MANY COST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO USE A LAWYER
Cost-benefit analysis is wise when you consider hiring a lawyer. After you got the great value of Advantage Denton lawyer finding services and the 30 minute lawyer interview for $99, how can you continue to get the most for your money when using lawyer services? Learn about it here:
- One Lawyer
- Collaborative Law
- Cooperative Law
- Unbundled Legal Services
- Transactional Services
- Negotiation Representation
- Traditional Litigation Representation
Both sides get help from one lawyer to learn all of the legal advice either side would have received if they had come in to meet separately with the lawyer. This does not create a conflict of interest because both sides agree to the process in the first place and the attorney is neutral, giving all legal advice and information to both sides at all times. After the legal advice is provided, the lawyer acts as a mediator to help the parties negotiate settlement of all issues they need to resolve. At the parties' request, the lawyer will also provide advice like a Settlement Conference Judge and give the parties an idea what a ruling from the bench would be for a difficult issue.
When agreements are reached, the lawyer creates and files any legal documents needed to finalize resolved issues. In the unlikely event that the issues can not be resolved with One Lawyer services, the right to hire separate lawyers and go to court is preserved. The lawyer makes sure filing deadlines are known and rights preserved. The lawyers who provide One Lawyer services have ten or more years of subject area practice experience and excellent credentials. Less experienced lawyers can act as One Lawyer if they consult with such an experienced lawyer as a mentor to review each significant legal issue. The highest standards of legal practice must be used and the lawyer has an ethical duty not to allow parties to abuse an imbalance of power or to reach illegal or unethical agreements.
One Lawyer can be used for many different areas of law and is particularly appropriate when people or companies don't want to make their issues a matter of public record more than necessary, such as in a business contract dispute, family law matter, or a neighborhood issue where privacy and ongoing relationships should be preserved.
Some folks who now choose to represent themselves in court to save lawyer battle fees and/or the ugliness of hiring lawyers to fight each other, would be much better served with One Lawyer. One Lawyer services are not available everywhere. Clients want One Lawyer and are surprised when they learn that it may be difficult to find. It just makes so much sense to have one lawyer help both sides. While the Sage Lawyer may charge more per hour (and take fewer hours to accomplish things), the cost savings of sharing the cost of the lawyer services and avoiding court battles make this one of the least expensive ways to use an attorney. One Lawyer services are also sometimes available for a set fee instead of pay by the hour.
2. MEDIATION involves an attorney meeting with both parties, sometimes including the parties' lawyers, for confidential negotiation of solutions for people who disagree. Some mediators are not attorneys.
The mediator is a neutral person in charge of the process of negotiating a solution to a problem, usually with both parties present, sometimes with “shuttle diplomacy”. Here are the steps in a normal mediation:
- The mediator explains the process.
- Each side has an uninterrupted chance to explain to the mediator what they think about the issues that brought them to mediation.
- The mediator usually “reflects back”, repeating the high points, to make sure they got the information right after each side speaks.
- Each side gets a chance to add to and clarify their initial comments until they have had their say.
- The mediator and parties write up a list of issues raised by either or both parties.
- Issues are addressed one by one, sometimes skipping over harder ones to come back to later.
- Sometimes, the mediator will take turns meeting separately with each side to work confidentially on figuring out how they can best understand the other side, or to figure out and prepare presentation of ideas about issues. This is called "caucus".
- As agreements are reached, they are written down. The mediator and parties sign and date agreements on resolved matters.
- Mediation sessions often run for about two hours and it often takes two sessions, or more, to wrap up the work.
When the mediator is a subject matter expert, like an experienced attorney, they may help the parties with information about legal rights or how other people have resolved similar issues. If the mediator is not an expert, they must not give opinions of their own about how to resolve issues.
Mediation is a great way to use an attorney's services without the risk of court expense or public exposure of private information. People who reach agreements in mediation have a very high rate of keeping their word and following the terms of the agreement.
If arbitration is binding, it is a permanent resolution of the dispute and can not be appealed to court. Binding arbitration is often used in contracts. Non-binding arbitration is often required by courts for cases below a certain dollar amount. Non binding arbitration results can be retried at court, but sometimes you pay a penalty if you don't get better results at the end of the court retrial.
An arbitrator is usually a highly qualified attorney selected by agreement between the parties. The arbitrator convenes a hearing which includes presentation of evidence under less strict rules than are required in a courtroom. Sometimes the arbitrator asks questions and seeks out information. Sometimes arbitration is conducted by more than one arbitrator.
