“Thought for the Day” #881 – by Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M.

January 11, 2017

Elements or success clues in the attorney selection process that establish a reasonable basis for choosing to work with the attorney include, but are not limited, to these:  (1) credibility of the source that referred you to the attorney; (2) initial impressions – is the attorney empathetic, warm, communicative, attentive, and focused on your concerns (not focused solely on themselves or technical information)?; (3) counselor and not just technician – does the attorney and his or her law firm see themselves as counselors and not just legal-technical knowledge banks?; (4) collaboration – does the attorney believe in and practice a collaborative approach with other professionals – CPAs, financial advisors, insurance and other professionals?; (5) process – does the attorney have a planning process?; (6) approach – does the attorney have an educational approach or a paternalistic approach (there is a difference)?; (7) client care and communications – does the attorney and his or her law firm have a client care program for continuing education, maintenance, and updating, and do they communicate with clients frequently through a newsletter or other media?; and lastly (8) experience, knowledge and credentials – how many years of experience does the attorney possess, what is their background and knowledge base, what professional designations have they earned, if any, what professional organizations do they belong to, and what do they do on an annual basis to maintain and enhance their professional knowledge?  It is not coincidental that element (8), while very important, is at the bottom of this list.