I Want to Talk to an Attorney About My Case
Even in our office, you aren’t going to talk to your attorney every time you call. There are legitimate reasons that good firms have you talk to a paralegal sometimes. Many times your issue can be adequately handled by an experienced paralegal. That frees up the attorney’s time to work on matters that only an attorney can work on.
What bothers me is that I talk with people who hire a law firm to handle their case but they never get to talk to an attorney. The client always deals with a “case manager” or paralegal. In my opinion there are several times that the client must be able to talk with the attorney:
- At the first appointment. The law firm and attorney are who you are hiring. You deserve to meet your attorney face to face. You deserve to decide if you like that person and are comfortable hiring her and her firm to work for you. And during that first meeting you will undoubtedly have questions that are appropriate for only an attorney to answer.
- If you have questions about your medical treatment. Getting the best medical treatment in order to recover as well as possible is critical to our clients. There are times a client needs help understanding how to effectively communicate with his medical provider; or the client has insurance but the medical provider wants the client to pay up front; or the client is dissatisfied with the treatment he is getting and wants to change medical providers. Anything as important as your medical care justifies your attorney’s time.
- When you are discussing settling your case. When to try and settle and how much your case is worth are important discussions concerning your case. I question the quality of work an attorney does if she doesn’t want to be the one to talk to you about those decisions and answer questions you have.
- Whether to accept an offer on your case or to reject it and file suit. This is where the rubber meets the road. If you decide not to settle, you will enter into the litigation process. While litigation may be the right choice, there are lots of factors to consider, and only an attorney should be helping you make that decision.
- Anytime you want to talk to your attorney. Sometimes, even though the client feels confident talking to my paralegal, the client wants to talk to me. Maybe it’s to know I’m on top of the case or to verify something my paralegal has told the client. Clients have the right to talk to their attorney anytime they feel they need to. Sometimes a client asks to talk to me, and after we talk I realize it’s something my paralegal could have handled. That doesn’t matter. If the client feels he needs to talk to me – for whatever reason – that’s ok.
An attorney who doesn’t either have the time to or want to talk to her clients is too busy to handle a case effectively or not interested enough in the client to deserve being hired. Before you hire a law firm to represent you, it is absolutely legitimate to ask at what points in the case you can be sure you will talk to your attorney, and whether you will be allowed to talk to your lawyer when you feel you need to. If you don’t feel 100% comfortable with the answer, talk to some others attorneys.