Ziff Law’s Jim Reed Again Named Among Best Lawyers In National Directory

Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm,

Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm,

Jim Reed, managing partner of the Ziff Law Firm in Elmira, has been selected by his peers to be featured in a national directory of top-rated attorneys for the fifth year in a row.

Adam Gee of the Ziff Law Firm.

Adam Gee of the Ziff Law Firm.

Jim, selected as a Best Lawyer in personal injury and medical malpractice law, was named to the 2016 Best Lawyers in America guide following a survey of lawyers in his geographical region and area of practice. Jim was first selected for the 2012 guide.

In September 2014, Jim was named the 2015 Plaintiffs’ Lawyer of the Year by the Best Lawyers in America guide among personal injury lawyers in the Southern New York Region, based on the recommendations of lawyers in Chemung, Steuben, Tompkins, Broome and Tioga, N.Y., counties.

Jim, who has been practicing law since 1986, has argued cases at every level in the New York State court system and has successfully managed many multi-million dollar cases. His practice handles serious personal injury and malpractice cases,

Jim is also the legal expert for WETM-TV in Elmira and appears in a segment called “Law Talk” at about 12:20 p.m. each Wednesday on WETM to discuss legal issues in the news.

Jim’s selection as a Best Lawyer shows that he has an excellent reputation in the Twin Tiers legal community, and a trial lawyer’s reputation means everything.

Every client should care about the reputation of their lawyer because it can influence the success or failure of their case. If you have a good reputation, as Jim does, opposing counsel and judges afford you courtesy and respect. They know that every case handled by a lawyer of Jim’s stature is a good case.

The American Lawyer, a magazine and website that reports news on the legal profession, describes the annual Best Lawyers guide as “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

To read more about the Best Lawyers guide, click here,

Thanks for reading,

Adam
__________________________________________

Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]

 


Christina Sonsire To Discuss Erb’s Palsy Cases With Trial Lawyers From Across NY In March

Christina Sonsire

Christina Sonsire

Attorney Christina Sonsire of the Ziff Law Firm, who represented the family of a 7-year-old Otsego County girl who received a $2.1 million medical malpractice jury verdict in a 2013 Erb’s palsy case, will address members of the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers next month, presenting “Preclusion of Junk Science in Erb’s Palsy Cases: Muhammad, Brandenburg, Nobre and Sutryk.”

There will be four presentations on March 4th and 5th across Upstate New York.

Christina, who gained national attention following the verdict, will be joined by Attorney Joseph Lichtenstein, of Mineola, NY, who was hired to represent the family of the girl who suffered the birth injury at a Cooperstown hospital. Joseph brought in Christina to try the case and said in 2013, “She was able to present this highly complex case in a way the jury could fully understand. She is truly remarkable.”

To read more about the verdict, go here.

ATLChristina and Joseph will discuss the significance of four Erb’s Palsy cases, including Christina’s $2.1 million verdict, and offer suggestions on how other trial lawyers can represent their clients in similar cases.

During the 2013 trial, Christina effectively precluded defendants from arguing the girl’s injury was caused by the laboring mother’s own contractions, a defense often referred to as the “natural forces of labor.” The verdict received attention because lawyers across the country have been arguing the “natural forces of labor” defense lacks scientific foundation for the past 20 years.

The schedule:

  • March 4:
    Albany: Noon to 2 p.m., Taste Restaurant, 45 Beaver St.
    Syracuse: 6 to 8 p.m., Syracuse University College of Law, Room 100.
  • March 5:
    Rochester: Noon to 2 p.m., Monroe County Bar Association, 1 West Main St., fifth floor.
    Buffalo: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., University at Buffalo Law School, Room 104.

The sessions are free for Academy members and $100 for nonmembers. To register, go to www.trialacademy.org or call (518) 364-4044.

Thanks for reading!

Jim
_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
            NYBikeAccidentBlog.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Best Apps for Lawyers Provide Productivity on the Go

Like nearly everyone these days, I’m constantly looking for ways to use technology to make my life easier and allow me to do my job more effectively.

The recent flood of iPhone apps on the market presents many opportunities, but it’s so difficult to sort through the literally thousands of choices. Which apps work the best? Which ones are designed to fit your needs? Which ones work with different devices?

Enter Law360, an online newsletter for lawyers. Last month, Law 360 featured an article, “The Top 10 Apps for Lawyers.” Music to my ears!

