Dagger Law welcomes new associate attorney

Finley L. Newman-James photoFinley L. Newman-James has joined the Dagger Law team as an Associate Attorney serving Dagger Law’s Lancaster as well as central Ohio offices, located in Canal Winchester. He engages in the general practice of law, with an emphasis on civil litigation.

“Finley has distinguished himself through his prior experience and in law school,” said Jeff J. Spangler, co-managing partner at Dagger Law. “He possesses the skill set to achieve great success in the future both in the legal field as well as in our community, and we look forward to his contributions.”

Prior to joining Dagger Law, he worked at the Columbus office of an AmLaw 200 national law firm, where he worked on a variety of litigation and corporate transactional work.

Newman-James earned his Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2020. During his time in law school, he served as Business & Marketing Editor for the Ohio State Business Law Journal and was a member of Moritz’s Entrepreneurial Business Law Clinic, where he helped advise emerging small businesses, startups, and local entrepreneurs on a variety of business concerns, including formation/incorporation, equity agreements, tax planning, promissory notes, trademark registrations, licensing, employment agreements, brand enforcement & protection for businesses engaged in e-commerce, and corporate governance. In addition, he served as Treasurer of the Real Estate Law Association and published The State of Marijuana in The Buckeye State and Fiscal Policy Considerations of Legalized Recreational Marijuana, part of Ohio State’s Drug Enforcement Policy Center’s Paper Series, in the summer of 2019, which analyzed the fiscal policy considerations of a then-current proposed constitutional amendment on state and local governments.

 

Newman-James earned his Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, with a double major in Political Science and Public Administration from Capital University in Bexley, Ohio in 2017. He is admitted to practice law in the state of Ohio and appear before the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Additionally, he is a member of the Columbus Bar Association and Ohio State Bar Association. A native of Pickerington in northwestern Fairfield County, Newman-James resides in Violet Township.

Ohio Legal Help Website

Ohio Legal HelpOhio Legal Help, http://www.ohiolegalhelp.org, is a new website that is providing free information about common legal questions. This project is the collaboration of a number of organizations, including the Ohio Supreme Court, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the Ohio Clerk of Courts Association.

Branden Meyer, the Fairfield County Clerk of Courts stated: “Often, my staff is asked questions whose answers would result in giving legal advice. It is frustrating for both parties that we cannot answer them. We expect all will benefit from this project.”

The new site is not meant to replace an attorney, and many using it will still need to seek appropriate legal representation. But it should provide useful information and allow individuals to be more informed during the legal process. As with any set of general information, Dagger Law cautions that one size doesn’t fit all legal situations and a more thorough look at most cases will be needed. That said, we welcome the resource as a great way for clients to learn more about the law so that they can be an informed participant in their legal cases. If you have a particular legal situation that needs attention, please review the website and then give us a call to see how we can help!

Tips when working with your attorney

To wrap up our series on transparency in working with attorneys, we’ve outlined three key tips to improve communication with your attorney that can make your relationship more successful.

With more than 110 years of experience, we have witnessed some best practices when it comes to working with an attorney. There is no question working with an attorney can feel overwhelming especially if it is something unfamiliar. We would like to suggest a few tips that will improve communication with your attorney and make your working relationship more successful.

Be organized and detailed

Provide your attorney with a clear and comprehensive account of your situation. Your attorney is required to keep all information in confidence and sharing both the good and the bad enables them to give you the best advice and guidance to ensure the best possible outcome.

Details matter in the eyes of the law and mundane variables, such as weather or time of day, could influence your case. For example, if you are involved in a traffic accident, write down the events that took place in chronological order, provide citation information and a list of contact information for witnesses. For legal matters that involve finances, such as drafting a will or filing for a divorce; create a folder of relevant documents like a list of bank and investment accounts, and any source of debt such as a home loan or credit card.

