Here are a few simple tips to make the most of your experience and keep legal costs affordable.
Remember that this is not a free service and that both your time and the attorney's is valuable. Unless you are using one of the fixed-fee services (look at your retainer agreement to be sure), your attorney is billing by the hour.
Remember that when you call or email your attorney, he or she is keeping track and will charge against your retainer for the time to answer your questions.
We know you might have lots of questions, so plan ahead:
- Find out if your attorney prefers emails or phone calls.
- When emailing, have your questions organized and use short sentences and lists instead of long paragraphs.
- If you are able, email your questions and ask the attorney to call you back at a time that's convenient for both of you.
- Ask all your questions at once, in the same email. If you must ask a follow-up question, reply to the initial email to make everything easier to find.
- If you have a meeting scheduled, come prepared:
- Have your list of questions ready, including anything else you'd like to talk about.
- Have all the requested documents and information organized and ready to go.
- If you have a meeting scheduled, get there on time (or a little early). These matters can be stressful, so try to reduce stress by knowing where to go and giving yourself plenty of time to get there.
- Follow through. If your attorney asks you for documents or to contact a possible witness, do it!
By following these tips, you'll be able to get more from this experience and access essential legal services in an affordable way.