How to help us help you!
For many years I have said I would write a book entitled: “How to Talk to a Lawyer.” Since I haven’t gotten around to writing that book yet, here are a few simple things to help us help you.
- Be specific
- Complete worksheets
- Don’t wait
- Respond promptly- and use email!
1. Be specific when contacting our office. No certain wording or terms are needed but it is helpful to say for example: “I’m interested in a will” “ Someone died and I need to know how to handle the will”; “There is no will and I am one of three children.” Our staff will take your contact information and send you the appropriate worksheets and forms to gather information before your appointment. They will also make your appointment, and make sure we have all of the information we need to have an efficient meeting.
2. Complete our worksheets to the best of your ability. You should not have to use Herculean efforts to gather the information. If you don’t know something, just put a ?. If you are not sure, just ask at the meeting. It sure is helpful to have at least full names and contact information for everyone involved. We also need this to make sure we don’t have any conflicts of interest.
3. Don’t wait until the last minute and expect everything to be done quickly. We pride ourselves on responding promptly and preparing your documents quickly. But we don’t want to get in a rush and miss something or leave something out you forgot. We understand that it is human nature to put off things we don’t want to do-but when you wait until the last minute we sometimes can’t meet your timeline. A typical Estate plan is completed in six weeks or less. A typical Probate/Succession takes 8 to 12 weeks. However, we can’t get the documents done when you don’t give us the information needed. Just because you are in town for the first time in six years doesn’t mean we can solve all the issues with your parents in one day.
4. Respond promptly when we ask you for information or send you documents to review. You will get the most prompt service when you have an email address we can send documents and questions to. It takes much more time to call, leave a message (is your voice mail box full or you don’t have one?) wait for you to return the call, take the information and then revise the documents and mail them. If you don’t have email get someone you trust to set up an email account for you or just ask someone if they would agree to receive the information from us and go over it with you. We can mail it too- but again, that takes longer. If you have an email CHECK IT often. It is very frustrating to get a call that says – I haven’t heard from you- when we emailed your documents to you at the email you gave us weeks ago.
5. Let us know if you have a deadline: surgery, going out of town, etc. We will try to get your documents done before your event. However, we cannot promise that we will meet your deadline, as we have many clients who deserve equal attention.
6. Direct billing inquiries to the bookkeeper. Our friendly bookkeeper Janice will answer your questions and if necessary alert us to any issues. Which brings up the #1 issue:
We are so sorry but we cannot personally speak to every person who calls the office. As much as we would love to get on the phone with every person who calls, it is just not possible. We make every effort to reply to every person who contacts our office everyday. However, with a small office and a (blessedly) large clientelle, it is just impossible for two attorneys to personally call back every person. You are important to us and we would love to talk to you, but in order to get the work out timely we can’t do it. If it is something you don’t feel comfortable conveying to a staff person, let them know and they will schedule you a phone appointment so we can give you our full attention.
Lastly, we typically can’t help you when you drop by unannounced, especially when you are “just checking on things” or “found another account dad had that we left out.” I don’t always remember every detail of every matter I have handled for the last 37 years. If you call (or EMAIL) your inquiry we can pull up the old information and try and help us help you.
Ways to contact us: Through the website portal. Contact Us!
Email to client representatives email@example.com
Personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for trusting us and helping us help you!