Tag Archive for 'interview'

How to Prepare for a Meeting with Your Family Lawyer

Meetings- oh, how we all dread them.  Those time consuming and distracting gatherings somehow have the knack of making the day go by slower and adding to our work pile.  Some people seem to be naturally allergic to them and will do their best to avoid meetings like the plague.

On the other hand, some types of meetings are absolutely necessary in our lives.  For example, your first meeting with a family lawyer is something that you definitely don’t want to avoid.  The importance of that first meeting cannot be understated- it will set the tone for the entire case, and many significant issues will be addressed during the first meeting.

The problem is, even though family law issues are all over the news, many people feel clueless about how to prepare for a meeting with their family lawyer.  So, here are a few pointers on what to do and (probably more importantly) what not to do when meeting with your family lawyer for the first time:

Attorney meeting with client1) Research Legal Issues and Document Facts

Don’t assume that your family lawyer will do all the work during the first meeting.  You will need to prepare yourself by going over the legal issues that you think you are involved in.  For example, if you are dealing with a divorce, you’ll need to review the grounds for divorce (if any) and any other issues that might be important, like property distributions.  It helps to make a list of any facts that you think might be important for your case.

You may even wish to do some background legal research, just so you have a general idea of the laws surrounding your family law issue.  Try and gather whatever documents that you think might be used in your case.  Also, you should know that all lawyers are bound to perform their services according to Model Rules of Professional Conduct.  You may wish to review these rules, as they dictate the standards that your lawyer must abide by (such as due diligence, fees, competence, attorney-client confidentiality, etc.)

You don’t, however, need to go all out and risk your hand at law school- just the basics will do.

2) Keep your Emotions under Control

Family law is often considered one of the toughest areas of law to practice in.  This is not because it is technical or overly complicated, but because it often involves very sensitive, highly personal issues.  Understandably, you may be facing some very tough issues like child custody or property distributions.

But, it will work in your favor if you’re able to keep your cool during initial meetings with your lawyer.  Communication will run more smoothly, and you’ll be able to make decisions with a straight head.  Unless emotional factors are intertwined with the legal issues (such as when claiming emotional distress), you should avoid giving center stage to your emotions.

3) Cooperate with your Counsel

In the midst of your legal issues, the last thing you want to do is create a conflict with your attorney.  You should cooperate fully with any requests and inquiries that your lawyer may have.  For instance, your lawyer may ask you to provide certain documents that might be used as evidence.  Don’t be stingy if your lawyer asks you for something- your lawyer may already be having a heck of a time dealing with the opposing parties.

Also, don’t try to prod your lawyer into an all-out battle.  While the legal system is adversarial in nature, both you and your lawyer can get into trouble for creating unnecessary conflicts with each other or with the other side.  Professional Rules already require your lawyer to pursue your claim with zeal and fervor.   You should, however, alert your attorney to any conflicts that could arise during the course of litigation.

4) Keep the Results of the Meeting Confidential

Ok, this one seems pretty obvious.  But, you’d be surprised at how many cases get blown due to a client leaking out confidential information.  Always remember that any communications made between you and your attorney in preparation for trial is subject to the attorney-client privilege.  This means that such communications are private and may not be accessed by the opposing counsel.

Lastly, and most obviously, don’t go blasting out the results of your meeting on Twitter or Facebook.  Sure, you might have found an excellent piece of evidence for your case. But that doesn’t mean you should change your status update to “Oooh my ex is going to get it in court!”  Your internet activity can be used against you during hearings; this includes your activity on social networks.  Best thing to do?  Simply avoid all mention of and references to your legal issues.

Conclusion

Let’s face it- most people really don’t enjoy having to attend a meeting.  After all, by definition a meeting is not part of the everyday routine.  But with a little preparation and some sound thinking, your initial lawyer meeting can do wonders for the outcome of your case.  And now, back to that pile of work…

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Winning Over Job Interviewer Pro Tip: Don’t Be A Jerk

A friend of mine just had one of the worst job interviews imaginable, but it wasn’t because the interview sucked, it was because he did.  It’s funny sometimes how people can be so oblivious when it comes to seemingly straight-forward things like finding work or even social situations, because that’s what job interviews essentially are, a way to sidle up to a person and convince them to like you enough to hire you.

