Sarah Gurney Attorney Sebastopol CAMedaiton for divorce, Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, CA
Mediation for confilct resolution

Use Your Legal Dollars Wisely
by Sarah Glade Gurney
Sonoma West Times & News
February 2009 Business Review

Sarah Glade Gurney mediation attorney
Sarah Glade Gurney, local family law attorney, provides mediation and
collaborative services for people in transition.

Almost every new client asks me, “What will this legal work cost?” “It depends on the amount of conflict in your case,” I explain. “People who engage in our adversarial system when they’re emotionally upset can spend a lot of money fighting. On the other hand, calmer folks who mostly agree can get through fairly economically.”

Clients can work with an attorney in a focused way and make the most out of limited funds. Here are several suggestions to help you use your legal dollars wisely in today’s difficult economy:

  1. Investigate. When considering whom to select as your attorney, check with trusted friends and colleagues for a referral. Ask them why they think a certain attorney would be able to help you best. Do some research: read websites and google names, looking for a good match and helpful information.
  2. Get organized. Locate the paperwork you might need from the household files and put it in order. Importantly, review it, so you are working from actual knowledge rather than memory. Put some structure to your thoughts: use topics, like “the house” or “the kids,” to group ideas together.
  3. Be prepared. Come to your first appointment ready to explain your goals and to discuss the experience you would prefer. Know what you would like to achieve, so you can determine if you are being realistic or may need to adjust.
  4. Ask questions. Listen to the answers so you become more educated about the law and the choice of legal processes. Make the hour or hour and one-half work for you by being openminded.
  5. Take time. Afterwards, reflect on your interaction in that first appointment. Decide if you feel reasonably comfortable, although you face a challenging legal situation, so you can move ahead with confidence.
  6. Care for yourself. In the middle of your personal upheaval, remember to eat well, get some exercise, and sleep enough. Enjoy work as a relief from your troubles. Consider how you will accept and shape the change in your life.
  7. Watch yourself. Once underway, be aware of your patterns of interacting with your attorney. Discipline yourself about phone calls and e mails. Use your attorney for legal work and get the other help you may need from another appropriate professional.

I hope these suggestions help you stay in intact financially through your legal work.



Sarah Glade Gurney . Family Law Attorney . 130 Petaluma Avenue, Suite 2-B . Sebastopol, CA 95472 . T: 707.823.6500 F: 707.823.6501