Ten Tips for Working Well with The Law Studio
Because I am often in court and handle legal actions daily, I sometimes forget that a large portion of the population rarely or never deals with lawyers. They might have friends who are lawyers, and (for better or for worse) those experiences dictate how they expect us to operate. Yet lawyers are as unique as the people who serve in these roles. To help you prepare for your experience working with The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick, we recommend the following:
- Tell us the whole truth, even if it scares or embarrasses you. As we often tell our clients, we can work with what we know about, but surprises can change strategy in an instant, and we can’t always adapt appropriately in that instant.
- Make the Seven Choices (of a conflict resolution master), as often as you can. Forgive yourself for having conflicts. Forgive yourself for hiding out and hoping they would go away. Forgive the world for having and creating conflicts. Free the emotions. Clear your mind. If you must make an assumption, assume you know nothing about anything. Listen with your third ear (your heart–including to yourself).
- Regularly review Conflict Mastery Actions One, Two, and Three. Clearly defining the conflict makes it easier to resolve. Identifying your interests (e.g., expectations, beliefs, wants, needs) gives us a broader range of potential solutions. Playing with the possibilities brings us freedom and reminds us that there is always more available to us than we think.
- Let us know if your circumstances, needs or desires change. Legal matters can take months or years to resolve, and of course, life doesn’t stop just because your case is stalled. As your circumstances change, so might your priorities, but we won’t know that if you don’t tell us.
- Trust us–to do a good job, meet deadlines, and return calls or respond to messages as soon as we can. We might seem like people who sit in offices for much of the day, but we are often in court, at meetings or depositions, in the subway, or otherwise where we can’t always respond immediately. In our Professional Services Agreement, we will establish a communications procedure for emergencies. We can also discuss your preferences regarding communications. Otherwise, please be patient with us and understand that we like to give our full focus to the matters we are on in any given moment. That includes yours. We won’t be distracted by others’ calls and messages when we are working on your case, either.
- Tell us if we’re not meeting your expectations. We understand the legal process can be quite stressful and frustrating, and we do what we can to alleviate some of the burden. Yet we base this on our past experience and best guesses, which might not always work for you. If it doesn’t lets discuss it and come up with something that does work.
- Pay us on time and in full. I know lawyers have a reputation of being greedy and rolling in money. We think you will find that our fees are very reasonable for the New York City area, yet we still have to cover the high costs of operating here, paying the employees that support us in resolving your legal matter(s), and making student loan payments that many of us will still be making when we retire. If you’re having a cash flow problem, we will work with you on a payment plan. Otherwise, we think one of the best ways to show your appreciation is to pay us.
- Exercise “extreme self-care” while we resolve your matter. As already mentioned, the legal process can be quite stressful and frustrating. There are aspects of it that seem counterintuitive and invasive. You might experience a wide range of difficult emotions, fears, and self-doubt. That is normal whenever you are experiencing something new or in which your future is less within your control. You might need more sleep, a healthier diet, and stronger support while your case is pending. Don’t feel bad about that, and take great care of yourself.
- Use your third ear with us, and remember we aren’t machines. Sometimes, it would be easier for us, too, if we didn’t need sleep, exercise, meal breaks, time with loved ones, and other replenishment. But we are human beings, just like you, and we do need all of these things so we can do our best work for you. And that is really what we want to give you.
- Keep your eyes open for opportunities, and ground yourself daily in gratitude. When something is going “wrong” in our lives, it is easy to lose sight of all of the good things around us. We recommend that you practice expressing gratitude every day (even when you’re not involved in the legal process). Make a list of what you are thankful for each day. Call a loved one each day and thank them for specific contributions they have made to you. Note the aspects of your work or home that you like, your favorite sites on your way to work, etc. This won’t make the negative things in the world go away, but it will make your experience of the world more enjoyable.
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is an attorney, arbitrator, and mediator based in New York City.
She is the founder of The Law Studio of Nance L. Schick. Her holistic, integrative
approach draws from her experience as a human resources supervisor, as well as her
legal and EEOC training. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process,
author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an
award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by the New York Economic
Development Corporation/B-Labs (Best for NYC 2015 finalist), U.S. Chamber of
Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine
(Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count
Me In (2013 Pitch Competition finalist). Most recently, she attained her certificate in
Ethno-Religious Conflict Mediation and now serves as the Main ICERM Representative
to the United Nations.