You tell me. Please?

I am working on a series of articles about lawyers and the practice of law, intended for the lay person. I’ve got a few ideas, including what to bring to your first meeting with a lawyer, how to hire a lawyer, how to keep in touch with your lawyer (and make sure your lawyer keeps in touch with you), and how to fire a lawyer. There are also some specific topics I’m thinking of covering, mostly in the civil area, but really, anything’s possible. I paid $80,000.00 to learn how to look stuff up.

So, what are you interested in knowing more about? It could be a particular problem, or something you’ve seen on TV, current events, or something you’ve always just wondered about. Fire away! And thanks.

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22 thoughts on “You tell me. Please?

  1. Cricket

    I once emailed a lawyer that I was reporting him to the state bar and he suddenly had my divorce finished that afternoon. I didn’t have to fire him.

    Do you read Overlawyered? Although much goes over my head, I find it very interesting and eye opening.

    Reply
  2. meridith

    I’d love to know how long stuff should take – though I’m sure it depends. Like, how long is reasonable to wait for a response to an email, how long for a settlement in x, y or z how long for this sort of case, or that. General guidelines, with understanding that every specific changes the baseline. I think as a layperson that the whol earea of law is kind of like magic to me. I have no idea how it happens and I just hope I’m being treated fairly. But I’m not certain I have any idea what that is and if my expectations are on target.

    Reply
  3. CTJen

    I’ve always wanted to become a lawyer, but every lawyer I ever talked about it said, “Oh, being a lawyer is awful, you don’t want to do that!” After a while, I started to get the feeling like it was some sort of exclusive club that I wasn’t cool enough to join. Also, I started to feel intimidated by the idea of law school. So what was your experience like? Would you encourage people to join this profession? Was law school any more difficult or challenging than any other kind of graduate school? What would you tell someone who said to you, “I’m thinking about going back to school to get my JD. What do you think?”

    Reply
  4. Cranky

    Where to get background on lawyers. I know my state bar’s website has an option for people to look up lawyers and if they have had any disciplinary (sp?) actions against them and so forth. I know most states will have differences on this, but there should be a place people can get a lawyers history pretty much everywhere. (if that made any sense at ALL.)

    Reply
  5. eleanorstrousers

    As a fellow spender of $80,000, I make a bad layperson to ask… and as for CTJen’s question about whether to go, I actually enjoyed going to law school. It was a great brain work-out, I met lots of fun people, I learned I can get by on three hours of sleep a night for three years. It’s the being a lawyer part that I’ve found less fun. Unless you really know what the day-to-day of being a lawyer looks like and think you’d like it, my advice is always to still go for the mental workout, but don’t waste your time on the bar exam.

    Reply
  6. Mrs. Chicken

    Typical fees for things like wills and estate planning. In fact, a great article for a parenting magazine would be one about how and why to hire an attorney to plan your estate. Mr. C and I did it before we moved out here, trustees and legal guardians and all of that. It is so important to do and so many people put it off because planning for death freaks them out. But you HAVE to, especially when you have children and assets.

    Reply
  7. Mrs. Chicken

    Typical fees for things like wills and estate planning. In fact, a great article for a parenting magazine would be one about how and why to hire an attorney to plan your estate. Mr. C and I did it before we moved out here, trustees and legal guardians and all of that. It is so important to do and so many people put it off because planning for death freaks them out. But you HAVE to, especially when you have children and assets.

    Reply
  8. ApK

    Law and Media management – working in independent film, where there are often issues of copyright amongst greedy crew etc., or how to split potential profits, any production is prone to some legal challenges. I have produced a few films now, and know the importance of contracts (I won’t take a job without one) but there are many aspects of legal management that I, the layperson creative type, really don’t understand.

    What I’m trying to say is – yes! wonderful content idea! – and I will get back to you with more specific questions. Copyright management/establishment is where a lot of my concerns originate though.

    Reply
  9. jess

    blc, i’m like mrs. chicken. i want to know more about wills, estate planning, living wills…etc.

    should i have one of those?

    and how the hell do i get one? a legal one?

    Reply
  10. phd girl

    1. I would like you to cover WHY a person should not represent themselves. (A friend just fired her divorce lawyer, who has been giving in to the ex’s weird demands, one after another!–while we all urged her for over a year to get a better lawyer–she has decided to be her own lawyer– Big Mistake!)

    2. also, her lawyer did not take the firing well, and immediately charged her $1,600 for a meeting she had with the ex’s lawyer last week. (everyone lives within walking distance and these meetings are usually a fraction of that cost) so my second question, is how do you get an idea of what things will cost, up front? If meetings have always been … usually $400– and you get charged quadruple, for a meeting about one point of contention, what can you do to try and get the cost down?
    How can you get a sort of guarantee that charges won’t get too crazy?