But the best part of this all was that as my friend was recounting his interview to me, he had no idea how completely out of line he was coming off during the whole debacle and was instead outraged at the interviewer.  His zany antics smacked of Diana Abdala.  It was a level of uncouth obliviousness that only a “trust fund baby” could ever think was proper.

But the funny thing is that my friend isn’t rich himself.  He didn’t grow up with a silver spoon in his mouth.  He just thought what he was doing was okay.  What his interview showed me was that it doesn’t matter what your background is, when it comes to job interview and socializing in general, some people can just be downright awkward and/or rude just because they don’t know better.

Oh, and for those of you who don’t remember Diana Abdala, I’m jealous because I wished I could put her snobbery and entitled self out of my mind, as well.  This week marks the 5th year anniversary of when she first lit up the blogosphere back in February 2006.  Abdala had accepted a job with a small law firm, but when her employer had to cut her pay in order to hire an additional attorney, Abdala balked back like a spoiled child.  Certainly if I was in her position I’d be angry with my new boss, too; however unlike her, I wouldn’t have thrown a temper tantrum like she did.

Instead of politely declining the position because the lower pay, Abdala expounds on her need be paid enough to support her glamorous lifestyle, insults her would-be boss for his inadequacy as an attorney, and then caps the whole thing off with “bla bla bla” after he responds back.  Abdala is the epitome of every douchebag rich kid I went to law school with, which believe me, are in plentiful supply when you go to a tier one law school.  Not only does Abdala’s action show her immaturity, it also shows her inability to relate with people, a must for any good lawyer.

Anyway, at this point you might be wondering what my friend did that was so bad in his interview.  Well, in this case I don’t think it’s all that important to recount since to most people it should be obvious not to pull the kind of stunts he was doing.  Let’s just say it involved a lot of tardiness, a lot of sweat, and a lot of feet-on-table casualness.

But thankfully what I will convey to you is my top 5 tips on proper job interviewing etiquette.  You may be thinking where I get off telling you how to interview for a job.  You’d be right to question my credentials.  However what I can tell you is that these tips have always helped me land a job in a very short time and regardless should be tenets adhered to by everyone who wants to come off well in these sorts of social situations.

1)      Mimic your interviewer

This may sound kind of funny, but it’s the most important tip I can give anyone who is job hunting.  People subconsciously become more amenable to those who react and move in the same ways as they do, which in turns makes you more likely to be hired.  Now when I say mimic, I don’t mean copy everything your interviewer does exactly, because that’s just creepy.  What I mean is that you should adopt their mannerisms and adapt to their language use so that you come off similar to how they are, because after all we are naturally attracted to those that we think are like us.  Doing something as simple as crossing your legs in the same way as your interviewer or using the same terms they’re using can go a long way in making your interviewer more comfortable with you.

2)      Firm handshake

I’ll admit that this is an old one, but it’s still a good one.  A firm handshake subtly conveys confidence, a plus for any interview.  Now remember, don’t Vulcan death grip your interviewer, it just has to be firm enough so that it leaves a good impression.  Oh, and no one likes sweaty hands.

3)      Make good eye contact

This is another oldie, but a goody none the less.  Like with the firm handshake, eye contact also conveys confidence.  It also provides the more immediate bonus of letting your interviewer know you’re actually paying attention.  Again don’t be too creepy by staring relentlessly, just do it enough so that you seem confidently normal.

4)      Don’t fidget

Yeah I know this one can be hard especially during the nerve-racking process that is job interviewing, but please try to do this one.  Excessive moving, playing with your hands or hair, etc. can be a major turn off to potential employers.  Keep an open posture and feel free to talk with your hands if you need to, just don’t over do it.

5)      Smile

Who doesn’t like happy, pleasant and enthusiastic people?  Smiling conveys exactly that along with (once again) confidence.  Smile as soon as you first meet your interviewer and shake his or her hand.  Keep a welcoming exterior throughout the interview and be sure to end it on another smile.

Hopefully these tips will help you land the job you’ve been eyeing.

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