As a reminder, I am not yet an attorney and am not providing legal advice, but merely commenting on the legal profession. I hope you enjoy the column and let me know if you have any general concepts I should write about.
INTRODUCTION "Hello south-central Utah! As of October, I will be a licensed general practice attorney in Richfield, Utah and serving south-central Utah: Sevier, Wayne, Piute, Garfield, and Kane Counties. After speaking with my family of non-lawyers (yes, they accept me for who I am…even if I am long-winded at times) I realized that “the law” and “the legal profession” can seem to be an ambiguous and intimidating realm of work and life.
My solution to this problem: explain legal and civic concepts with less legal terminology through an objective, neutral lens. And that’s what I plan to do in this column. Every two weeks, I’ll explain a concept of law or the legal profession with serial themes. The column will be called “The Local Lawyer.”
My first theme will focus on interacting with attorneys such as “what to ask your attorney,” and other serials about property law, civics, family law, estate planning, business creation, recreation laws, and other topics. I also hope you will help guide me in what I should I write about or what general legal questions you may have. This way, my column will stay relevant to you, the reader.
Because I will be an attorney beginning in October, I will always have a caveat at the end of every column. It will say something like this: “the column is about general concepts and is not legal advice. If you have legal questions after – or before – reading this column, consider asking a trusted attorney.” And I mean this. This column is meant to be educational and not legal advice. Likewise, I will not answer specific legal questions or “hypotheticals,” but rather answer general conceptual questions for readers.
Who are you? Before I start writing, I thought you would like to get to know me a bit. I grew up on a small tree farm and ranch in southwest Missouri and graduated in a class of 32. During high school, I participated in student council and FFA. In college, I met my husband and studied forestry. After college, I practiced private-lands forestry in southeast Arkansas before attending the University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law. I knew that after law school I would live in a rural location, so I focused on natural resources law, negotiations, small business law, and family law. When not working on my small business, I am an active member of Richfield Rotary, enjoy the public lands in southern Utah, and am always finding new, delicious recipes.
I look forward to being an active resident of the central-southern Utah. Having lived in the region for only three years and learning about the establishment of Utah and the resilience of its residents, I hope my contribution to our regional culture will be beneficial and add value to the readership of this newspaper. If you have a general question about the law or legal profession, please email me at email@example.com.
WHAT TO ASK YOUR ATTORNEY I’ve met few people who actually look forward to speaking with an attorney because most conversations with attorneys are in the realm of difficult decisions, high-stake disputes, or reckoning with mortality. Below are a few questions you should ask your attorney:
1. How and when should I expect contact from you? Clients and attorneys are busy people with professional and family lives and everything in between. If you establish a relationship with an attorney about your case, make sure to understand when and how the attorney will contact you about updates. Also, make sure you define how you prefer to be contacted: by email, phone, or through the mail. Ask the attorney how they prefer to be contacted. Some attorneys charge a higher rate for “off-hour” contact with clients while other attorneys choose not to charge clients for every phone call. Regardless of the different methods, make sure you understand how to contact the attorney, how the attorney will contact you, and the best way to communicate with your attorney.
2. How long will my case take to be resolved? Attorneys are used to the regular timetables of a case and may forget that clients are not. Depending on the issue, a case can take from 1 month to 2 years or beyond to resolve due to statutory wait-periods, governmental administration timeframes, court hearing timetables, and the other parties involved. Clients should ask for an estimate timeframe to realistically understand the timetable of their case.
3. What can I do to reduce costs and fees? Attorneys either charge a flat or hourly rate for services. If you are being quoted an hourly rate, make sure to ask this question because it will help the attorney efficiently work for you. Depending on the case, items like citations, financial statements, doctor’s notes or treatment plans, contact information for other people involved or with information can be very helpful if relevant to the case. Simply filling out forms before meeting the attorney and following the law office’s procedures for new clients can reduce costs for you and save time for the attorney. So always ask how you can help the attorney because you will actually be reducing your costs.
4. Is my solution in mind the best option for resolving this dispute or are there alternatives? Depending on the issue, there can be multiple opportunities short of litigation to solve a problem, or at least stop an issue from continuing. For instance, a conversation, writing a cease and desist letter, mediation, or settlement agreements can be a cost-saving alternative to suing someone. However, this is very dependent on the situation at hand and your attorney can help you determine if there are other options besides letting a judge or jury make your decision.
Disclaimer. As always, my column is not legal advice, instead merely insight into the law and legal profession. If you have a general question about the law or legal profession, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org."