How to Handle an Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney

It never hurts to be prepared for any situation, so here is some advice on how to handle the initial consultation with a personal injury attorney.

1. Research the attorney. First, if you have not already done so, do a little internet research about the attorney. Take a look at the attorney’s website. See if anyone has provide any review of the attorney. This type of information will give you some insight into the attorney and their qualifications prior to the consultation.

2. Call the attorney’s office and speak to an intake paralegal. Don’t be surprised if you don’t get a hold of the attorney on the first telephone call. Attorney calendars usually stay full and the attorney may or may not even be in the office. Nevertheless, ask to meet with the attorney in person for a short consultation. Also ask what information you should bring to the meeting.

3. Get your ducks in a row. Before the meeting, get together documentation which may be relevant to your case. These items will likely include your auto insurance policy, photographs, police reports, and any other relevant evidence you may have which is relevant to your case.

4. Tell the attorney everything. At the consultation, tell the attorney everything. Usually the best way is to quickly tell the attorney your story and then allow the attorney to ask you questions to help the attorney better understand what they consider to be the important aspects of your claim.

5. Be forthcoming a truthful. At the consultation, be fully forthcoming and truthful about the facts of your case. You should not be afraid of this. If there is an ugly part of your case which you believe may be unfavorable, failing to tell you attorney about it will serve you no benefit. Often, if an attorney finds out something negative about their client or their client’s case early in the representation, the attorney is able to effectively minimize the impact of that negative. However, if you allow your attorney to be blindsided by the opposing party late in you case, your attorney may not be able to effectively reduce the impact of the negative. Furthermore, if you are caught in a lie, it will only hurt your case and if the lie is big enough you may well lose your case entirely.

6. Ask your attorney questions. Once your have completed the foregoing items, ask your attorney all the questions you want to know about them and your case.

Follow these simple steps, and you will be prepared and able to effectively handle an initial consultation with a personal injury attorney.

Stress, Anxiety, and Substance Abuse as a Cause of Impairment in Lawyers

“One of every four lawyers suffers from stress, and out of 105 occupations, lawyers rank first in depression. In addition, a disproportionate number of lawyers commit suicide. These are some of the troubling conclusions that can be found in various studies of addiction and depression.” Reports Robert Stein, ABA Executive Director, in the June 2005 issue of the ABA Journal.

The costs of stress, alcoholism, and drug abuse is very high for the legal profession. The American Bar Association and all state bar associations have provided “lawyer assistance programs” that can help to treat “impaired” lawyers. Most of these programs also address the issues of clinical depression and disorders related to gambling, sex, and eating.

If you do not realize the significance of this troubling situation, consider being represented in your important legal matters by an impaired attorney. It could cost you thousands of dollars or even your freedom if you or your interests are not protected by competent legal professionals. In the state of California, there is a requirement for Continuing Legal Education (CLE’s) which includes a minimum of 1 hour every 3 years on stress management or substance abuse for all licensed, practicing lawyers to maintain their license to practice law.

The practice of law is inherently stressful. Much of the time lawyers find themselves battling with other legal professionals for their clients best interests. Trail lawyers must think quickly and communicate with precision and skill in the courtroom. Corporate lawyers must be concerned with legal details that require focused attention and great care. The competition to be successful as an attorney can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.

People preparing to become attorneys often struggle with stress in law school and in the multi-day testing that is required to “pass the bar.” The stressful issues that can begin in law school can set up future practicing attorneys for bad habits in coping with the stress and anxiety of the profession. Some law schools offer coursework for life skill management to better prepare their students to be able to perform at the highest level for their clients and for their quality of life.

Because lawyers are trained to be precise and use their cerebral abilities for day to day work, they are often in denial regarding the needs for stress and anxiety management until bad habits are established or symptoms cause significant challenges. Even managing general partners in major law firms have great professional and personal concerns regarding “impairment” within their organizations. An accidental mistake or oversight can open a law firm to their own costly law suits for malpractice. Many concerned managing partners are requiring that their attorneys practice preventive measures to control stress, anxiety, and depression. This can be found in group trainings, EAP’s or individual coaching. Coaching can also offer enhancements to time management, improved communication skills, and long term career planning. An interesting and unexpected benefit to this training and coaching is that this preventive work can actually save lawyers time and energy by helping to minimize the impact of distractions due to stress. This improves performance and can help to increase profitability. Key personnel are important assests and professional coaching or mentoring programs have huge cost benefits.

Everyone, even lawyers, require professional assistance to get through the difficult periods. Lawyers just seem to require more attention as they work to survive, at the highest functioning levels, in the “meat grinder” of their professional life. Most people who know practicing attorneys know that their attorney family members or friends can benefit from a sense of humor and better stress management. In increasing frequency, law firms are using retreats to help de-compress and then get down to business planning.

More information can be found in the article by Robert Stein at
http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/colap/ABAJournal200506_Help.html

Deciding On A Personal Injury Attorney

Accidents Happen

In a perfect world adults would act like grown-ups, admit fault and accept responsibility for their actions. But this world is far from ideal and not everyone acts like adults. Not everyone wants to pay the consequences for what they do. Even insurance companies are looking to take advantage of you by settling for the least amount of money that is possible. If you have been hurt you should contact a personal injury lawyer.

Personal Injury Attorneys Explain Your Rights

Personal Injury Attorneys know what rights you have under the law and can simply explain them to you. But in the case of personal injury, time is not always on your side. Even the best case imaginable has a time limit attached to it and even easy cases need documentation from the start.

Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney

You need to select the best attorney. The one that knows the law the best and one that has experience dealing with your type of case. You need to put more effort into seeking out an attorney than just dialing a 1-800 number from a TV ad, or picking the lawyer with the biggest ad in the phone book. Those things say more about that attorney’s marketing ability than their actual skill, knowledge and expertise.

The Best Way to Find an Attorney is by Word of Mouth

Talk with people you know who have worked with attorneys before and talk to those lawyers. Speak with any attorneys that you have worked with in the past. Even if they do not deal with personal injury they likely can lead you to an attorney that they know who does work in personal injury and that they feel does their work well. In speaking to all these different attorneys you may see that a certain name is mentioned by a few attorneys. That name is probably worth pursuing.

You can also check the records of lawyers you speak to through associations like the Better Business Bureau. You can also find websites with client reviews of attorneys and see whether on not a certain lawyer is on good terms with their clients and if clients like their work.

Picking a Personal Injury Attorney

When you trim down your list to the names, and firms of the lawyers that you want to be represented by you now have to set up an appointment. Many attorneys will give you your first appointment without charging you, but others may charge a consulting fee. Paying that fee is your choice, but you should meet with more than one attorney to get a feel for how strong your case is. Also try to find out each attorney’s background in handling cases like yours and an idea of how much time handling the case would take. Remember to ask about cost and how payment would be handled.

Many times the outcome of a case can be decided by the effort you exert trying to find the most qualified attorney to represent you.

Do a lot of research and ask tough, but important questions and you will find a great personal injury attorney.