Tips for Working with a Lawyer Jul 3, 2017 Get the Most Out of Your Work with Your Lawyer When you work with an estate planning lawyer, whether to create your own estate plan, help with a loved one’s estate, you want to do the best you can to get the best value and quality of work possible. Here are some tips to find the most success while working with your estate planning lawyer who can best fulfill your values. Come to know not only the lawyer, but also the legal staff. You will be working and interacting with all of them , so it is important to have an open and positive relationship with each of them. The paralegal and legal assistants are there to assist the lawyer help you. If you pay your lawyer hourly, you should try to interact with the legal staff first as they have lower billable rates. If the lawyer has to get involved, they will, but if work can be done with the staff, that may be preferable. Be organized on your own. The less you have to rely on the lawyer, the less you will pay and the more the lawyer and legal staff will enjoy working with you. This makes the whole process more efficient, quicker, and decreases the chance of multiple meetings and communications if you forget something. If you keep your originals at your home, you should keep them in a safe place. Copies are sufficient when working with an lawyer unless you are starting the probate process or other scenarios. Your lawyer will let you know when originals are needed. You need to be willing to be open and honest with your lawyer. How must you disclose to your lawyer impacts the quality of legal advice you receive. Holding back facts or lying helps no one and creates problems down the road. Your lawyer is there to help you, not judge you. That said, if you cannot trust your lawyer or if your lawyer is judgmental, you may want to look for another lawyer. If you do not like an lawyer’s advice, that may not mean you need to move on, but you should again be open and honest with that feedback, as it may lead to a better solution. Come to meetings prepared with questions, goals, and whatever else you feel is important to discuss. This prevents forgotten topics and follow-up calls which use up time and increase bills. Take notes. You will not remember everything. You are a partner in accomplishing your goals, so you need to be proactive in clarifying points and taking notes. These are your goals, so the more the know and remember, the more success you will have. Final Thoughts When you hire a lawyer, you are also hiring the legal staff so you can reach your goals. We are all in this together, and having a relationship and working well is vital for everyone.