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Old 09-13-2005, 06:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Atty. Records

Does anyone one know if I am legally entitled to a copy of all correspondense and time logs my attorney has relating to the fee I paid him? (See my other post "Auto Dealer..") I have never recv'd anything from him and he doesn't respond to any correspondense. Thanks
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Old 09-13-2005, 12:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Most, if not all states, require that attorneys must turn over all of the client's file including a breakdown of fees etc. If your attorney does not comply contact the state bar and file a complaint. They may be able to get you the results that you are looking for.
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Old 09-13-2005, 05:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Question

i need to know doest attorneys must explain the fanancial of your case
to the plantiff at all time . And also do they must give you a copy
of the contract you sign with them. and what they suppose to charge
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Old 09-14-2005, 01:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Cool How to have a great working relationship with your attorney

A little about working with an attorney:

Think of attorneys like contractors. Some contractors are great at client communication, many are not. Some are on time and well organized, many are not. They juggle numerous “jobs” or “cases” and often end up falling behind scheduled and doing things last minute. They are often behind and most have poor client satisfaction rates. The cheap ones are almost guaranteed to have these problems and the more expensive or moderately priced ones may or may not have these problems and you can’t tell from their years of experience or how much they charge.

Now the differences and what make Attorneys unique:

Attorneys are highly educated. They may not be trained on how to run a business, organize a practice or the basics of good client relations, but they generally have heads on their shoulders and will respond to a client that does not let them “get away” with slipping up on their duties. This is why it is important to be an active client in your case.

Attorneys are also highly regulated. In general, they are obligated to report their billings and to keep track of documents. They have to answer to Bar complaints and usually carry malpractice insurance. They have a higher obligation to their clients then any profession except maybe the medical profession and must even petition the court to be allowed to “drop” a client in a litigation or criminal matter, client does not pay!

Attorneys understand rules. They are trained to follow them. If you are clear with your attorney from the beginning as to what you expect, you can usually get it. Tell the attorney in the beginning what documents you would like to see and when. Ask them for a schedule of what they will be doing for you. Ask them for prompt and regular billings. (Note, they are not allowed to charge you for the time they spend billing you.) Ask them to explain their billing practices BEFORE you hire them. Do they bill travel expenses? What hourly increments do they bill in? How, if at all, do they bill for paralegal or junior associate time? Clarity is clear here. Don’t be scared to ask the tough questions in the beginning. The clearer you set out the rules in the beginning of the relationship, the more likely they will be followed. And always get everything in writing. The attorneys understand and respect this.

LegalMatch is great because it require attorneys who respond to your inquiries to specify billing structure in their offer. Even if this information is modified during the initial consultation, by forcing the attorneys and clients to talk about hard issues like billing, LegalMatch sets the right tone between the client and the attorney on how the attorney / client relationship should work. LegalMatch screens their attorneys, eliminating attorneys with histories of problems with clients, something that is almost impossible for non-attorneys to figure out from bar records. LegalMatch works with its attorney members to make sure that they treat clients they get through LegalMatch the way clients should be treated. LegalMatch provides clients with client ratings and allows clients to go back and rate an attorney poorly if they act poorly. This provides an additional source of recourse to clients, a source that often works much quicker a more effectively then complaining to Bar Associations. (Remember, Bar Associations are structured and run by those same attorneys.)

Sorry for sounding a bit like a LegalMatch commercial. But that is why the service helps minimize client problems. Regardless of whether you get your attorney through LegalMatch or through some other source, remember not to be intimidated by someone with a law degree. Attorneys are human and they make human mistakes. Treat them as equals and as people who work for you, not the other way around and you will minimize your problems. Be preemptive; don’t wait for a problem to occur before you act in your own best interests.

