If you’ve never worked with an attorney before, your first bill may be a learning experience. Many times, this is the first occasion for a client to learn that their attorney is tracking, and probably charging, for every phone call, email, letter and other task they are performing for your file. Because most attorneys charge by the hour, it’s important to learn how to maximize your attorney’s time.
1. Prepare a concise narrative timeline of the factual events and background related to your matter.
Having a prepared chronology describing the events that lead up to the problem you are seeking help with will allow your attorney to quickly review and ask targeted questions. No one knows the facts related to your case better than you, and this is one very important aspect of the case where you can really keep costs down and allow for a better work product.
2. Prepare multiple questions and comments for one email or phone call.
Although it might be satisfying to send a quick email blast to your attorney when you think of something new that is related to your case, jotting the comments and questions down and sending multiple thoughts and questions together will allow your attorney to respond to all the questions at one time, keeping minimum incremental billing costs down.
3. Gather documents and papers that your attorney may need for your case.
If you can sort through the papers and evidence backing up statements that may be needed to prepare your complaint, answer, or settlement proposals, your attorney will not need to gather them independently, and may only need to supplement or otherwise verify independently.
4. Understand and agree with the strategy your lawyer employs.
Although new information may be discovered during the course of your case, if you can understand and agree with a strategy for your lawsuit or matter, you will not have to incur additional costs for changing the course.
5. Respond to your attorney’s requests for assistance from you.
Working together with your attorney is of utmost importance. Your attorney will rely on you to provide factual background and insights into the personalities on the other side.
Making sure that you have an attorney that you can work with on a friendly basis and ensuring you keep open lines of communication about bills and fees with produce a better attorney-client relationship.
If you have questions, you are welcome to contact attorney Elena Rivkin Franz at (408) 940-5360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.