Here’s an overview of the article. Although I haven’t yet tested all of the apps, I use a number of these programs frequently – and with Law 360’s recommendations, I’m sure I’ll be trying more soon.

Document management

Dropbox: a data-storage that stores info in “the cloud.” It allows you to access all types of files, including Microsoft Word documents, PDFs, and videos, from any computer or smart device. As long as you have Internet access, Dropbox makes your data available.

Documents To Go: lets attorneys easily view and edit files, as well as save documents in a specific folder – it also has a footnotes feature. The app specializes in Word documents, and makes it easier to maneuver the screen and alter text size. It’s also available for BlackBerrys, Androids and iPads, and it’s linked to Dropbox.

GoodReader: a helpful file management and access app for the iPhone and iPad. It has PDF annotation tools for highlighting, underlining and striking through text, and the app interacts with Dropbox. You may have heard of a previous PDF annotation app, IAnnotate – well, GoodReader is described as having an easier-to-use interface, one that’s simple and clean.

DocScanner: The iPhone or Android camera acts as a scanner and saves a picture (say of a document!) as a PDF. DocScanner is also integrated with Dropbox.

Editing

PlainText: a word processor for the iPhone and iPads with two integral features – it allows lawyers to create a text file and then backs it up to Dropbox. By the way, support staff with access to your Dropbox can access the documents you put there – without your having to e-mail them.

Noterize: lets lawyers mark up a document with their finger or using a stylus. It’s a key app for making quick comments or reviewing document.

Reference

Fastcase: this app for the iPhone and iPad allows lawyers to pull up any U.S. case. It tracks down information on statutes, regulations and court rules, as well, but users must be able to get Internet access for those features.

Remote access

LogMeIn Ignition: if you leave a document on their work or home computer, this remote-access app — available for Androids and Apple devices — can be a life-saver. It enables lawyers to view the screen of their computer and control it from another computer or portable device. It’s like having your work computer with you anywhere you go.

Presentations

Keynote: this app is Apple’s answer to PowerPoint. The app helps create professional-style presentations. Plug your device into a projector to display the presentation on a screen. Keynote Remote is a related app that turns an iPhone into a wireless controller during a presentation.

Scheduling

Calvetica: A simplified calendar program for the iPhone. Calvetica lets users make quick entries and edits to their calendars. It also syncs with the iPhone calendar, so lawyers can go back and forth between using Calvetica and the built-in program.

All of these apps are available in Apple’s App Store, of course! Thanks for reading and here’s to more productivity – and more down-time!

Regards,

Christina

_________________________________
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
[email protected]
Office: 607.733.8866
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)
Web: zifflaw.com
Blog: NYInjuryLawBlog.com


New York Accident Lawyer: Non Party Witnesses NOT Entitled to Counsel At Deposition

Scale of justice, Enhanced version of an image...

As a Plaintiff’s Attorney who conducts depositions on a regular basis, one of the more frustrating issues I encounter is the non-party witness (NPW) who is represented by counsel.  Sometimes the NPW brings in their own outside counsel to represent them.  More commonly, the NPW has some loose affiliation with the interests of the Defendants in the case, and defense counsel tries to claim that they are also representing the NPW.  Defense counsel then obstructs objects and delays, hoping to prevent me from obtaining damaging information from the NPW.  These kinds of tactics usually end up in the deposition being adjourned, or a call to the judge to determine the extent to which the defense attorney will be allowed to participate, with wildly varying decisions froom the judges who have addressed the issue.

Thankfully, the Appellate Division has finally ruled on the issue.  In Thompson v. Mather, the NYS Appellate Division, Fourth Department recently ruled that while an NPW is certainly entitled to whatever counsel they want, the NPW’s attorney IS NOT entitled to participate in the deposition.  So they can’t object or obstruct or delay or do any of the many other things that slow, and sometimes stop a deposition dead in its tracks.

This is a boon for not just plaintiffs attorneys, but for every attorney who handles depositions.  The trial judges who have to field phone calls from attorneys complaining of these tactics will be happy to hear of this decision as well.  Many thanks to our good friend Eric Turkewitz, who wrote about the topic here.  It seems that the scales of justice may be tipping toward common sense!

Thanks for reading,

_______________________________
Adam M. Gee, Esq.

NY and PA Personal Injury and Malpractice Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062
Email: [email protected]
www.zifflaw.com
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Information Lawyers NEED to Know: Ziff Law to Host CLE Seminar on Liens, Set-Asides and Special-Needs Trusts

medicalThe Ziff Law Firm has planned an important seminar for legal professionals.

