How to Work with an Attorney

By Robin Zeidel Founder & Owner, Zeidel & Associates P.C. | November 30, 2014

As a transactional attorney working in the hospitality sector, I work with companies and individuals having a variety of different levels of experience in working with outside attorneys. If you don't work with attorneys often, you may be unsure of what to expect or how to manage the relationship. Those who work with attorneys more regularly may wish to increase their level of satisfaction and efficiencies. Not surprisingly, when working with an attorney, good communication is the key to maximizing the relationship. Prior to forming my own legal practice, I hired and supervised many outside attorneys on behalf of a large corporation, and observed a wide range of working styles and personalities. Here at Zeidel & Associates, we strive to apply best practices.

Here are a few tips on how to help the attorney of your choice work best for you:

Tell Us What We Need to Know

When you are ready to involve outside attorneys, spend some upfront time to educate them on your business goals for the transaction and set clear expectations. Give your attorneys some background and context so that they understand the relevant relationships and other pertinent insights. In particular, share with your attorneys your most pressing concerns so they can keep those uppermost in mind. Let them know the anticipated sticking points to closing the deal so that you can work together to prepare a strategy. Identify the players on the deal and their roles and decision making authority. All of this will help your attorney prioritize the right issues.

Working Style

Your attorney probably works with many clients, and they all have different working preferences. A good attorney will remember yours and be sure to use them. For example, some clients expect to be copied on all day to day email communications with deal participants. Others prefer to schedule regular team conference calls to be updated on status live in order to reduce the amount of incoming emails. As no two clients are the same, be vocal with your attorney and let them know exactly how to communicate with you. They should then adjust to your preferences so that you are not hearing from them too much, too little or in the wrong way.

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