“Setting Your Expectations”

Common sense – one of the legal consumer’s best tools for navigating the attorney client relationship – can be found in the unlikeliest of places, even in a home remodeling magazine:

House Drawing: In Progress

House Drawing: In Progress (Photo credit: Lokesh_Dhakar)

No matter where you are in the home remodeling process, it’s important that you set your expectations for your remodeled home, as well as for the professionals you are or will be working with.  Although it’s best to lay out your needs, wants and goals before you get started, it’s never too late to clarify them.

So advises Lorraine Hart of Ideal Consulting Services in her article “Setting Your Expectations” in the Fall.Winter.2013 issue of Remodeling Today (remodelinform.com).  Just substitute the words “legal matter” for “home remodeling/remodeled home” and you have solid advice for legal consumers: it’s never to late to clarify your needs, wants and goals with your attorney.

Ms. Hart offers other tidbits that are applicable in the legal arena:

DO YOUR HOMEWORK – In setting your expectations [in the legal arena] there are a number of factors to look at. Most of these factors entail doing some homework. Depending on your needs and wants, this homework can be relatively simple and straight forward, or much more complex. Just keep in mind that the more prepared you are, the better the outcome will be.

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YOUR BUDGET – Equally important to your pre-planning is determining your budget . . . ‘Don’t be afraid to ask your [lawyer] if they have a job cost system . . . In other words, are they keeping track of your money. Can they tell you bi-weekly what they’ve spent on your job so you can make sure you’re getting the value they promised.’

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OPTIONS – Even if it’s not possible to get everything you want, there are often alternative choices and options to ensure that you will be happy . . . . [the lawyer] you choose to work with can and [should] assist you in selecting various options to ensure that you will achieve your goals.

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PRIORITIZE – Even though you may not get everything you want, you can certainly end up with a [positive outcome] . . . The key is to prioritize your needs and wants. . . . [C]reating and using a wish list . . . [and] communicating your priorities is an essential element in preparing for your [legal matter].

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MOVING FORWARD – By learning about the current market in your area, clarifying your expectations, researching and prioritizing your options, and determining your budget you will have taken the first necessary steps in creating a successful [legal outcome].

Wise legal consumers use their common sense and carefully consider sound advise regardless of the source.  And, when setting or revisiting expectations of their lawyers or legal matters, wise legal consumers do their homework, set and keep an eye on the budget, consistently reevaluate their options, prioritize their needs and wants, and above all, keep moving forward.  Sound advice for the legal arena indeed comes from unlikely sources.

You’ve got options.  The Center for Legal Practice Reform can help you navigate the attorney/client relationship and level the playing field.  Call LPR today for a free consultation – (301) 351-7970.

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