The firm will host Liens, Set-Asides and Special Needs Trusts, noon to 2 p.m. on Friday, March 5 at the Ziff offices, 303 William Street in Elmira.

The seminar will be presented by Brett Newman, managing partner of Lien Resolution Group, and Ziff Law’s Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.

Participants earn two CLE credits and lunch will be provided. The cost is free for members of the Academy of Trial Lawyers and $100 for non-members. The $100 admission fee can be applied toward the cost of a one-year membership in the Academy. For more information, follow this link to the Seminar Brochure and/or check the Academy of Trial Lawyers Brochure.

The seminar will cover a variety of topics:

  • Changes in state and federal laws affecting Medicare reimbursement claims
  • Medicaid liens
  • Private health insurance subrogation claims
  • When Medicare set-asides are appropriate in liability and workers compensation cases
  • Attorney and client liability for Medicare, Medicaid and ERISA claims
  • Procedures to identify potential liens, initiate correspondence with the lien holder, audit and petition bills and payment summaries, and negotiate procurement offset
  • The protection of client government benefits through special needs trusts

To register for the seminar, please visit the Academy of Trial Lawyers online or call the Academy at (518) 364-4044. Please contact me directly if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Christina
________________________________
Christina Bruner Sonsire, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, New York 14902-1338
[email protected]
Office: 607.733.8866
Toll-Free: 800.ZIFFLAW (943.3529)
Web: zifflaw.com
Blog: NYInjuryLawBlog.com


NY Accident Lawyer Warns Other NY Injury Attorneys About Internet Scam Targeting Injury Law Firms

Citibank-check

“If it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true.”

I ALWAYS keep that old saying in mind when considering any aspect of my personal injury or malpractice cases. Over the years, being extremely suspicious of something that sounds too good to be true has saved my bacon more times than I can count.

Just this past week, my suspicious instinct for self-preservation saved me from the most sophisticated Internet scam I have ever seen. What is amazing about this scam is that it is specifically targeting law firms.

And lest you think lawyers are too smart to get victimized by a simple Internet scam, think again — I am told that at least 22 law firms have fallen prey to this scam with each of them losing $300,000 to $400,000. That’s right, MORE than $300,000 each! And there is no recourse for these duped firms.

So let me tell you about the scam so you can make sure you don’t fall prey to this scam.

It starts innocently enough. You receive an E-mail from a woman who has been terribly hurt in a New York City accident. The woman tells you she is Korean and was working in the US in NYC at the time of her injury.

She says that the insurance company (MetLife in my case) has offered her $400,000 to settle her case but they are now jerking her around about paying because she has moved back to Korea due to her injuries and disability. She says she just needs a US attorney to receive the settlement check and then send her the funds in Korea.

Well, I am so used to insurance companies jerking people around for every reason under the sun, that that part of the story is entirelyplausible. Even though my instinct was that this smelled funny (and I told my wife that), I decided to play along and see where this would go.

I emailed back and said I would be happy to help but would need documentation of the settlement and additional information.

To my surprise, I was then emailed settlement documents that looked totally legitimate. They were professionally done, grammatically correct, and notarized. Not the kind of thing you normally see with the typical Internet scam where there are tons of misspellings and atrocious grammar. The documents identified a MetLife Adjuster with both a phone number and e-mail address for him.

So, I decided to continue to play along to see what would happen next.

I emailed the adjuster after checking that the E-mail was actually going to a MetLife domain. I truly thought that would be the end of it. But knock me over with a feather, I got an E-mail back from the adjuster

saying that he would process the $400,000 check and send it to me. I thought sure…..

The next day, I received a $400,000 MetLife check via FEDEX. The check (see the posted photo) looked totally legitimate and was drawn on a CitiBank account. I was amazed and was beginning to teeter on the edge of believing this actually might be legitimate. But that’s when I received a phone call from the US Postal Inspector. They asked if I had received a $400,000 check. I told them I had and they said that they were glad they had reached me before the check had been cashed or any funds had been transferred.

I was told that so far they were aware of 40 checks for $400,000 sent to lawyers and of those 40, 22 had already wired funds of more than $300,000 each out of the country. For those unfortunate lawyers, there is no recourse because the funds were now outside the US.

