Law Office of David J. Abeshouse
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About Lawyer & Client

Businesspeople often express concern about how to go about the process of choosing their business lawyer, so here are some suggested factors to consider. The significance of the answers to any of these questions may vary from client to client, but these relevant areas of inquiry are offered as a starting point for discussion. So, what questions should you ask a business lawyer when considering whether to engage that person’s or firm’s services?

  • Is the lawyer accessible to you by phone, e-mail, cell/mobile, fax, mail, and in person? Is the lawyer appropriately responsive to your communications?  Does the lawyer encourage open communications between attorney and client? 
  • Does the lawyer have real life experience in law and business, in addition to the requisite collegiate and law school academic credentials?  Has the lawyer run at least one small business in addition to the law practice?
  • Is the lawyer energetic and actively engaged in the practice, fully allied in and personally committed to the client’s success?
  • Are the lawyer’s fees reasonable (not necessarily the lowest or the highest) for the particular matter and the geographic location?
  • Is the lawyer someone who is sufficiently tenacious and persistent to work your matter through conclusion, yet sufficiently forthcoming and aware to advise you if it makes sense to consider earlier resolution?
  • Does the lawyer have a reputation for integrity and maintaining high ethical standards?
  • Does the lawyer have experience in the particular area of practice into which your matter falls, or are you at risk of the equivalent of hiring a psychiatrist to do brain surgery or a carpenter to do plumbing work?
  • Will the lawyer be personally involved throughout your matter, or will the lawyer pawn off your case to inexperienced junior lawyers?
  • Does the lawyer pick and choose carefully the cases (s)he accepts, or does the firm practice "threshold law" -- taking nearly any client who crosses the office threshold, leaving little time to provide good client service to any of them?  
  • Is the lawyer well-respected, with a top reputation among peers in general and as reflected in reputable industry standard professional ratings, such as a top numerical rating (10 out of 10) from Avvo.com and an "A-V/5.0 Preeminent" (highest) rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, for legal ability as well as ethics?  (Note: "CV, BV and AV are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.")
  • Is the lawyer active in the community, running or serving in executive or board capacities in not-for-profit entities, local or regional bar associations, and similar activities?
  • Does the lawyer have a broad, deep, and high-quality network of business and legal professionals available to clients to serve as resources if the need arises, now or in future?
  • Does the lawyer make public speaking presentations to business or community groups and/or teaching other lawyers in Continuing Legal Education credit programs (recognized expertise)?
  • Does the lawyer write and publish articles in print and/or online?
  • Has the lawyer taught in his or her area of law practice at an institution of higher learning, such as a law school, graduate school, or university? 
  • Does the lawyer provide you with a detailed and specific retainer/engagement letter agreement outlining the particulars of the attorney-client relationship and the obligations of both lawyer and client regarding this matter?  And does the lawyer encourage the prospective client to read the agreement carefully, and ask questions before signing, to ensure that you're literally on the same page?

You also might consider whether the lawyer:

  • LISTENS attentively, affording you the opportunity to "tell your story" appropriately.
  • Explains matters at an appropriate level of technicality so that you can understand things fully, and doesn’t oversimplify, patronize, or condescend. 
  • Is willing to answer questions and otherwise communicate with you via e-mail (in addition to telephone and in-person meetings), so that you can have information that you can refer back to later on, to refresh your memory. 
  • Understands that the attorney-client relationship is essentially a business partnership, in which attorney and client should be allied and mutually cooperative.
  • Seems like someone who is not just in it for the recompense, but truly enjoys helping clients.
  • Appears to be someone you would get along with, because you will have to be communicating with each other during the course of the representation.

So decide:
Is this the person you’d want to call "my lawyer"?
 
Note: Most law firms, and indeed most businesses (large and small alike) try to present their customer service as high quality or at least better than that of their competitors.  The reality is, however, that their level of attention to client needs (for example, responsiveness to client phone calls and e-mails; appropriate explanation of complex legal matters; and timeliness for appointments and otherwise) usually ranges from mediocre to abysmal.  And not everyone can be above average (think about it statistically), so many lawyers fall below even the very low bar of average, in the important realm of responsiveness.   

As important as customer service is in most business arenas (whether retail sales, B2C services, or others), it is even more significant when your business is on the line due to B2B legal issues.  In these situations, the lawyer's attention to client service becomes of paramount importance, as it constitutes one of the key bases of the attorney-client relationship.  You are paying for top-level service and experience, and should not have to compromise your expectations.  This is the standard to which you should hold your business dispute resolution lawyer.  Your lawyer should be ready to rise to the challenge.

Most law firm websites claim to provide responsive service, and leave it at that.  I invite you to surf around my website, both on this page, in the testimonials, in my personal statement page, and elsewhere, to get a sense of the level of importance I place on this key facet of the attorney-client relationship.  To cap it off, I invite you to visit two website URLs:
ResponsiveLawyer.com and ResponsiveAttorney.com 
I think you'll find that they look familiar....
(Not to put too fine a point on it, but the bottom line is that although lawyers have been online for many years, I was able to obtain these two completely unclaimed and available web domain names in 2007 because none of the million plus lawyers in the country had thought enough of the issue of responsiveness to do so before I did.) 

Please note: The information on this website has been prepared by the Law Office of David J. Abeshouse (LODJA) and is provided to inform the reader about the services LODJA offers to clients. It is intended for general information purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. Links to websites are for your convenience only and do not represent endorsement of those sites; LODJA also is not responsible for the accuracy or propriety of the content of those sites. Although LODJA welcomes your e-mail communications, internet messages may not be secure, and cannot be treated as privileged or confidential information. Use of this web site does not constitute or create an attorney-client relationship. If you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction. David Abeshouse is licensed only in New York.

Law Office of David J. Abeshouse
626 RXR Plaza
Uniondale, New York  11556
516-229-2360 (Phone)
516-229-2361 (Fax)

David J. Abeshouse:  
Business Dispute Resolution Lawyer, Arbitrator, Mediator, Communicator 

 

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