Arbitration can not resolve issues which the law says only courts can handle. Usually, cases where someone is asking the court to order something other than money relief can not be arbitrated.
Arbitration saves a huge amount of money and is more private than filing all documents and having hearings in a public courthouse. Usually parties want to have lawyers represent them during arbitration, but an arbitrator does have leeway to be flexible with rules to get at the truth when a self represented party appears.
4. COLLABORATIVE LAW is a fairly new and growing way for two (or more) lawyers to work with their clients toward an agreed solution to their case. No court hearings or battles happen in a collaborative case.
- Clients and lawyers sign a contract right up front that the case will not be litigated in court during the collaborative process, along with committing to open disclosure and other goals .
- If either side takes the case to court, both sides must get new lawyers.
- Most work is done in four-way meetings where both lawyers and clients openly discuss the issues and follow a structure to deal with first things first and build on successful agreements reached.
- Some collaborative cases use additional experts for advice. What role those experts will play is agreed up front.
- Sometimes other counselor-type "coaches" help clients (and children, when families are involved) get through the process.
- The lawyers sometimes communicate with each other and their respective clients outside of the meetings. Clients also communicate with each other, in agreed ways.
- Both clients and lawyers often have "homework" to do between sessions. The lawyers tend to share the legal work in an agreed way.
- Formal discovery and some other processes from court rules and laws are not available in a collaborative case, rather the emphasis is on open, honest communication and disclosure to reach acceptable results.
5. COOPERATIVE LAW is a process almost exactly like collaborative law, except the agreement signed by the parties and lawyers specifically states that if either party feels that the collaborative process has broken down, they still have the right to use their same lawyer to have a court resolve the controversy. Formal discovery and other court processes are usually not needed in a cooperative law case, but they are available if the parties move on to traditional litigation to resolve the case.
6. UNBUNDLED LEGAL SERVICES means that the attorney is providing only part of the legal services needed to resolve a controversy. The traditional first interview with a lawyer, when the client does not hire the lawyer for further services, is unbundled legal services. More commonly, this term is used to describe a situation where the client is representing him/her self in a legal proceeding and they seek out a lawyer's advice for review of documents or for advice on how the law works. Some lawyers don't feel comfortable providing these types of services because clients may have unrealistic expectations about the lawyer teaching a client how to practice law within a few minutes or because attorneys feel that they can't provide quality services with extremely limited information and time to help someone.
7. TRANSACTIONAL SERVICES are provided by lawyers who represent a person (or business) in a specific transaction, like buying a house or creating a will. These interactions do not involve courts or other outside decision makers. A large business or a wealthy person may have attorneys provide a lot of transactional services, but most people only occasionally need such assistance.
8. NEGOTIATION REPRESENTATION again does not involve a court or outside decision maker. When a contract involving a lot of money or very important rights is at stake, attorneys are very often present to assist in the negotiations. While professionals other than attorneys are also able to negotiate, the legal knowledge and other skills that a good attorney brings to the table can vastly improve the outcome.
9. TRADITIONAL LITIGATION REPRESENTATION is the use of an attorney to go to court. In the United States, only a lawyer may represent another person (or business) in court. While most of the actual work of a litigator takes place outside of the courtroom, like preparation and negotiation, argument and presentation of a case to a judicial officer is a specialized skill that only attorneys are qualified to perform. Only a tiny percentage of controversies actually are tried in courts and our courts are being overwhelmed by individuals who are choosing to represent themselves. Although people have the "right" to represent themselves, they are not qualified to do so and the use of traditional litigation by self represented parties is a huge and growing cost to our society.
Many people are only aware of lawyers as trial attorneys. Litigation is expensive and almost all attorneys settle cases far more often than they use the expensive machinery of court process to resolve disputes. When the parties to a controversy represent themselves in court, taxpayers foot the bill for this expensive and inefficient process.
Attorneys are very flexible about how they can help you resolve problems. If you take the initiative to consider how you would like to use the attorney's services, rather than being a passive consumer, you may save a lot of money and anguish. Just as people are becoming more sophisticated consumers of health care and therefore they question their doctor more closely and determine which services they really want, so go legal services. It is right and appropriate for the client to inform her/him self and participate in the legal work for their case. It is not smart, however, for people to do brain surgery on themselves, diagnose and treat significant illnesses, or to handle important legal needs without a lawyer. When you have the right lawyer, you can save a lot of money and anguish by informing yourself and communicating with your lawyer about your expectations.