Half the work of being a lawyer is figuring out how to compassionately and delicately let clients know…we are lawyers, not therapists.
The Law Has No Room For Emotion
The first thing to know about how to talk with your lawyer is that the law doesn’t make room for emotion. Case analysis starts from the perspective of the judge. To be blunt, the judge does not care how you feel about your case, or how the other side feels, nor how the lawyers feel.
Our job as your lawyers is to learn the facts of your case and to apply the law to that set of facts. We want to make the best legal, financial, business decision possible with the information we have available in that moment.
Emotional Issues Use Up Time, And Time Is Money
Most attorneys charge for the time they spend working on your case, at so many dollars per hour. If that is how your lawyer charges, you should be aware that long phone conversations (or long emails) talking about emotions and frustrations can make your bill add up quickly. Your lawyer will listen, respond, and charge you for every minute of time that it takes.
At Leigh Law we don’t charge by the hour (or minute!) except in special circumstances. Our agreement with you for our flat fee services is based on “reasonable” communication between you and our lawyers and staff. We will communicate fully with you to be sure you understand what is happening and what is likely to happen. But if a client insists on excessive communication, even after discussions regarding legal advice vs. emotional advice, then the law firm reserves the right to switch billing to a traditional hourly retainer model.
Just The Facts, Ma’am
Your lawyer needs to know your facts. You’ve lived the case so it’s easy for you to remember. The best way to use your lawyer’s time is to have a written statement of the facts related to the case your lawyer is handling for you. The lawyer will not remember them as well as you do (for obvious reasons), so having the facts down in writing can prevent multiple calls or misunderstandings of notes from oral conversations. A written summary of events is perfect!
Keep Your Journal Up To Date
As cases progress, particularly family issues, you should keep a journal of the facts on a daily or weekly basis, or just as things happen. Contested matters (family and civil alike) often take months to resolve and the number one reason that these cases can cost thousands of dollars is too much communication with your lawyer during that time.
How We Communicate
At Leigh Law we prefer to communicate by email in order to save our time and your money. We will address what will happen next, what you should be doing in the meanwhile, and when you’ll hear from us again.
The Judge Doesn’t Want To Hear Every Issue
You’re case can’t go to the judge every time there is a hiccup. There is no time for that and judges won’t allow it! So, keeping your journal is the most time-saving and cost-effective way to track details. The details are critical at the final trial but nothing can be done about them immediately.
But What If There Is An Emergency?
A true emergency is an exception to the rule. But, and this is important, your definition of emergency does not matter. What matters is whether the facts are an emergency under the law. An emergency is defined as something that affects the health, safety and welfare of a child and will result in irreparable harm to the child or to the litigant if not stopped right away. And you need to be sure that you have a reasonable chance that the judge will agree with you on the merits, not the emotions, after an evidentiary hearing is held. For more on this see our recent article, “Is My Custody Battle Really An Emergency?”
Leigh Law Can Help
Give us a call at Leigh Law to help you figure out your options and what the likely realistic result is under your given set of facts! We’d love to Roar to your Rescue!
Call For A Free Case Evaluation
Case evaluations are completely free; our fees are flat and affordable. Call Leigh Law today at (501) 227-ROAR or Email Us to set up a free consultation.