That’s how to have a great attorney / client relationship with the lawyer you hire!
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Old 09-15-2005, 05:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Talking How to have a great working relationship with your attorney

Thanks for the input. This probably won't read as favorable as you'd like but it's from a different prespective.
I am one of the fortunate few that understand the principles of ethics. Not something that is shared by all attorneys even thought they swear to be so.
Moreoften than not, attorneys fail to disclose ,up front, a simple thing to do, as every other contractor is required to, their charges until it becomes a problem for the unsuspecting/unknowledgeable client. And why or how would the client know what to ask? Nobody ever asks a Carpenter if they are going to charge for nails or their secretarys time. It's included in the "TOTAL" estimate cost.
If it weren't for such rediculous rules such as "ignorance of the law is no excuse" representing yourself in court would only be as "Simple" as telling a Judge or Jury your side of the story. Not being considered a "Fool".
The average Joe has no way of knowing every law out there nor would he even have access to such information or because of the legalese it is written in would he understand it without an attorney to decode it. AH HA! We are back at the original problem. How much will it cost for an attorney?
The Legal system as well as the Medical professions being "Self regulating" are of course not subject to any outside influences. What does that mean to the consumer? "Don't count on any consumer relief, we're guarding our own."
All you have to do is read what the State Bar or AMA will "Actually" do for the consumer to understand this.
At some time in everyones life they will probably have need to hire a Lawyer. It is not something most people do on a regular basis so it should be obvious to the highly educated ones, the attorneys, that they need to clearly and concisely explain their charges up front.
I know this probably sounds alot like "Lawyer Bashing" but it's not intended that way, but it's more straight forward than the reponse you get from an attorney when you ask "How much will this cost me?"
I consider Lawyers to be as equally liable as any other working person and have no reservations in bringing an attorney to court any more than I would a Mechanic when necessary.
I haven't had any dealings with an attorney from LegalMatch so I have no reference to draw from. Hopefully, I will find one that has the scruples to conduct themselves in the manner in which your describe. Regards.
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Old 09-15-2005, 02:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with you that the legal system in this country has problems. It is self regulating and because of that the consumer protection principles it is supposed to protect are not always protected.

All contractors and other such professionals I’ve encountered make the same mistakes as attorneys do in clear disclosure to their clients. That is the point I was trying to get across. The other point is one that you seem to be already willing to follow, which is to be hands on with your hired attorney and not to be intimidated by them or assume that everything they are doing is right.

Beyond that, the only solution is a complete overhaul of our legal system including allowing non-lawyers to practice law and eliminating the self regulating Bar Associations. That would require a massive political campaign since it would be fighting some very powerful special interests.
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Old 09-15-2005, 03:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Atty Rcds

How true and we know that's not going to happen soon. I travel alot and hire contractors all over the country. There really isn't much difference in performance standards only in the way they perform. My best advice to anyone is to ask everything you can think of before you sign anything. Put it in writing no matter how insignifigant it seems now, it surely will come to haunt you later.
I don't want to dispose of any legal representation just dislike the idea of self-regulation. I can't think of one instance that really works out best for the majority.
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Old 12-14-2005, 07:06 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Exclamation Atty Rcds

As an Update to this post,
The attorney in question has finally managed to send me a concerned "fishing expedition" email regarding what my legal intentions were while totally denying any wrong doings.(surprise)
I of course didn't disclose anything at the time.
However, I am suing him and filing a complaint with the State Bar Association.
So we will see how well self-governing works out.
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Old 12-15-2005, 06:53 PM   #9 (permalink)
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You may want to respond to that email. It may be an opportunity to settle (always cheaper) if the attorney is worried. Just make sure that you don't say anything you'll regret. Your response WILL be used against you.

If you don't respond, and don't do anything, the attorney can always go to court and say he "tried" to communicate with you, and you did not respond. He'll claim that's an implicit admission that you have no claim.

Be careful!
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Old 12-15-2005, 07:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thumbs up Atty Rcds

Thanks, I have and will.
Win,loose or draw I'll get "some" use of his time for my money, even if it is in his playground.
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