So this is it. I’m officially in my last week of work before the long awaited maternity leave and amid the nightmare of trying to prepare all of my clients’ files for whatever awaits them when I go, some of my clients (most are pretty lovely) have done nothing but get increasingly more difficult to deal with.
I know that dealing with a solicitor is not a pleasant experience in most cases because it means something has gone wrong somewhere along the line. For me, it means you’ve been injured in a car accident, which sucks, I know. But there are ways that you can make the process much less painful, less expensive and less time consuming no matter what your issue is.
This is a quick list for would-be clients of the legal profession that hopefully helps you get through whatever it is you need us for. These are my Top 5 tips to help your legal representative help you.
1. If we ask you for documentation, it’s because we need it. Please help us out – We aren’t being lazy or awkward when we ask for stuff. The process of getting your information is much, much quicker when you are involved in the process and in turn, it gets your issue resolved a lot faster. Keep hold of everything (no matter how irrelevant you might think it is) and send us the whole bloody lot. No solicitor will ever complain that you have sent them ‘too much information’. Ever.
2. Don’t try to talk to us in what you think is legal jargon. Normal, plain old English is absolutely perfect – A mistake that a lot of clients make when corresponding with their solicitor is plonking weird words and complicated phrases into e-mails and letters. Please, please don’t do this. We, as professionals, are encouraged not to use any kind of technical language with clients so we sure as hell don’t want you lot to start picking up on terminology that you picked up on the latest episode of Law and Order. Just be clear in what you want, keep it simple and so will we.
3. Don’t bombard us with e-mails, telephone calls or letters and for crying out loud open your post – A solicitor charges for their time. Every telephone call, letter and e-mail we receive is chargeable as is every response, because it takes time. For the sake of your wallet and our sanity, please do not harass your solicitor with three daily e-mails and constant phone calls. The only thing it will achieve is losing you money and the patience of your already swamped solicitor. In the same vein, don’t make your solicitor chase you for a response. It only costs you more by putting it off.
4. Please be as honest with us as you possibly can – When dealing with legal matters, the only right answers to our questions are honest ones. So many clients omit certain details because they think it helps. It can seriously harm your case as well as your relationship with us. Every little bit of information you can remember, tell us. Good or bad, if we know early enough we can generally work around it for you. Two weeks before trial? Not so much.
5. Your mates in the pub do not know better than us – You would be amazed at the amount of clients who refuse to accept our advice because their sister’s husband’s cousin’s friend (who also is always a barrister) has said that they’re entitled to more. It is not in our interest to rip you off despite how the legal profession is portrayed by most. Remember, the longer your case goes on, the more we make from you, so if we’re saying that its run its course then it definitely has.
Hopefully, most of you won’t need this advice, but if you do then keep it in mind to help the whole process tick along smoothly. What have your experiences with the legal profession been like? Let us know your stories, good or bad (we’re not all awesome) in the comments!
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