Volume practices get a bad rap. People assume that just because you move a lot of clients' cases through the system, that you are doing a lesser job on the cases.
Bollocks. Moving a case quickly, or more accurately, efficiently from intake to completion is good for you (because it frees up time for more clients) and great for your client (fewer billable hours, obviously).
Of course, efficiency and volume have to be balanced with diligence, ethics, and customer service. Fortunately, we've got a few resources that can help.
Mini Guides: The Prep Work
How do you spend your initial consultation time? You probably get to know the client, gather pertinent facts and background information, and then you spend a lot of time explaining the law, possible outcomes, and more. Instead of walking your client through the basics of contesting a will, or the steps of a drug possession case, why not send them some background information before you even meet -- thus freeing up time during the consultation for more specific and important questions?
You can email them to clients in advance, hand them out in the reception area, or link to them from your website. If it helps you, and helps your clients, it makes us happy.
Metro Pages: Local Laws
Of course, the mini guides are just prep work, and are intended to be general. For state- or city-specific information, you'll want to head to our State Laws section's Metro pages. For example, our page on Dallas Criminal basics walks your client through:
- Booking and Bail;
- Classification of Crimes (felonies, misdemeanors, and everything in between);
- Case Flow (arraignment, pre-trial conferences and motions, trial, plea bargain, sentencing); and
- Key Players (Police, Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Judge).
Or maybe your client got a DUI in Houston. That unfortunate soul will want to know about ignition interlocks, lost licenses, potential penalties, and required rehab.
Though you'll almost certainly explain all of this to them in a consultation, you're speaking a foreign language (law) to them, and it's a lot of information to retain. This could save you from answering a few dozen panicked emails and phone calls, and having to bill your client accordingly.
Courthouse Pages: Maps, Contact Information, and More!
I'm the type that gets lost on the way home from work. We'd bet that many of your clients are the same way. With federal and state courthouses, and sometimes separate criminal, civil, and family facilities, it's even easier to get lost. Heck, in Dallas alone, there are something like 14 court buildings. Even in El Paso, there are at least 10.
In the largest metropolitan areas, where it is much easier to get lost, we have local courthouse pages with the names, addresses, contact information, and descriptions of what type of cases are heard at each branch. There's no guarantee that your client won't get lost anyway, but you can reduce the chances of a missed court date by printing out your local courthouse page and circling the correct court in bright red ink.
- Salt Lake's 'Borg' Courthouse Debuts with a Shooting (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)
- 3 Issues to Watch in the 10th Circuit: SS Marriage, Abortion, Weed (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)
- Cert Petitions Denied, Granted in 10th Circuit Cases (FindLaw's U.S. Tenth Circuit Blog)