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I need tips on getting an attorney to talk

Allthingznew

Contributor
Aug 26, 2007
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Just over a month ago I met with an attorney that I had been referred to to go over a busines contract I had put together. When I left the attorney, I was to finish up some writing on the contract and give it to him and he would go over it and make any changes it needed. He guessed it would take about an hour.

I need this contract to get my business started, without it I cannot get customers. I emailed him my finished writing a month ago. After waiting a week, I sent an email asking if he had received it. I have gotten no response.

I have been calling 2-3 times a week for the last 2 weeks and I have talked with a couple people in the office. I still don't know if he had received the contract. Every time I call he is in court, in a meeting, at lunch and no one can answer my question. I know he's buzy, but this seems ridiculous to me.

Today I called another attorney I found in the phone book and I was unable to get ahold of him for the same reasons.

So, does anyone have any tips on how to get :bgh: through and get my contract so I can get started with my business?

Thanks
 

randallg99

Bronze Contributor
Aug 9, 2007
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NJ
Let the attorney know upfront your expectations and if he/she can meet them or not. Also, get their pricing schedule in writing- just say you are on a cell phone and cannot write all the information discussed at the moment, please fire off a fax or email stating to the effect.
 

JesseO

Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
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Phoenix, AZ
Call 5 more and get the one who will work with you for a reasonable price. If tehy're too busy for you, then they're absolutely USELESS. Best of luck =)
 

Allthingznew

Contributor
Aug 26, 2007
416
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Let the attorney know upfront your expectations and if he/she can meet them or not. Also, get their pricing schedule in writing- just say you are on a cell phone and cannot write all the information discussed at the moment, please fire off a fax or email stating to the effect.
Thanks I will this time, but my first hurdle is getting in communication to that point. I'm not a high enough priority to get to the point of talking to them it seems. I'm going to keep calling these two and others who I find that specialize in business contracts and whoever I get to first gets my business I guess.

It would seem that it's desirable to gain new business, but courts don't wait for attornies, big money clients expect to be first and a myriad of other reasons someone like me falls to the bottom and I haven't yet had time or opportunity to establish a relationship.

My goal is to find a firm that can handle my current need, a contract, and my future needs I plan to have, like incorporating, possibly a trust, and real estate holdings and anything that comes up in business along the way. The firm I contacted today seems to fit the bill, but getting a busy attorney to talk to me seems to be the challenge. Hence looking for tips.
 

camski

Contributor
Jul 24, 2007
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Noblesville, IN
Lawyers work for you and you should never accept shoddy customer service. I had a problem with my lawyer doing this (at first) and then I set up an appt. with him to tell him that he was obviously too busy to handle my business and I wanted him to recommend someone else to me. He backpedaled and apologized all over himself and asked me to reconsider and promised that it wouldnt happen again. i then expressed to him that it better not and then reminded him that MY time is worth just as much as his if not more. He now always returns my calls promptly. I think they just do this to the people who will put up with it. Once you let them know you wont, then they wont do it anymore.
 

Russ H

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Speedway Pass
Jul 25, 2007
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camski makes some excellent points.

You could also consider prepaid legal-- lots of entrepeneurs have good things to say about them (disclaimer: We have never used them).

After the first email problem, I would have sent them the document via certified mail or FedEx (signature required).

I would then have scheduled a follow-up appt to pick up the document and/or discuss it.

But here's the problem: It sounds like the guy thought you might be worth having as a client, but after he met with you, decided against it.

So he's just hoping you go away.

It's very unprofessional to do what he's doing (better to just tell you that he's too busy).

* * * *

You need a paper trail.

Once you've established the paper trail, report him to the state bar association (laywers *hate* this).

* * * * *

OPTION 2: If you want something done faster, you should (on the same day) 1. call 2. email AND 3. mail him (certified) that due to his lack of followthrough and refusal to get back to you in a timely manner, you are now taking your business to someone else and DO NOT want him to work on it.

Here's the problem: Since you've already had a meeting and he committed to doing the work, he can legally bill you, and say that it was done long ago, sorry about the miscommunication. So you wind up paying for 2 attys to look at this.

Go ahead and pay the bill. Count it as a lesson learned.

* * * * * *

What we would do today if we needed a contract atty, based on what we know:

We do mostly real estate, so I've framed the following from a real estate perspective. Lots of contract attys do both RE and other contracts-- you need to be specific when you talk to the realtor that you want an atty that specializes in CONTRACTS, not just REAL ESTATE.

1. Talk to the highest-volume licensed real estate brokers in your area-- the "big guns" who sell LOTS of properties (note: Not the ones who sell the most expensive-- the ones who sell the greatest *number* of properties). You can often find out who these folks are by talking to a couple of local mortgage brokers.

