Sometimes I get a client who calls or emails several times a day about whatever they are anxious about. But there is a difference between stuff I can do something about when I get to it, stuff I should do something about right now, and stuff I don’t need to do. There is also stuff that I cannot fix. (After all, I can’t fix either stupid or crazy.) So, what guidelines are there for you, the client:
First and foremost, I am a lawyer. I am your advocate and the person who stands between you and the entire court system. I am not a therapist, I am not your best friend who can listen to you for hours, and I am not able to miraculously make your life back into what it was before the other side screwed you to the wall. I also cost money and I charge by the hour. I have to in order to be able to make a living to feed my own family. So, I need to give you some ground rules so that we can keep your costs down and so that you can use me most effectively.
First, what is an emergency? An emergency is having access to your bank shut down; blood or hospital visit; missing or disappeared witness, police/FBI involvement/visit. If it is not one of these things it is unlikely to be so critical I have to short another client to deal with this crises.
Second, think before you call or email. Make your points using as few words as possible. Take time to re-write the emails until you get them right. If I don’t understand I’ll ask. Promise. But this will save you time and therefore money. Besides, judges like short, to the point answers so you might as well start practicing.
Third, if I did not cause the problem, if I cannot cure the problem, or if I cannot control the problem, there is nothing I can do about it.
Fourth, once is enough. 1 call and/or 1 email is all you need. You will get my attention but I do have other clients. You cannot afford to be my only client—no one can. E-mail is usually the best way to send me a message. E-mail is often also the best way for you to practice being concise and to the point. Someone will respond to your e-mail within 24 hours. It may only be a quick note that says I got it and will respond in more detail later, but I will respond. If I send you such a note, it means that I am hip deep in another case that I need to concentrate on and the problem is not one that I can solve immediately. If I have not responded in one business day, please re-send the e-mail, because they do sometimes get lost in the Net.
Finally, I’m a trial lawyer. That means I’m in court a lot. So a little patience is absolutely required.