Question: How can I help my lawyer, work with maximum efficiency? For example: can I perform my basic research, or help with administrative items?
Answer: Most lawyers maintain staff and systems which would only be disrupted by your direct involvement. No offense. Even if you possessed paralegal skills, working them into an ongoing office flow can be difficult. Perhaps you can help in other ways.
Efficiency during meetings can greatly cut your hourly bill. Many meetings can be delayed by stories, or derailed by interruptions (such as cell phone calls). Of course, if the lawyer takes another call, that time should be deducted from your hourly total. But, if you take a call during a meeting, you are paying for that time, and disrupting the flow of your meeting.
Be direct with your inquiries. For example: a realtor called me and spent a minute rambling about the events that led to her calling me: “She represents Jane Smith…regarding the purchase of 1 Main Street…her customer needs a document signed…but first wanted me to review the document…so she needs to scan the document to me…and she looked in her file, but could not find an email address for me…so she went online to Google my phone number…and she grabbed the phone…and called me to ask for my email address”.
A simple: “Hello, may I have your email address”, would have sufficed, and saved us both time. If I needed more info, I could have followed up with a few questions of her. So, be clear and direct about what information you need, then let the lawyer ask you relevant questions.
Think of how you interact with your doctor, during their five-minute examinations. You wouldn’t go on with a story about the weather conditions…affecting the grass…at the local field…upon which you slipped…and hurt your arm…which you are unable to raise above your head. You would tell your doctor you injured your shoulder and wait for his or her questions. This way they are working quickly and efficient, getting only relevant information.
Attorney James Haroutunian practices real estate law and estate planning in Billerica at 790 Boston Road. Contact him to begin an estate plan or with questions at 978-671-0711 at www.hlawoffice.com, prioritylaw.com, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.