We’ve recently experienced some problems with our telephone services (Very complicated matters involving forwarding, switches, relays and other technical stuff I only vaguely comprehend). I expect it will be fixed shortly. I’ve always found communication by email to be the most effective and convenient since it avoids the “telephone tag” that so often arises when client schedules and my availability conflict. With these recent telephone issues, my clients are far more likely to get in contact with me by email. As always, you can expect a timely and personal response from me.
It’s vitally important that you are confident in your attorney’s abilities, that they can communicate effectively with you about your options, and that you can trust them to be honest with you. That said, you have to be able to afford their services, too. We strive very hard to make sure our rates are competitive for the services we provide among the firms in the area.
We also make sure to treat each case individually. Every case has unique defenses, clients, and other circumstances that go in to how much time the attorney will spend on the matter. There are a number of ways an attorney spends their time on a case: in research, in negotiation, in communication with clients and other parties, waiting in court, and in trial, among others. Read more…
Lawyers want to communicate effectively with their clients and prospective clients. Despite that desire, a common complaint all lawyers receive from their clients is how difficult it can be to communicate with them. There are a number of factors behind this phenomenon.
If you want to communicate with me, your best bet is always going to be email.
- Lawyers have more than one client. Try as we might to make you feel like you’re our top priority, sometimes we have cases for other clients consuming our time in court, in meetings, in research, and even on the phone. There will be court days for a trial attorney that last until 5 or after.
- Phone tag. You call us. We call you. Just like an attorney can’t promise to be there and ready to talk every time you call, sometimes the client doesn’t pick up when we call back. (Thus my preference for email).
- Leave a message. Listen to our message to you. It’s hard enough playing phone tag. If you don’t leave a message, we don’t know what you need or how urgent it is that we get back with you. Likewise, if you don’t listen to our message back, you may not find out that we’ve already answered your question.
- A failure to plan on your part does not automatically create an emergency for us. I’ve gotten a lot of calls from folks over the years who have missed court dates, or need to hire an attorney at 4:45 for the next morning, or otherwise gotten themselves in a sticky situation that needs some prompt response. As much as I want to help my clients out of dire situations, and will if I’m available, we are not always going to be free to hop into your crisis. I’m not waiting by the Batphone to scramble into action. The chances are that I have other court matters, appointments and commitments that may have me too preoccupied to even get your message quickly. That’s not to say lawyers don’t want to respond quickly if we can, but simply that it is not always possible. Which leads to the last point…
- If you don’t get an immediate response, it’s not because we don’t care. I’m astounded how bent out of shape some folks can get when their call is not immediately returned. It’s as if it never occurred to them I might be doing something else at the time. If you work in an office environment, this is like the person who is constantly popping in your office to chat without ever asking, “Hey, do you have a minute?” as if you were just waiting for them to come talk to you.
I want to communicate with my clients. I want to know if you have questions or concerns. I want to respond to them, make you comfortable, and address your case. And I will do so as quickly as I can. That said, if you want to communicate with me, your best bet is always going to be email.
With email, I can read your message and respond while sitting in court. I can start reading or writing a reply, and put it down for a second to attend to something else, then return and finish. And when I send a reply, you can read it when you get around to it. It’s just more convenient all the way around and lets me serve you better.
Comments welcome below.
In an effort to make things a little easier for our clients, we are now accepting online payment of attorney fees. Simply go to the Payments tab and follow the instructions.
Let us know in the comments if you have further suggestions or improvements we can make to our services.
Once upon a time, drivers in North Carolina had a good bet that if they were charged with almost any traffic offense, their local attorney could get them a great deal and many times could get them off cheaper than they could trying to handle it on their own, and that included the attorney’s fee. Such days are gone.
After years of profligate spending and misplaced priorities, the legislature in its dire need for more money has repeatedly ratcheted up the base court costs over the last decade. Where attorneys could once get a standard speeding ticket reduced to a non-moving infraction and a $25 penalty, the legislature has since removed the prosecutor’s discretion to accept such deals and has raised even the base court costs to $180, not including fines. Where it was once the province of prosecutors and judges to determine on a case-by-case basis who should be hit with a heavy financial penalty, now the legislature has deemed that anyone coming to court for even the most trivial matter will have to pay through the nose. So why hire an attorney?