    Reply
  11. The Planner

    What an excellent topic.

    Like Eleanor’s Trousers, I am also not a layperson. Like her, I would encourage everyone who wanted to be a lawyer to go to law school.

    The practice itself can be stultifying.

    Still, if you want to be a lawyer, definitely go to law school. It’s not that exclusive a club, if I am in it.

    Reply
  12. Mariposa

    How to ask the right questions to a lawyer? How do you know if s/he is the right lawyer for you? Can you trust your lawyer? How far do you trust your lawyer? And finally as a client, what are your rights (in the context of client-lawyer relation)?

    Did I ask a lot? It’s just that, you’d be surprise how many people (even the educated ones) are ignoramous about these things…well I can claim to know a bit…to have it coming from a lawyer is something different…I supposed.

    I’m just in one of my high moments lately…so please excuse my energy level in firing thoe questions…

    Reply
  13. thordora

    A good idea of what one should expect to be charged for common activities, what would be overcharging. We want to go do our will, POA, etc, but I’m worried that I’ll be overcharged because I don’t know any better.

    Whether I should retain, or at least be on some sort of name basis with a lawyer in case something happens, I need things, etc. Should I have a lawyer, period?

    What am I entitled to re: documentation. When we bought our house, it was obviously old hat to the lawyer, but I didn’t know. It felt like we didn’t get all the info, but I didn’t know what to ask. What are the basic things one should know for common law needs? (buying property, rental issues, etc)

    Great topic…

    Reply
  14. Jenn @ Juggling Life

    I think it would be helpful to have a template to copy and fill out to take to the lawyer’s office. Why waste money sitting there answering questions when you can provide all the pertinent information in a quick-to-read format. Emphasize that the important things is the FACTS, not all the emotional crap you want to rant about.

    My friend, a non-practicing attorney and SAHM, has taught me to always do this, and I know it has saved me money.

    Reply
  15. Grandy

    You know I think it’s a GREAT IDEA!! Maybe we could work together and I could fill in the Lay terms of Insurance coverage. 😉 It’s always amazing to me how difficult even other insurance people can make it.

    You would be doing a great service by answering lay questions, and I don’t think I have to warn you about the pitfalls of offering specific advice (although I see way too many Lawyer Professional Liability issues too).

    Keep us posted!! 😀

    Reply
  16. Melanie

    Maybe a discussion of television law vs. real-world law? Like, a list of the biggest or funniest misconceptions as depicted by law shows.

    I’m just looking for an excuse for you to write about Matlock. Or Harry Hamlin. Or the delightfully manic, wild-eyed Sam Waterson.

    Reply
  17. Anali

    This is a great idea! Interesting reading these comments as a lawyer too. Before I went to law school, most of the lawyers that I knew said not to do it. Now I know what they were talking about! Not that it’s an exclusive club to get in, but do you really really want to be in?

    If you have a lot of money and the cost is not an issue then go. I actually liked law school. I enjoyed my classes and the work that I did. The problem is the student loans after. And you may not end up doing the work that you had dreamed about before. The job market is very tight here in Massachusetts.

    There are a lot of unemployed lawyers and some working at retail or whatever they need to do, so they can have insurance and pay bills. It’s not all pretty like on TV. The money that you owe for decades to come is really scary. Not all lawyers are making six figure incomes. People make all sorts of assumptions about you that are wrong – literally to your face insulting you, when they know nothing about you except for that one thing. Oh, I could go on, but I’ll restrain myself. Sorry for the rant! : D

    Reply
  18. IrishGoddess

    Whenever I’ve thought about wanting to consult an attorney I’ve been scared away by price. Do they work like contractors who ask for a down payment, then the balance after services rendered? Is there any negotiating price?

    Reply
  19. standing still

    Adult children need to be advised about talking with their aging parents about end of life wishes and estate planning. Especially when there are siblings involved. Some people don’t do this, and it causes a world of issues at the end of a parent’s life.

    Reply
  20. morgetron

    Do lawyers intentionally some times draw stuff out longer than it needs to be?

    Out of all the lawyers you know personally, which percentage would you trust with your own legal matters?

    Do most lawyers wear animal print pajama pants around the house?

    Reply
  21. Just Me

    I know that I need to see a lawyer to finalize a few things like my mental health living will, a standard living will, and to get advice about financial planning given that I more than likely will wind up needing disability at some point in the relatively near future. I’d love to hear about how to find someone who is going to give me the best information possible, esp. considering I live in an extremely rural area with extremely low access to people such as lawyers without a trip to the city, therefore making me want a effecient process.

    Thanks,
    Just Me

    Reply

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