How To Be The Best Client

The culture of America has made it such that business attorney Tulsa is most often hired for a specific purpose. Usually following some type of traumatic events like a car wreck, termination from employment, a marital divorce, or even death. Often, tensions are high and emotions are higher. This is completely understandable. If you are injured from a car wreck and can no longer participate in the things you love, if you find the love of your life in bed with another person, or if someone in your family dies unexpectedly, then, of course, you are going to be emotional. As business attorney Tulsa, this is very much the norm for us. We are accustomed to clients being emotional, getting frustrated, and having various outbursts. This is something we are trained to handle.

Let’s assume you aspire to be the best client you can be for your lawyer. What are the things you need to do to be the best client you can be? Here are a few ideas.

First, do what your lawyer says. I cannot tell you how many times I, as a business attorney Tulsa, have dispensed sound legal advice that goes in one ear and out the other. My colleagues who practice in the family law arena tell me this is a very frequent problem. Here is the lone example of why I do not and will never take family law cases. I once thought I was called to be a family law attorney. The client had an eighteen-month-old baby who was crawling along on the carpet. Unknown to the child, my client’s boyfriend was passed out drunk in a recliner. He knocked off a bottle of Vicodin and spilled them on the floor. You can imagine what happened next. The child swallowed one of the pills. Thankfully, the baby immediately ambulated to the hospital and her stomach was pumped. She lived, thankfully. Not surprisingly, the child’s father applied for an emergency custody hearing. When we arrived, the judge pulled both myself and opposing counsel into chambers. The judge told me, to get me up to speed, that the child’s father recently yelled at the judge at the last hearing. That is a big no-no as an aside. The child’s father was kicked out of the judge’s courtroom. The judge told us we had 10 minutes to come up with an agreement or he was calling child protective services. I swore I, as a business attorney Tulsa, would never handle another such case again.

Second, if you are required to appear for any type of court appearance or deposition, dress like you are going to a professional interview. I cannot tell you how many times I as a business attorney Tulsa have presented a client for a deposition in a hooded sweatshirt, a t-shirt, or some other form of inappropriate attire. It makes you look bad and makes your attorney look bad. It harms your credibility as a witness which in turn diminishes the value of your case. Just trust me. Dress up.

Third, treat the opposing business attorney Tulsa, judge, court staff with respect. I remember I once presented a client for a deposition with an opposing attorney who was very nice to me. The client became extremely disrespectful during the deposition. She questioned if the lawyer was “stupid.” I asked to go off the record. I took my client out in the hallway and very firmly told her she needed to apologize to the other business attorney Tulsa. The client did. The other lawyer was very classy about the entire ordeal. Later, the other lawyer told me that the case value went down considerably after the insult. Looking back, I agree. You have to treat other people with respect, even if they are not necessarily advocating for your best interest.

Fourth, be on time. Here is a quick story. Oklahoma has a process for settling a minor’s injury lawsuits called a “friendly suit.” A friendly suit is where the Court approves a settlement for a minor child if the child is to receive more than $1,000.00 so long as the settlement is in the best interests of the child. This particular client was very upset that she was not receiving any money from the settlement. I arrived at the hearing on time. I called the client numerous times and every time I called, she told me she was on her way. She was two hours late for the hearing. She did not apologize to me. The first question out of her mouth as if she could have $50.00 for a “cab ride.” I said no as the money was her child’s, not hers. She apologized to the judge. I made her apologize to the other attorney. It was very embarrassing for me. I would never represent that client again even if it was a million-dollar case. Most attorneys would agree. If you are running late, be a good human being. Call. Apologize. Do the right thing.

Finally, get your lawyer the information the business attorney Tulsa asks for promptly. Most lawsuits engage in what is called written discovery requests. Answering them makes lawyers cringe for several reasons. First, it is usually the same questions over and over and over again. Second, clients routinely fail to timely provide information.