The more organized and prepared you are, the less you will have to pay someone else for these services and the higher likelihood the presentation of your case is accurate. Providing specific names, dates and incidents can help your attorney build the best case for you. Don’t leave out relevant facts and don’t add fictional information.

Ask questions

The law can be confusing. If you don’t understand the meaning of terms or how a process works, ask questions so that your attorney can explain what is happening. Not only can the clarification help put the situation in perspective, the communication has the potential to enable your attorney to do a better job representing you. We also encourage clients to lean on legal staff to answer basic questions about a case. Legal staff can typically answer questions such as “when will I hear something back about my case” and let you know how things are proceeding in general. Legal staff also have the added benefit of being more readily available as they don’t go to court or have lengthy meetings with clients. Communicating with them can give you a wealth of basic information, but not advice, quickly.

Share information

If there are new or relevant updates related to your case, inform your attorney as soon as possible. This can be as simple as sending your attorney, and their staff, a brief email describing the change in your situation. If your attorney needs more details, then they will follow up with you. Developments that seem insignificant could dramatically change your legal situation in either a positive or negative way, and it is best to let your attorney decide what is important.

Every situation is different but being open and honest with your attorney will make the process easier. We’re looking forward to working with you. Please contact us at 740-653-6464 or daggerlaw.com.

Value of legal staff

Value of Legal Staff

In an effort to provide a more accurate picture of working attorneys, our fourth post in this series discusses how legal staff can help with the challenges inherent to the legal process.

When you initially retain counsel, your attorney will explain the options available in your legal matter, discuss strategy and provide a timeline for important events. Unfortunately, however, the process to resolve issues and the case might not occur as quickly as you’d like.

Your attorney will give you periodic updates on the status of your case. However, there can be times that the process feels more like a “hurry up and wait” situation. These are times where it can also be valuable to rely on the staff in your attorney’s office to answer questions, update regarding the status of your case and potentially even make your attorney’s representation more efficient.

Legal support staff are often able to confirm your case is moving through the process appropriately. They may assist with managing the discovery process and summarizing deposition transcripts. Staff may also be able to update when paperwork has been filed in court when your attorney is researching or drafting documents and can advise about important hearing dates and deadlines if they have been set.

There are periods in every case where not much takes place or there is a lull in timing. While you can always contact your attorney, you can also rest assured that your attorney will contact you when you need to provide information or there is an update.

Our fifth and final post in this series focuses on tips to best work with your attorney.

 

Navigating the complicated nature of litigation

Navigating the complicated nature of litigationWhen someone needs an attorney, it can often be the result of an event that results in a change in the trajectory of their life. It can be a positive occasion, such as marriage documents, buying a home or adopting a child. Or, perhaps more often, it is a challenging life period, such as probating a will, a divorce, a personal injury or accident, a child custody battle, being arrested, or being the victim of a crime.

In an effort to provide more transparency about how to best work with your attorney in our five-part blog series, our third post in this series explains how the complicated nature of litigation impacts the attorney/client relationship.

You hire an attorney for legal proceedings because they understand the complex legal system. Situations that seem simple can sometimes become complicated and overwhelming. An experienced attorney understands what is necessary when filing for custody or reaching a divorce settlement. They are an expert in the subject matter of your legal needs, can handle the requirements properly and on time, and can also help break down complicated legal forms, terms, and discussions.

Additionally, the relationship between an attorney and their client is defined by rules of professional conduct. Roles include keeping confidentiality and attorney-client privilege, avoiding conflicts of interest, maintaining professional integrity, and acting as an intermediary.

In many instances, these responsibilities mean that the cost of legal services cannot simply be controlled by limiting the scope of representation. While it is certainly important to understand the fees and how charges are incurred, there are some cases where quoting a fixed fee is not possible. Develop a relationship of mutual respect with your attorney and effective communication can help ensure you are charged reasonably based on the circumstances of your case; however difficult the situation may be.

Contact us to schedule an appointment if you have questions or need to have a conversation about your situation. Our next post in this series outlines the value of legal staff.