The Postal inspector explained that the CitiBank check did in fact have correct routing numbers for a MetLife account so that when the lawyer presented the check to his bank, that bank would honor the check because it looked to be legitimate. It would only be several days later when CitiBank rejected the check that a lawyer would learn of the scam. If the lawyer had already wired the money out of the country, they were totally out of luck.

So, a word to the wise: If it is too good to be true, it is too good to be true!” And another word to all attorneys: Wait until a check has CLEARED before disbursing any funds even if that means you have to wait 7 to 10 days. Better safe than sorry!

Thanks for reading,

Jim

_________________________________

James B. Reed
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Mailto: [email protected]
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
Web: www.zifflaw.com
Blogs: NYInjuryLawBlog.com and
NYBikeAccidentBlog.com


Free and Found on the Web: Great Programs for Trial Lawyers

Law-tools-on-the-InternetA cool thing about blogs: Every once in a while, you come across a post with incredibly helpful information from someone with an insider’s knowledge.

That was the case for me with the following post, found at Winning Trial Advocacy Tips: Proven Courtroom Tips to Help You Persuade Jurors and Win Trials. This blog, part of TrialTheater.com, features advice to boost the expertise of trial lawyers.

I loved the following post by Elliott Wilcox. With his permission, I am using it here on the NY Injury Law Blog as a guest post. Thanks for the post, Elliott, and the sage tech advice!

Free Software for Trial Lawyers

On a budget? Here are some software programs that will help you prepare for your next jury trial and won’t break the bank. Most of these programs work on a variety of platforms, but since I’m a Mac guy, one or two of them might be Mac-only.

IMAGE EDITING PROGRAMS

GIMP: www.gimp.org

Need to crop photos, modify images, or enhance images for trial? This is a cheap (free) alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It includes a wide variety of image editing tools. It’s not easy to get started, but it’s a powerful resource.

Seashore: www.seashore.sourceforge.net

A simple image editing program that’s easier to use than GIMP.

Inkscape: www.inkscape.org

This is an illustration program (similar to Adobe Illustrator) that lets you create vector drawings and illustrations. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the professional program, but it lets you create amazing artwork.

Hugin: www.hugin.sourceforge.net

If you’re trying to take photos of a large, panoramic area, you usually can’t fit the entire scene into a single photo (at least not without a thousand dollar camera lens). Hugin solves that problem by letting you stitch 2+ photos together into a panoramic view.

AUDIO EDITING PROGRAMS

Audacity: www.audacity.sourceforge.net

If your evidence includes audio recordings of depositions, interviews, or police interrogations, Audacity is an invaluable tool. With this program, you’ll be able to edit audio recordings, extract smaller portions from extended interviews, and perform other audio editing functions.

3D MODELS / CRIME SCENE MODELING

Sketchup: www.sketchup.google.com

Create 3D and 2D models, apply textures, and voila! you’ve created an interactive model of the crime scene!

Sweet Home 3d: www.sweethome3d.eu

Need to layout a residential crime scene or a slip& fall scenario? Sweet Home 3d can render home layouts, furnishings, and create floorplans.

OFFICE SUITE PROGRAMS

Scribus: www.scribus.net

This program is great for producing flyers, brochures, newsletters, etc. You can use it to create posters or enlargements for use in direct examination or closing argument.

OpenOffice: www.openoffice.org

Can’t afford (or don’t trust) Microsoft Office? OpenOffice includes a full suite of office programs. You’ll get a word processor, spreadsheet, database, graphics, and presentation programs.

Google Docs: www.docs.google.com

Create and edit web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

The documents are stored online, so multiple parties can modify them at once (beware of attorney-client privilege violations).

AbiWord: www.abisource.com

This word processing program is similar to Microsoft Word.

PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMS

Evernote: www.evernote.com

This program works on your computer, iPhone, PDA, etc. You can synchronize your notes everywhere at once. It’s invaluable for jotting down notes, websites, and more.

Freemind: www.freemind.sourceforge.net

Need to brainstorm new cross-examination questions? Trying to organize your direct-examination, but not sure which topics you should address or which order you should present them in? Freemind is a mind-mapping program. If you’ve never used a mind-map before, it might take a little getting accustomed to, but it will make it much easier for you to get those brilliant ideas out of your head and onto paper.

TimeBridge: www.TimeBridge.com

If you’ve ever tried to schedule a meeting with several busy people, you know how difficult it can be to find a time that works for everyone. This online meeting scheduler allows all of the invitees to choose a preferred meeting slot, then it finds tha day and time that work the best for everyone.

