5 Hot Tips for Creating a Winning Legal Team

by | Oct 1, 2013 | Relationships, Wendy Hernandez Blog

5 Hot Tips for Creating a Winning Legal Team

The secret component that makes the difference between hiring an OK lawyer and an AWESOME lawyer is that attorney’s passion for his or her work, for you and for your case. Once you hire a lawyer that is passionate about the work, you will want to ignite that flame even more by throwing some gasoline on the fire. In this week’s post, I tell you PRECISELY how to do that.


Wanna win? Listen to what I have to say. Here it goes!


5 Hot Tips for Creating a Winning Legal Team 


1.  Communication of Expectations:


Before hiring an attorney, you must know where you want to go with your case.  Attorneys are not mind readers, and if you don’t know what you want, there is no way on earth your attorney will know.  If your goals are clear, together, you and your attorney can craft a strategy for your case.

If you change your mind about your goals as the case is pending, that is OK.  If you do this, however, tell your lawyer so he or she can re-adjust and get on board with where you want to go.


At the beginning of your case, talk with your lawyer about your communication expectations.  How often do you want to hear from your lawyer?  How do you want to hear from your lawyer?  Is it OK to hear from your lawyer’s assistant, rather than the lawyer?  How will frequent communication with your lawyer affect your case and your attorney’s bill?


Once these expectations are spoken, you and your lawyer have a solid foundation for moving forward.



2.  Trust:


Let’s face it, you need a lawyer because you have a serious problem in your life.  You are suing someone or  someone is suing you. You are getting divorced.  You are fighting over money, property or your children. You must trust your lawyer and his or her expertise.


Nothing annoys a lawyer faster than a client who attempts to micromanage every decision, no matter how minor, that is being made about the case.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions and have a constructive discussion with your lawyer if you are uncomfortable with something he or she is doing.  Keep in mind, though, you hired your lawyer because you felt at peace with his or her qualifications.  Let your lawyer do his or her thing.


Similarly, your lawyer needs to trust you.  Tell your lawyer everything that could be relevant to your case.  Don’t make the decision on your own that something “doesn’t matter”.  Let the attorney help make that decision — he or she is in a better position to know.  Nothing is worse than your lawyer learning damaging information about you or your case from the other attorney, or worse, at trial.  Chances are, your lawyer can spin almost anything so it doesn’t look as bad, but only if he or she knows about it!



3.  Respect:


You have a choice about what lawyer to hire.  If your lawyer is short with you, won’t find time for you, won’t return your phone calls and is generally unkind, you are being disrespected.  Find a different lawyer.


Your lawyer’s job is to serve your interests.  That being said, your lawyer and his or her staff are not servants to be mistreated.  Treat your lawyer and the staff the same way you want to be treated.  If you have a concern or a problem with something that your lawyer or the staff has done, communicate your problem calmly and kindly.



4.  Responsiveness:


In the course of your case, you are not the only person who is going to need “stuff”; your lawyer is going to need things from you, too.  Chances are, the opposing party and attorney are going to be sending requests for documents and information that only you have.  In most cases, there will be deadlines you need to meet.  When your attorney asks for information, get on the ball and get it to him or her.  If you don’t, your case could suffer and the other side even could be awarded attorney’s fees (payable by you) for your failure to be responsive.


Your lawyer’s office should also be responding to your requests in a timely fashion.  Understand that most lawyers have many cases and many clients.  Sometimes it is difficult for your attorney to respond immediately to your call or e-mail. Make sure your lawyer has a system in place so his or her assistant can let you know immediately if your lawyer is unavailable.  In many cases, the assistant can answer the question(s).  If the assistant cannot, at the very least, he or she can let you know when your attorney will be able to respond to you.



5.  Gratitude.


Your lawyer should be grateful that you have entrusted your life to him or her.  The acts of your lawyer should reflect that gratitude.  Your lawyer can show his or her gratitude by treating your case (and you) with care: meeting deadlines, being prepared, being honest with you and always, always, always doing the best job possible, given the facts of your case.


Demonstrating gratitude on your part also means honoring the agreement with your attorney to pay for his or her services.  It is unrealistic to expect to keep your attorney happy and passionate about your case if you owe money or have stopped paying for his or her services.  Think about it: would you feel passionate about your work if you showed up every day, then your boss refused to pay you?  Probably not.


Aside from honoring your financial agreement, little shows of gratitude on your part will go a long way.  At the most basic level, remember to say “thank you”.  If your attorney just did a bang-up job on a motion or a hearing – say so!  We are people, too, and we love positive reinforcement.  It makes us want to do more for you!


Keep these 5 Hot Tips for Creating a Winning Legal Team in mind as you move through the system with your lawyer.  If you do, chances are, you will have the better lawyer than your ex.  Not only that, though, you increase your chances of gaining a lifetime friend and ally … disguised as a lawyer.

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