So you have now decided to hire an attorney. First, shop around, speak with your friends and colleagues about their experiences. Make sure your attorney has handled cases and law suits involving your issues. Find out how many cases and the attorneys experience in that area. Discuss the fee and other charges. Make sure you understand your financial obligations for fees and costs up front.
Next, tell you lawyer everything. Don’t leave anything out. The lawyer needs to know it all so he/she can provide you with the best advice. Give your attorney all the documents, emails, texts, etc. (keep you own copies too).
Ask about the process…what is involved…what normally occurs so you can at least have some idea of how the legal system works in your case and what to expect from the other side.
Finally, ask about mediation and other alternative dispute resolution procedures. Ask how it works and what you as the client need to be prepared for. Listen to your attorney but do not be afraid to ask questions until you understand the process. As I have explained before…mediation is your process and you together with your attorney make the final decision whether to settle your case or not. Have a plan B or backup plan if your first strategy is not successful. DO NOT BE AFRAID of mediation. It is an alternative to more expensive litigation. Be truthful with the mediator whose only job is to help you and the other side resolve the dispute in a satisfactory manner to all sides. Mediation offers you the opportunity to decide your case as opposed to a Judge or a jury of strangers deciding for you. It is a confidential process not open to the public like a courtroom. And it can be in most cases less expensive and faster. If you are successful than your dispute is resolved and you will be able to move on with your life and your business. If you are unsuccessful than you can proceed with your litigation however do not be discouraged. Most cases will settle before trial and even an unsuccessful mediation may get all parties and attorneys thinking in the right direction.
If you have any questions about mediation please submit them to this newsletter and I shall respond to them.