The Modern Legal Client: Taking matters into their own hands

‘We settled!’

I love hearing those words — especially when they are followed by ‘Great Result!’

These days lawyers need to get creative. We need to think ‘outside the box’ and tailor our legal services to the financial and emotional needs of our client. Savvy Family Law clients have found access to free or low cost online resources such as online case forms, chat rooms and support groups, laws and codes, and local court procedure.

One of the first things I like to do is get to know the prospective client. Her needs, wants, goals etc. However, what is true in the first moments often evolve over time. A recent divorce client of ours came to while his case was in total crisis. He had been accused of abusing his young son – a terrible (false) accusation with extreme ramifications. Given the severity of the potential consequences and the need for sophisticated knowledge of law and procedure, we (client and I) decided that it was best for me to enter his case as his attorney of record. However, once those issues were resolved (he resumed having custody!), we strategized and determined it was most cost effective and strategic for him to represent himself in the property division portion of his case.

With our guidance, he was able to successfully prepare his case for trial. We kept him in the loop with changes in the law and case deadlines. We strategized with him, coordinated experts and gave much needed reality checks when emotion was getting in the way of practical decision making. All the while we were ready to ‘jump in’ if the case did not settle. While opposing counsel was skilled and committed to the case, he couldn’t possibly have put the effort and energy into the matter that the client could — someone who lives and breathes the facts of the case and is whole heartedly invested in the outcome. Needless to say, on the eve before trial, our client’s offer was accepted — thousand’s less than he anticipated having to pay if litigated.

There are a ton of different ways a lawyer can assist you in a divorce or family law action. Not all of them involve full representation of the hefty retainer that comes with it.

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