Guest post by Ellen L. Hughes, author of Be a Smart Client
Ask for Help; Get More Help
Working as a paralegal for over 20 years, I noticed many clients were intimidated by lawyers and the legal system. I decided to empower people by sharing what I learned in my book, Be a Smart Client: Guide to a Successful Relationship with Your Attorney. This 100-page book offers everything a client needs — from precise techniques to use, important questions to ask, and insights into personality traits of attorneys.
Having personal opinion but no quantifiable data for attorney behavior and personality traits, I relied on Susan Daicoff’s book, Lawyer, Know Thyself. As a psychologist-turned-law-professor, she was the perfect resource to supply psychological insight into the legal mind for my book.
I then asked her for a blurb for my book cover. In addition to supplying several quotes, she recommended my book to another lawyer, Dennis Beaver. In turn, he endorsed Be a Smart Client in his syndicated column, The Law and You.
By including professional opinions outside my area of expertise in my book, my readership and sales multiplied.
Research Your Competition
Like a responsible writer, I researched the competition. The few books that deal with attorneys either: 1) discuss only how to find the right lawyer, or 2) focus on the emotional turmoil. My book goes beyond merely finding the right attorney. It delves into points to discuss before hiring, what to expect and, more importantly, what to request from legal counsel. It lists free research resources, client responsibilities, and specific actions to take to help your case.
According to Daicoff, Be a Smart Client is “a fantastic guide for clients to understand their lawyers and how best to utilize legal services, proactively. Hughes obviously understands lawyers, clients, and the legal profession well and provides concrete, practical steps for clients to take when facing a legal issue.”
Dennis Beaver offered: “Two things are unique about Be a Smart Client. First, Hughes asks readers the types of questions that few think of and which are essential in finding the right lawyer. Second, she provides concrete advice that guides clients through what can be difficult moments in the attorney-client relationship.”
Be a Smart Client
Visitors to BeASmartClient.com will find many free resources. Readers of my book can use supplied charts to track progress, sample letters to write, and end-of-chapter quizzes to review material. The book also contains the Client Constitution, a 21-point checklist of items to discuss before hiring a lawyer. Daicoff said, “I particularly like the Client Constitution. It is a wake-up call for lawyers and clients alike and provides a road map for excellent lawyer-client relations.”