Your Expectations of Your Attorney
1. We are all human. Your attorney is a human being with their own family and pressures in life. Contrary to popular opinion, most attorneys are not rich. There are way too many attorneys for wealth to come to more than a small percentage of lawyers.
2. Time management. In order to keep your attorney fees affordable and competitive with other attorneys, you lawyer has to have multiple clients and arrange his or her time to meet everyone's needs as best they can. Managing their time is the key to your lawyer's success.
"A lawyer's time is his stock in trade." - Benjamin Franklin
3. Returning calls. Even returning a call within 24 hours is their policy (as it is ours), accomplishing that is not always possible. In addition, a lawyer has no control over how many people call him on a particular day. Some days are easier than others. Be patient then call again. If that doesn't work, schedule an appointment.
4. Communication Tips. Your lawyer wants to do an excellent job for all of his or her clients. To accomplish that your attorney has to manage their time to a degree unfamiliar to most people. Here are some tips that can help you communicate with your busy attorney:
Staff. Most of the time, explaining your question or need to a staff person can get you a quicker response. Often, a staff person will be involved in that aspect of your case anyway and the staff can see first-hand what is happening in the office in order to manage a quicker solution.
Detailed messages. If an attorney returns from court and sees 30 messages, those messages have to be scanned and prioritized because there only may be time to address 4-5 of those messages before the next appointment. While people are equally important, the urgency and magnitude of their concern varies. If my message just says "call John Doe," I'm going to try to call him after I finish the other messages that have more information because I am empowered to act for theclients who have provided more details. I will still call John Doe but It will just take longer and -because I don't know why he is calling - I won't be prepared for the conversation. It is more efficient for the lawyer to know why you are calling because he can get more information he needs before calling you so that he can answer your question once he calls. Otherwise, it could require one call to find out what the concern is followed by a second call to address the concern.
Emails. Our firm uses our email client (MS Outlook) as our communications center. All telephone messages are emailed so that everything is in one place. Emails invite people to explain their question or need and provide information needed to prepare a response. Also, many attorneys check their email from various locations and even during the mornings or evenings and so provide the attorney with greater flexibility on when and how to respond to that client's concern.
Appointments. Often the most appropriate solution is to make an appointment to see your attorney. If your attorney is successful, he or she probably has a lot of clients. It may take 5-15 minutes of just reviewing your case in order for your attorney to be able to address your questions. An appointment format allows that to be carved out on the calendar and for more open communication.
Charles Grainger is an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise you on whether bankruptcy or any bankruptcy alternatives are appropriate for you. We can suggest long-term solutions to your financial troubles depending on your particular situation. At Grainger Legal Services, we represent clients from our offices located in Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy in order to help people in South-Central Alabama “get out of the hole.” Call us at (334) 260-0500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.