on Your Side. Your attorney should at all times make you feel as if he or she is vigilantly and effectively fighting for you on your case. If not, verbally “light a fire” underneath him or her so to do.
- Right to Change Counsels. You have the absolute right to change your legal counsel generally at any time. Exercise this right sparingly because it will take new counsel time to become familiar with your case and generally require you pay a new retainer for that. So if you are unable any longer to work with your present counsel, and can afford partly to start over again with new counsel, do so.
- Choosing the Right Attorney to Start. Your most reliable referral is from an already satisfied client of the attorney. Feel free to ask the attorney for one or more referral sources, i.e., a “satisfied client.” He or she should not hesitate to provide them to you.