– Elliott Wilcox, Trial Theater.com

Thank you, Elliott, for the permission to re-post your excellent software suggestions. Readers, don’t miss out on the informative Trial Theater website, where you can find loads more advice and tips about courtroom presentation.

,
Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com

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Don’t Let Facebook Torpedo Your Client’s Case!

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Social networking sites can sink cases, and attorneys MUST warn clients of the risk.

Consider the numbers:

Those figures will climb just during the time it takes to me to write this post. I haven’t even mentioned – yet – emerging sites such as Wikia, Zimbio, and Multiply.

With membership numbers like those above, and more online communities emerging, the Internet is about making connections, not keeping life confidential.

Personal injury attorneys need to ask clients if they participate in social networking, and caution them about the exposure it may give to their private lives and personal information. Your clients need to understand that information posted online is NOT PRIVATE.

Many people do not realize that if you have a Facebook account, the default privacy settings allow people who live in your region to see your page, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.

What does this have to do with personal injury law? It is SOP to alert plaintiffs to the possibility that they may be surreptitiously video-taped outside their homes. Have your clients considered if they want EVERYTHING they post online to be viewable by the insurance company’s legal team? OF COURSE NOT!

Plaintiffs in personal injury actions need to know that not only may their public profiles be viewed on such sites, but even private, restricted sites areas could be accessed.

Tell clients to think before they post, or Tweet or update …

An excellent article by Robert S. Kelner and Gail S. Kelner, “Trial Practice Social Networking Sites and Personal Injury Litigation” examines recent decisions about “intrusive adversaries” online. Some of the highpoints of that article are below:

By assuming other personas online, some insurance investigators have made connections with plaintiffs with the sole purpose of gaining access to private information and undermining their case. The Philadelphia Bar Association Guidance Committee called such subterfuge “inherently deceitful” and “unethical.” It is not the same as being monitored outside one’s home – as in the now seemingly quaint practice of video surveillance. Investigators may observe and record in public, but not by trying to pass themselves off as other people.

Legal Challenges to Cyber-Snooping…..

More and more, however, courts are being called upon to determine the access defendants’ legal representatives may have to plaintiffs’ personal information on social networking sites. Some judges have deemed it improper for plaintiffs to be contacted, even openly, in attempts to gain access to their private sites, “Such a request raises tension, familiar in personal injury lawsuits, between plaintiff’s desire to retain some measure of privacy over his personal affairs and defendant’s claim that it is entitled to prove for relevant discovery,” as Kelner and Kelner write.

Although adversaries may not be able to pose as “friends,” there are other means to access information online, and the legal issues become more complex as additional parties become involved.

Defendents’ legal counsel can try to:

  • Contact the company that created or hosts the social networking site to try and access plaintiffs’ details directly.
  • Ask for access to stored communications on the computers of plaintiffs’ connections, i.e. they may seek to obtain copies of e-mails sent to other people.

As a personal injury attorney, I don’t want anything to do with representing dishonest people. The point of this post is to be warn your clients about what they post on so-called “private” social-networking sites. Tell them they need to be totally honest with you, but that it is important to be aware that insurance companies will use EVERY means available to weaken a personal injury case against them.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
NY & PA Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529

mailto:[email protected]
http://www.zifflaw.com

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Why We Do Not Write “Lawyer Letters”

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From time to time, I receive requests to write a “lawyer letter.” What is a “lawyer letter”- and why do I have to refuse to write one? Let me explain:

Many people contact us and say that they “know” that their legal issue could be resolved, “if I just had a lawyer write a letter to the other side.” They say that they don’t want to get involved with a, “whole lawsuit or anything, all I need is a lawyer letter.” They say that they know, “the other side will just roll over or give up if they get a threatening letter from a lawyer.” They say, “just write a simple letter for me” and all will be resolved.

My office CANNOT write “lawyer letters” UNLESS we have been retained to represent the client for the ENTIRE legal matter.

Here’s the problem. Actually, it’s two BIG problems.

We need all of the details

First, in order to write a proper “lawyer letter,” the lawyer must know ALL the relevant information. This means the lawyer MUST:

  • Meet with the client and learn the entire story.
  • Review whatever documents are relevant.
  • Research the applicable law.

Unfortunately, this all takes time. For a lawyer, our time and expertise are the only commodity we sell so we must get paid for the time we spend investigating your case. To write a letter without proper investigation is unprofessional and unethical.

