An Executive’s Guide to Working with an Attorney

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Attorney Jack Garson Shares Five Rules for a Positive Business-Lawyer Relationship in The Huffington Post

Jack Garson, Founder of Garson | Claxton LLC

Lawyers cannot help clients reach goals that have not been discussed.

Almost every business has had the pleasure (or torture) of working with outside advisors, particularly attorneys. All too often, a lot of business-attorney relationships turn sour because of bad work, late work, expensive work or all of the above.

In his latest article for The Huffington Post, “My Lawyer, My Friend: A CEO’s Guide to Working with an Attorney,” author and attorney Jack Garson advises business owners and executives to take five things into consideration when working with a lawyer:

1. Give Them the Story. Although at the time it may not seem important, telling the whole story to an attorney is crucial. Good attorneys look at the big picture and not just the issue at hand. Knowing the positives and negatives of a story will help the attorney prepare for weaknesses in cases and defend against them. Otherwise, lawyers run the risk of being blindsided in court if an executive leaves out parts of a story.

2. Organize and Educate. Garson says that one of the best things for someone to do when working with his or her attorney is provide them with a written history of the company. This includes related emails, contracts and other documents. The package should be labeled as a communication between the client, so the attorney keeps information confidential. These materials allow lawyers to work efficiently and let their clients know their situation in a timely manner.

3. The Boy Who Cried “Rush.” Be sure to give attorneys time when working on a case. A warning of an impending case is beneficial so the attorney will be ready for the case when it actually arrives. Although “rushed” cases happen, planning ahead will save both the client and the attorney time, money and stress.

4. The Money Stuff. Understand how the attorney charges at the beginning of the relationship. Does he or she charge by the hour? In increments? Flat fee? Monthly retainer? The attorney will not know what the client wants unless the client first discusses their preferences. If any problems arise upon receiving invoices, do not let it fester. Bring up concerns as soon as they arise to avoid further miscommunication.

5. Establish Goals. Set goals and set them early. Lawyers cannot help clients reach goals that have not been discussed. Communication and being on the same page is key to having a successful relationship.

Read “My Lawyer, My Friend: A CEO’s Guide to Working with an Attorney” on The Huffington Post.

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