Call the best/biggest, tell them you were referred to them by <big local mortgage broker>, and that you'd like to meet them for 5 or 10 minutes since you're working on building a team. Restate that you know their time is valuable, and you honestly don't want to sit and chat-- you just want to introduce yourself and ask them a few questions.

When you meet with them, tell them what you're doing with REI as it relates to them-- so they can see if this is a good fit or not. If they are high volume, they will *tell* you if it's not a good fit (they don't have the time to take on clients that don't fit).

At the end of your talk, as you say goodby and are thanking them, say almost offhandedly, "I'm also looking for a good contracts atty-- for both business and real estate. Any recommendations?" (remember, this is after you've established rapport and shown them that you don't want to waste their time).

Write down who they recommend, call them, and say, "Ms/Mr big Realtor recommended that I call you to work with my business contracts. Can we meet?"

The referral from a big hitter will get you a meeting, and will hopefully get the job done. BUT-- be sure to say, when you meet w/them, "I appreciate your meeting w/me-- if what I'm asking for here is not what you do, or if there is not a good fit, then please let me know. I'm very loyal to who I work with and I want this to be a long term relationship."

See what happens.

Whatever you do, DO NOT talk about your fiasco with the first atty to ANYONE, except perhaps the mortgage brokers. Not to the realtors, and not to the other atty.

That's what I would do.

-Russ H.
 

MJ DeMarco

Raving Lunatic
Staff member
Speedway Pass
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LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR
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Jul 23, 2007
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A good time for our good friend Trump



You need a new attorney -- you can't change him -- its like a bad relationship where the a woman tries to change a man -- it never happens. In this case, its just a customer-client relationship and it needs to be terminated.

Your business can't be held hostage by incompetent partners.

As Randall says above, pre-screen your attorney before hiring to ensure they can meet your expectations -- they essentially are your employee and should be hired like one.

If this attorney was on your payroll ... guess what? He'd be fired. Time to bring the Donald in!
 

nomadjanet

Contributor
Aug 28, 2007
310
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26
TX
send by certified mail return reciept requested. If you donot get response by date, call on the date if no response send copy to state law board.



Dear Mr. Blank,

On august 2 I presented you with information re my contracts for your review. I have heard nothing from you to date sept 18 in spite of my repeated attempts to speak with you.
Called on 8/8 message with Sue
Called on 8/17 message with Liz
Emailed on 8/30 to mrblank@aol.com
Called on 9/05 message with Sue
Obviously your work load does is such that you do not have time to take care of my project. Please return any documents or notes in your possession pertaining to my account to me by 9/26/07.

You may have your staff call me at 210-222-2222 and I will stop by and pick them personaly.

Sincerely,

Joe Jones


 

SteveO

Legendary Contributor
Speedway Pass
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Jul 24, 2007
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A agree with Jesse and MJ. Find a new attorney.

There are good ones out there that will respond.

It does not sound like this is the right attorney for you anyway. You need a contract or transactional attorney. It sounds like this one is involved in litigation.

I like a firm that has a variety on staff but just one contact for the contract work.
 

Allthingznew

Contributor
Aug 26, 2007
416
56
25
Thank you all for your great feedback. In a phone call with the firm this morning, I was told apologies, I would have my contract emailed today and that because of the delay, I would not have to pay. As of this moment, the inbox is empty.

I will take everything you all have said and use it. Thanks again.
 

Allthingznew

Contributor
Aug 26, 2007
416
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Update:

I received the contract as I was making my last post. I will now compare to see if they are any different!
 

Diane Kennedy

Bronze Contributor
Aug 31, 2007
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Allthingznew:

You are WAY more patient then I would have been. Nomadjanet had a great template on how to handle it if this comes up again.

I saw this initial post a day or so ago and it really gave me pause because it's never happened to me, that I can remember. But, my husband reminded me that we did have the same problem in the early days.

Now, if I need a new professional with some specialty I ALWAYS get a referral. Recently we needed a shark of a litigator to make a problem go away. In a crazy chain of events, I asked a friend of mine through a non-profit who was a Psychologist if she knew a good lawyer in this area. She knows a big time developer in Phoenix area, gave him a call and asked his advice. (It's funny - business owners ALWAYS take calls from their CPAs, lawyers, and shrinks) He gave me the name of his lawyer, who is on retainer, and said to use his name. Let me tell you, I had a call back in 10 minutes and got the lawyer's home number and cell number! Problem was gone in less than a week.

It's not what you know...it's who you know. How true.
 

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