11 Tips to Maximize the Value of Your Lawyer

The purpose of this quick read is to emphasize the importance of you being an intelligent and discerning user of legal services.  Doing so will maximize the value you receive for the time invested by you and your attorney of choice to accomplish the goal/result you are seeking together.  Here are suggestions to consider:

  1. Do your own online research from the law firm’s website and review individual biographies concerning an attorney’s background and previous work experience. While you are obtaining representation from a law firm, there needs to be a “gatekeeper” who shepherds your legal matter to a successful conclusion.
  2. Be flexible and careful in considering an attorney’s background.  If the matter involves litigation, choose an attorney with relevant jury trial experience.
  3. If appropriate, interview and ask for proposals from several different attorneys, especially if it is a project or need that may not result in future work at its conclusion (i.e., prosecuting or defending personal injury cases, or a referral due to a conflict of interest, etc.).
  4. Expect to receive and execute a client engagement letter outlining the important points of your attorney’s representation. While it should be set out in the engagement letter, make sure to pay your bills on a timely basis, and if there is a misunderstanding or dispute on an issue, address and resolve the matter quickly.
  5. Communications you have with your attorney are generally confidential. Therefore, be open and honest in all contacts with your attorney to enable him/her to provide the best value toward your needs. It is vitally important that you do not waive attorney-client privilege by discussing these facts with anyone without first consulting your attorney.
  6. Clearly express your expectations and the time needed to accomplish a preferred result or goal.
  7. Be a careful but active listener, take notes, be specific in asking questions, and do not assume the appropriate course of action.
  8. Succinctly and timely provide requested information to your attorney and organize it in a fashion as your attorney may so direct.
  9. Ask for updates at regular time intervals or before key completion dates are reached.
  10. Make sure that you return your attorney’s calls, texts, or emails promptly. Doing so will timely facilitate the needed exchange of information throughout the legal process. Expect your attorney to respond promptly as well.
  11. Work with your attorney and the law firm’s support personnel to keep an open mind to the facts as they may develop. The facts may develop and opportunities and options may become available to accomplish your goal.

If you work together as a team with your attorney and follow these suggestions, you are likely to find that friendship and trust may develop, which will enhance the process of smoothly and efficiently handling your future legal needs.

J. Mark McKinzie

J. Mark McKinzie


Author J. Mark McKinzie

Mark joined Riley Bennett Egloff LLP as a Partner over 19 years ago, after a distinguished career in corporate insurance law, rising to be Senior VP, General Counsel, and Secretary for the Meridian Insurance Companies overseeing the claims and claim litigation functions, all 1st party litigation, including any allegation of bad faith by the company and serving in that position prior to the company’s sale and merger with State Auto Insurance of Columbus Ohio.

With his business and legal background and extensive and varied experience, having represented plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of practice areas, Mark possesses and consistently demonstrates keen insight and pragmatic, resourceful solutions beneficial to the parties.

© Riley Bennett Egloff LLP

Disclaimer: Article is made available for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. If you have questions about any matters in this article, please contact the author directly.

Permissions: You are permitted to reproduce this material itn any format, provided that you do not alter the content in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. Please include the following statement on any distributed copy:  “By J. Mark McKinzie© Riley Bennett Egloff LLP – Indianapolis, Indiana. www.rbelaw.com”

Posted on October 7, 2021, by J. Mark McKinzie