The author is John Toothman, founder of The Devil's Advocate, a legal fee management firm, since 1993. Mr. Toothman graduated from Harvard Law School and practiced law in large and small law firms, and the US Department of Justice. He is the author of dozens of articles on subjects like legal fees, ethics, and malpractice, as well as two prior books including Legal Fees: Law & Management (Carolina Acad. Press).
The Client's Bill of Rightsby John Toothman
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The Client Bill of Rights introduces clients to the unique relationship they have with lawyers. Most clients don't realize that they are supposed to have control of the lawyer's representation and that the lawyer reports to them. Respect, competence, and a reasonable fee are some of the client's rights. The Client Bill of Rights lists ten rights every client has and explains what clients should reasonably expect. (7700 words)
For twenty plus years John Toothman and his firm, The Devil's Advocate, have been helping clients and lawyers manage legal fees. There have been many more people who could use this help, but didn't know it existed or waited too long to seek help.
This Client's Bill of Rights pays for itself in about a minute at common hourly rates charged by lawyers. Read this book before you visit a lawyer and your relationship should get off to a good start.
The Client Bill of Rights is designed for all clients -- whether you've been charged with a traffic infraction or you're the general counsel of a major corporation. The principles contained in the Bill of Rights apply to lawyers hired to handle any type of legal matter, including divorces, custody proceedings, tax issues, criminal cases, civil litigation, buying and selling real estate, landlord/tenant disputes, wills and probate, estate planning, and so on. But this is also a Bill of Rights for lawyers to consider, whether they agree or not.
A dysfunctional lawyer-client relationship leads not only to high legal fees, but also frustration and unexpected results. In extreme cases it leads to legal malpractice or fee disputes. The prospective client should find a lawyer who will guide the client through the process as smoothly as possible. This doesn't mean the legal process will be painless, and the client may not "win," but it does mean the lawyer should help the client know what to expect and to prepare the client for the result, good or bad.
The Client Bill of Rights introduces a new series of guides for clients: The Civilian's Guide to Lawyers, a three volume Kindle publication, to help everyone dealing with lawyers and the legal system. More information is available at www.CiviliansGuidetoLawyers.com.
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