Dagger Law Blog and Articles

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.

Three questions to ask about the cost of legal services

Questions to askTo provide transparency in working with attorneys, our second post in our five-part blog services discusses the cost of legal services. The cost can depend on a number of factors, including the type of service, individual details of the case, and how events develop. Below are three questions to ask your attorney to help ensure you understand the cost of services and how you will be charged.

Is there a charge for a consultation?

Finding the attorney who is right for you and the service you need is important. A consultation can help you find the attorney who provides the services you need. Some provide a free consultation and others charge. Some may offer the first 30 minutes free then charge for time above that. Make sure you know the cost, and then make the most of the consultation by being prepared. Organize documents to minimize the follow up required to provide the attorney with the necessary information to understand your case and best represent you.


How are services invoiced?

Attorneys are paid for providing their time, knowledge, and services. The method used to charge for services may vary as a fixed fee, an hourly rate, or a contingency fee arrangement. The fee may be fixed writing a simple will, but the charge may be an hourly rate for a probate service that involves the administration of a will. Once you identify the scope of the legal help you need, clarify the terms of that agreement so you understand the fee agreement and the terms of payment and representation. There may sometimes be other expenses related to research or if there are changes in the scope of work. The more background information you can provide in terms of details, documents and updates will help you establish an accurate estimate for costs while also maintaining the most effective partnership with your attorney.


How are changes in costs communicated?

A case can become more complicated based on new information or developments. In these cases, costs may change. A divorce settlement that was expected to be amicable can become more difficult if those involved fail to agree or stop cooperating. Your attorney can outline changes that might be expected and how likely those may be to provide a range of costs and what is and is not included to minimize surprises, especially if the case takes longer to complete than expected.

Watch for our next post in this series that shares how working with the right attorney can help you navigate the complicated nature of litigation. Contact us if we can help you with your legal needs.

Common myths about attorneys debunked

There may be more jokes about attorneys than they are attorneys who have passed the bar exam. In all seriousness, there is a lot of misinformation about the roles, character, and strategies of attorneys. Your attorney is your legal advocate committed to helping you obtain justice, and it is critical to trust your attorney and his or her integrity.

Dagger Law. Local. Trusted. ExperiencedWe’re kicking off the first post in a five-part series focused on providing a more accurate picture of working attorneys by debunking three common myths.

Myth: Attorneys are vague about costs

Attorneys strive to be transparent in their pricing structures and billing. Depending on the case, legal fees may be structured to be billing at an hourly rate, a flat fee, a retainer, or a contingency fee (a percent of your award). A consultation is typically free or a nominal charge that enables you to share information about your needs and find out about charges and your expected financial commitment. Attorneys want you to be an informed and empowered part of the process, and changes in the scope should be communicated so you are not surprised when you receive an invoice.

Myth: Attorneys enjoy life difficulties

Attorneys do not take pleasure in the hardships of a client, such as jail time, bankruptcy, and divorce. Situations often include difficult and life-altering circumstances that are fraught with challenges. Most attorneys choose the career because they genuinely want to help, and not because they want to take advantage of your situation.

Myth: Attorneys delay progress

Your attorney will likely spend a lot of time working on your case that does not involve meetings or potentially even updates. Research that occurs behind the scenes includes many hours that may not be visible to you, but yet are important to preparing your case. In litigation, the timeline for next steps and decisions is rarely within the control of the attorney. Unfortunately, sometimes there is just not much that can be done to speed the process of the court system. Be patient and trust you will be updated as soon as there is information to share.

Contact to get connected to honest, hardworking attorneys who will stand up for you. Check back soon for our next post in this series that seeks to provide a more accurate look at working with attorneys with a discussion about the cost of legal services.

3 Tips if You’re Involved in a Car Accident

In 2017, the Ohio Department of Public Safety reported that there were more than 303,000 traffic crashes and more than 108,000 of those resulted in some injury to the involved parties.

Jacob Cook's car after a head on accidentThese are staggering numbers, and, unfortunately, that means that many of us are going to experience this traumatic event; whether that is personally being involved in an accident or knowing someone who was involved.

Do you know what to do if you, or a loved one, are involved in an accident?

Dagger Law attorneys recommend the following as a quick checklist:
1) Report the accident immediately. Ensure that police and, if needed, emergency medical services are called, at a minimum.
2) Start keeping records. Take pictures, get statements, ask for a copy of the police report, and get the other driver’s insurance information. All of this information will be important for your insurance settlement, or evidence if there is a court appearance required.
3) Protect your rights! This is very important; do not admit fault, do not give a statement to your insurance company, and contact an attorney at your earliest convenience. An attorney who is familiar with auto and truck accidents will know how to best protect your rights and preserve your best chance for a fair settlement from an insurance company.