REFUSING TO REQUEST A WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT While oral contracts are legally recognized, enforcing them can be difficult because they require confirmation of the key provisions. Without a formal fee agreement, how can you be certain that you and your lawyer have struck a mutually beneficial agreement? Contract law fundamentally demands that there be a "meeting of the minds" before a contract may be formed. It makes reference to "an offer" and "an acceptance." A formal fee agreement assists to clarify and reinforce the client's and attorney's expectations. The agreement should clearly define each party's responsibilities and the scope of the representation. This safeguards both you and your natick attorney. The Virginia State Bar and the American Bar Association both support the use of written fee agreements. You should bring up the matter of a written fee agreement or representation agreement with your lawyer if he or she does not.

NOT INQUIRING ABOUT READING A DOCUMENT BEFORE SIGNING IT. Whether the document is a fee agreement, a lease, an affidavit, or a pleading, just because your natick lawyer presents it to you does not mean you should not carefully study it and ask questions about anything you do not understand. If you believe the document is incorrect or contains errors or omissions, you should bring it to your lawyer's attention.

REFUSAL TO REQUEST A COPY OF WHAT YOU SIGN. Always request a copy of any document you are required to sign. When a client is retained in our office, we provide them with a pocket folder including a copy of the fee agreement, office policies, and, in suitable instances, the client divorce manual.

FAILURE TO MAINTAIN COPIES You should have a secure location for storing vital documents. If the documents are from an natick attorney, they are significant and should be retained at least until the lawsuit or problem is resolved, and in some cases, for an extended period. The reality is that if you do not retain copies, you may be unable to obtain duplicates later. Believe it or not, I have had several clients over the years who were victimized by irresponsible lawyers who destroyed documents to avoid having to provide them in the event of a client dispute. One shreds files in front of the client. Apart from those concerns, the majority of natick lawyers do not preserve client files in perpetuity. In our office, we shred older closed files regularly to make way for new files. We urge clients to collect anything they may need or require from their file before it is closed, as it will be destroyed.

ABANDONMENT OF QUESTIONS. You should inquire of any prospective lawyer who he or she would select for a case similar to yours. You should inquire about the lawyer's experience and credentials. Can they provide testimonials from satisfied clients regarding their interactions with the natick lawyer and legal firm? Who else will be involved in your case besides the lawyer? How are telephone calls handled by them? How do they make their money? What does the attorney anticipate from you? How will he or she keep you updated on the status of your case? What strategy does he/she intend to use to deliver your case/defense? You should inquire about court procedures and other aspects of your case or legal concern. If you are unsure of any words, ask your natick lawyer to explain them to you.

INABILITY TO CONNECT. If you relocate or change your work or telephone numbers, your natick lawyer may be unable to touch with you regarding your case. It is critical to keep your lawyer informed of changes in your circumstances, job, and contact information for your residence.

NON-PROVISION OF A CELL PHONE NUMBER. This relates to the inability to maintain contact. Depending on the nature of the representation, your natick attorney may require immediate access to you. It is frustrating for the natick lawyers to be unable to contact you, and it can have a detrimental effect on your case. You should take precautions to ensure that your attorney can reach you and speak with you soon, preferably within an hour or two. For instance, suppose your natick lawyer is negotiating on your behalf. If he/she is unable to reach you during a vital time in the negotiation, he/she risks "blowing" the agreement or losing it entirely.

There is no reason not to facilitate communication with your lawyer in today's environment of quick communication.