First, we know the law. It may sound trite, but there is value in having someone fighting for you that knows all your options and knows when you’ve gotten the best deal. You could handle it yourself, but will you get the best deal? How would you even know?
Second, we can appear for you. An attorney can appear on your behalf for most traffic offenses other than DWI, saving you valuable time at work or with your family.
Third, we get the best deal. It’s not as a great a deal as it might once have been, but an attorney gets the best deal available because we deal in bulk. If the DA wants to start having trials over traffic offenses, they know they’ll have a dozen or more to contend with. The prosecutor physically can’t have a trial in every traffic case, but they can do one pretty successfully. Go it alone and you might get to see it.
Finally, “stuff happens”. Sometimes it’s just a bad day to go to court. The DA’s new baby kept him up all night. The judge is in a bad mood. No matter what you do, you just aren’t going to get your best deal. Attorneys can recognize such problems you might not even notice because they’re around the prosecutors and judges every day. And they can deal with any number of other similar problems that could arise unexpectedly.
So, if you’ve got an issue with a speeding ticket, stop sign, red light, or other moving violation in Lee or Harnett County, contact me for a free consultation. Handling it yourself is like doing sewer line repairs without a plumber. You might be successful, or you could end up knee deep in you-know-what. Better call a professional.
As an update to developments of the last few months, Mr. Hilscher has taken a position with the prestigious Raleigh family and civil law firm Younce & Vtipil, Brad Matthews is an Assistant District Attorney in Onslow County, and Jennifer Stevens has recently accepted appointment as an Assistant District Attorney in Haywood County. As sad as I am to see them go, I can’t help but be proud for the small part I was allowed to play in their careers. For now, it will be just me and my 13 years of civil and criminal law experience. If you need anything, please shoot me an email to brickcitylaw @ windstream.net.
Hey everybody. Jennifer here.
At LU Law, we were required to take at least one semester of trial advocacy as part of our Lawyering Skills program. I took the required semester, then a semester of Advanced Trial Advocacy because I loved the material and I really enjoyed the professor’s teaching style. This particular professor served as the Attorney General in Kansas before becoming a visiting professor at LU. He is one of two professors who had a profound influence on me as an attorney.
One of the first things he taught us in basic trial advocacy was how to talk to a jury. Of course, he impressed upon us the understanding that a jury is not composed of twelve lawyers, but twelve laypersons who don’t have the same legal education that we have. More importantly for the purposes of this post, he stressed that you absolutely must “CSI” your juries. Never heard “CSI” used as a verb before? Get ready.
Everyone has at least heard of CSI, unless you just don’t watch TV. If you don’t watch it, it’s about crime scene investigators (hence CSI) attempting to figure out outlandish crimes, one hour at a time. Despite the good writing and interesting storylines, CSI could not be further from reality — at least, North Carolina’s reality. Thus, the necessity to “CSI” a jury.
North Carolina has a lot of great technological advantages over some other states. The RTP is pretty solid evidence that we know our way around technology. However, the North Carolina SBI doesn’t have access to anything close to the crazy advanced technology that you see on CSI. The procedures employed by the SBI and local law enforcement agencies in this state simply cannot be compared to those on shows like CSI. While it would be great to be able to simply spray a substance over a surface and shine a light on it to find dozens of tiny droplets of blood or saliva, then identify a suspect based solely on that evidence, it just doesn’t happen that way most of the time.
The bottom line is this: shows like CSI are entertaining, but they are not realistic. If you ever find yourself on a jury, try to keep your expectations for things like physical evidence in check. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney is likely to walk in with luminol, a blacklight, and a scrap of fabric that nails the killer in one fell swoop.
Now you may return to your regularly scheduled Criminal Minds marathon.