For most matters, legal services practitioners bill clients at an hourly rate. For simple legal issues, the hourly rate may be less than $100 an hour. For challenging and complex legal issues, the most expensive lawyers charge more than $1,000 an hour. Accordingly, saving time means saving money!
Some of the easiest ways clients can help the practitioner remain focused on the legal issues is for the client to help the practitioner by doing some administrative work. This includes assisting with:
- The gathering and copying of ALL documents relevant to the legal matter in both hard copy and electronic copy;
- The preparation of a chronology written in an organized, one fact per sentence, fashion;
- The prompt attention to voice mail or email messages, especially prompt response to urgent questions so as to avoid causing the practitioner to spend time making follow up calls; and
- The getting to the heart of the matter when discussing the case with the practitioner by avoiding excessive 'small talk' - your practitioner will be unhurt if conversations skip the weather.
Additionally, clients save money, and help the practitioner focus on the legal issues, by sticking to the facts. Of course, this is very difficult at times as clients are often emotional and want to express the impact a legal matter is having. A good legal practitioner will be empathetic to the suffering of a client while also ensuring that discussions remain focused on developing legal solutions. To save time, and thus money, it is important that a client, even while emotional, remember that facts win cases. Emotional sufferings come into play only in regards to monetary awards and the emotional sufferings must be substantiated with medical reports and records. A legal practitioner is NOT a therapist. As Joe Friday often said, "The facts Ma'am, just the facts."