In the head of the lawyer

Ouch! I miss all my homework by not writing tickets for over a month due to overwork for some time already.

The situation is not likely to improve, although everyone keeps telling me that being asked by many new customers is wonderful, business is good and my skills are recognized. have time to take care of everyone.

Rest assured (for those who would be worried), the organization of the cabinet will be changed in a few times to get everything back in order (finally until the next "overload").

Back on topic. I'm doing a new article that will have the subject to show you behind the scenes.

We are not this time "under the dress" of the lawyer as is the category associated with this ticket but in the head of the lawyer when he is seized of a new file and because, so much what to do, as much to speak of what I know best, I invite you to enter my head.

Let us discard from the outset the multitude of "stereotyped" files (do not see in the use of this term no pejorative connotation) that I sometimes have to deal with and interest us in the essence of my activity, labor law and more specifically defending the interests of employees.

My way of apprehending a new case will essentially depend on two factors: the stage of advancement of the litigation and the personality of the client.

Regarding the first point, when I am contacted to process a file, the client can be in three major situations:

  • he blames a number of behaviors to his employer and wishes to leave him in the best possible way (quickly and with the best guarantees)
  • the employment contract has already been broken and the employee disputes this break
  • the employee has already started alone or "poorly assisted" a procedure prud'homale that can sometimes be already at the stage of the Court of Appeal

Regarding the second point, there are two main categories of customers: the client decided and the client undecided.

The client decided is the one who realized that to best manage the situation he was in, it was imperative for a lawyer, me in this case. He has therefore generally inquired beforehand by word of mouth or on the Internet about the value of using a lawyer and the cost of intervention of the latter.

If I discuss with him the question of fees and the fact that their amount and their recovery will be defined by a fee agreement that we will sign at the first meeting, that is not his main concern. Above all, he wants to be listened to, reassured and guided to face this situation and first of all privileges the relationship that we will tie to the cost of my intervention.

For its part, the undecided client does not know yet whether he will or will not use a lawyer and this for two main reasons: he thinks to be able to resolve his situation alone (everyone repeating that conduct a procedure prud ' homale or negotiate a transaction is simple and within the reach of the first comer) but above all, he wants to avoid at all costs excessive and unpredictable expenses.

For him, the issue of fees is paramount and it is also on it that he asks me first before even tell me about his situation, causing me always the same answer, namely that I can only tell him more about the issue when I know more about what I will have to do in his file.

The difficulty of this type of client is that even if he finally gives me his case, he will often remain a certain "mistrust" to me, the loss of control over his file terrorizing him (the term is not too much strong, quite the contrary). The problem is there because there can not be two captains in command. This client is very recognizable because during the first appointment, he gives me his pieces one by one very slowly (often in disorder for that matter), speaks a lot and strives not to answer my questions which is only aimed at to refocus the debate. Generally, the appointment then lasts a very long time.

This type of client runs straight, by training us, to the disaster because his behavior greatly increases the risks, records quality equal, he finally does not get what he came to look in my office.

In front of him, I am then forced very quickly to reframe things by re-explaining to him the role of each one. If the client knows best "the factual" in his file (the dates, the names, the events …), it is the lawyer who is able to manage the best "the legal one". It is up to the client to tell us where he wants to go, to tell him if it is possible or not and if it is, after having agreed on a strategy, to bring him there. involving him in the search for evidence (this is the essence of his role).

Nothing is more dangerous to itself than a customer who calls on me but tries repeatedly to impose (not just propose) inappropriate ways of proceeding (to remain polite).

The development of a file's strategy generally follows three steps:

  • the first meeting during which the client presents the situation and exposes his aspirations. For my part, I am already proposing a draft strategy, and we are mainly discussing the evidence and the means to obtain it.
  • a time more or less long (a few days to several months) during which the file works in my little head and that the customer uses to gather the evidence.
  • the final point on the record that I make with the client once all the evidence "obtainable" in my possession. The file then goes into its active phase visible to the other party, either by the letter that I send to him to crystallize the litigation, or by direct referral to the Labor Court.

Some clients are worried about my silence during the second stage, wrongly assuming that I am abandoning their file. If this is the case materially speaking, I remain intellectually involved in all my current files, as long as I have not found the best strategy to apply. This is my side "pitbull" (any resemblance to remarks made by a "famous" sister would be without a doubt fortuitous).

In fact, we must keep in mind that the primary objective of the client is to obtain what he came to seek by consulting us and that we told him to be feasible and as I hate to lose … I must so to win, for my clients first and for me then (CQFD).

In conclusion, in my opinion, involvement is the foundation of our profession and of any service profession and is the essential criterion of what makes a lawyer a good lawyer, beside of course the more obvious one of skill. If we need to have a certain perspective on our files to keep a cool head, it is imperative not to lose sight of the interests of the client because it is this, before anything else, that gives meaning to our action. . Some confreres, who are often older, seem to have forgotten him.