Life isn’t a card game

What happens if the “lawyer letter” doesn’t work? What if the other side receives the “lawyer letter,” calls your bluff and just pitches it in the garbage? What do you do then?

Well, if you are a competent, professional lawyer who has been retained to handle the entire legal matter, you promptly file a legal action or lawsuit. In other words, if your bluff is called you have to be prepared to fight. In my office, we say: “If we are in for an inch, we are in for a mile.” That means once we have been retained to handle a case, we are going to see it through to the end whether it is an easy case or a difficult case.

Why is that our philosophy? Simple. There is nothing worse in our business than getting a reputation that you are nothing more than a giant bluffer. Once you have this reputation, it undermines every case you handle for every client you represent.

If you retain us, our reputation works for you

Because Ziff Law Firm attorneys practice in an area where we constantly work with the same lawyers and same insurance company adjusters, over and over again, our reputation means EVERYTHING! If we develop a reputation that we will fight to the brutal end for every client, every time, then our opposition will be very
reluctant to try to call our bluff. Instead, they will be more likely to work with us toward a fair resolution of our clients’ cases.

I know this is a long-winded explanation for why we do NOT write “lawyer letters” but I wanted readers to know where we are coming from.

To truly help you resolve a legal matter – be it a personal injury, medical malpractice, bankruptcy or foreclosure, workers’ compensation case – we have to be retained as your representation in the matter. Once you provide additional details regarding the nature of your dispute, we will be in a position to let you know how we think you should proceed.

It may turn out that the first step of our representation might be the “lawyer letter,” but it won’t be an empty bluff. If that letter doesn’t work as hoped, we will be able to help you pursue your other legal options.

Thanks for reading,

Jim
_________________________________________
James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14902
Tel. (607) 733-8866 Fax. (607) 732-6062
Toll Free 1-800-943-3529
mailto:[email protected] http://www.zifflaw.com


Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers Make Costs Clear to Clients

Getting the axeCan a client get “fired” by his lawyer? Aren’t lawyers always looking for new clients – and wouldn’t they want to keep clients they were already working for – not give them the axe?

The short answer is YES, attorneys want and need clients. The long answer is that it is a two-way street. Clients can commit actions or have habits that make it difficult for an attorney to continue to work with them. These traits include lying to your lawyer, ignoring your lawyer’s advice, and being generally discourteous.

I recently came across a great post for clients, “The Top 10 Ways to Get Fired by Your Lawyer,” at BlawgIT.com

In the blog post, patent lawyer Brett Trout explains the 10 most common client actions he believes will cause an attorney to call it quits on a case. I wanted to focus on two of Trout’s tips and use them to illustrate how I work with my personal injury and medical malpractice clients at the Ziff Law Firm.

Communication is key – right from the start

Two issues that can cause friction between client and attorney are when the client fails to pay promptly and/or nitpicks the bill.

As Trout explains: “Failing to pay your bill within 30 days of the invoice is no guarantee your lawyer will fire you, but it certainly does not help. If you have a concern about the bill, contact your lawyer immediately to discuss it.” As for nitpicking, Trout explains that he is not referring to genuine fee disputes, but cases in which a client consistently has issues with his or her lawyer’s bills.

Most of my clients do not pay by the hour. I work on a contingency fee, receiving one-third of the amount recovered after expenses are deducted off the top. Because of this arrangement, I don’t have issues with people paying me late or nitpicking my bills. (To see how clients with representation still come out ahead financially, check out the ZiffLaw Accidents and Car Crashes FAQ.)

I also believe, however, that one of the reasons that I have never had a fee dispute with a client in more than 22 years of practice is because I spend time going through the details of my retainer agreement right at the very beginning of our representation.

Any good lawyer is willing to spend the time to make sure that a client understands exactly how fees and disbursements are calculated and paid. It’s one of the ways we make sure we don’t get “fired” by our clients – but rather work together to achieve the resolution they are looking for.

Thanks,

Jim

______________________________

James B. Reed, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William St., Elmira, NY 14901
Tel: (607) 733-8866
Fax: (607) 732-6062
Toll Free: 1-800-943-3529
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.zifflaw.com

Please visit the New York Injury Law Blog at: http://www.NYInjuryLawBlog.com

Email me at [email protected] for two free books:
NY Car Accidents and NY Car Insurance Secrets YOU Need to Know.

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