Eeny meeny miny moe  … or how to select and deal with a lawyer

Eeny meeny miny moe  … or how to select and deal with a lawyer

When I was young, this was an expression used to determine the outcome of many things. These days, it would be impossible to use given the overly sensitive nature of things and the “woke” and “cancel” cultures. Those of a certain age, will understand exactly what I mean.

Having just spent several weeks in Europe, I’ve had time to reflect upon the way we do business. Like many things, and including the practise of the law, it has changed.

For example, not so many years ago most people selected their lawyers by using the ones that their parents had used for many years or by simply referral to somebody else’s lawyer.

These days, to my surprise, it is more a question of going onto Google and looking for a lawyer with the expertise and in the right geographical location.

It is at this point that reviews become extremely important, as people tend to rely upon the reviews to determine the suitability, capability, and competence of their lawyer, as well as for many other services and goods. Choosing your lawyer is really just the first part.

Perhaps of equal importance is the way you provide your instructions to your lawyer.  People often complain about the cost of legal services. The reality is they often make it more expensive for themselves by not thinking through the way they deal with their lawyer.

Over the years, we have experienced many situations where people bring in effectively a shoebox of information, and point to it, saying, “this is all the background, and this is the outcome we think we’re looking for”.

Unfortunately, all lawyers have is knowledge, experience, expertise, and time, hopefully! If you give them a shoebox full of information and, if there are a complex set of facts and a lot of information, it takes time for a lawyer to come to grips with those facts and the costs rise as a result.

Unless you are determined to contribute to the lawyer’s revenue, personally I cannot think of a better cause, although I confess, I may be biased. It pays to be better organised.

Do not take along a shoebox full of information. Catalogue it, preferably in date order, and highlight the significant parts of it. Prepare a chronological summary of the events with attachments that are relevant. It allows your lawyer to spend more time on the important aspects of your case.

Finally, in selecting your lawyer, ensure that you can relate to them. If you find it difficult to understand what they’re saying, or you simply don’t feel confident, then find another lawyer. You will both be much happier.

If you have any legal issues you’d like to discuss, then please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Nevile & Co ... no shoeboxes please. •

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