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Mike Arnold’s Practice Philosophy: Client Service & Results

With Oregon lawyer Mike Arnold, you can count on working closely with a litigation team committed to achieving the results you deserve. Call/text Mike Arnold at 541-797-0110.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

There should be no surprises at trial. And if you prepare every case for trial, then cases settle on client’s terms more often than not. Settlement offers are earned; they are never a gift. You do not receive a favorable mediated outcome unless you and your lawyer put in the work.

At trial, if your attorney is surprised, he lacks imagination or is lazy. It is Mike’s goal in every case to anticipate the opponent’s legal maneuvers throughout the case and have responses prepared in advance. It is not uncommon for an Oregon trial judge to hear a surprise and novel argument or piece of evidence that is believed to be unexpected, just to have Mike pull out a “pocket memo” that he had briefed in advance just in case this unluckily outcome occurred.

In order to anticipate issues you must build a brain trust. The collective wisdom of a legal team and their individual skill areas and creative imaginations are how surprises can be mitigated against. Consequently, Mike confers with the experts relevant to your case. But what experts are necessary and/or cost effective? That’s where a strategic mind and creative story telling ability is paramount. Your lawyer must spend time with the experts to find out what he doesn’t know. You don’t know what you don’t know. Every case is a learning experience. Your attorney must adapt and improvise by prior proper planning and creative team building.

It is Mike’s experience that putting in the work early saves time and attorney fees in the long run. Legal fees are wasted when parties become entrenched or trial dates sneak up on them. How do you know what your case is worth for settlement if you don’t know the likelihood of winning at trial? And how do you know the likelihood of winning at trial if you don’t have an experienced trial lawyer who has thoroughly vetted the facts and the law? And probably most importantly how does an attorney know what could possible happen at trial if he doesn’t have extensive courtroom experience.

A Team Approach to Litigation

Mike been recorded in court in for a CBS 48 Hours episode.

Mike begins the analysis of every legal problem the same way: What is the result the client is looking for? What are the obstacles to achieving that result? What would happen if we did X at trial? Or why Y now? Who else can Mike recruit to help in the cause? The opposition in a criminal case has a whole team of investigators and experts under their employ. The opposition in a “bet the company” case often has tremendous resources at its disposal. One resource that is a wonderful multiplier with a great rate of return is investing in people and experience.

And the most important person on your team of legal minds, experts, and investigators is YOU, the client. Your input is critical. Do not be a outside observer of your case. Participate! We are a team and if you and your attorney don’t feel that way, terminate the relationship immediately and find someone who is the right fit.

Let’s break down the legal team starting with YOU: You as the client are a vital part of the legal team. You have been living the events that have led up to this litigation. You are often the best person to consult for historical information and background. Clients have also been known to come up with some very creative and strategic legal ideas. Because of this, we encourage clients to brainstorm ideas and we listen to them carefully. Of course, without legal training, many ideas of clients are legally impossible or invalid, but that’s okay. Because there is often a gem in there that even the lawyers didn’t think of.

Next, are the lawyers. Picking a lawyer or team of lawyers is often the most important decision a person makes in their life if the stakes of the case are high enough. Let’s take a divorce for example. Many people say that picking a spouse is the most difficult/important choice. That’s true on many levels, but you can divorce them; the choice isn’t permanent. If you choose a divorce lawyer poorly, you might be saddled permanently with their financial errors (i.e., support, missing assets, improperly divided retirement accounts, etc.). If you pick a criminal defense lawyer poorly, you may face the permanent consequences from a prison cell or at the unemployment office.

The Best Experts in their Fields

Your legal team often also consists of expert witnesses and investigators. Because of Mike’s experience in various areas of law over the years, he has a vast network of competent experts that do well in front of juries and before judges. And that is critical. This is a communication game, not a scientific journal writing contest. It is so hard to find smart communicators who have the proper credentials.

Expert witness could include accident reconstruction, forensic scientists, pharmacologists, CPAs, business valuators, financial advisors, medical doctors, etc. The list goes on and on.

Avoid the “Big Firm Tax”

Over the years Mike Arnold has tried to perfect the art of scaling his practice for a particular case. He keeps a limited payroll until he needs it and only brings in other lawyers or staff if necessary for a particular case. This along with virtual meetings and ad hoc conference rooms allows Mike to keep overhead low and pass on the savings to clients (and enjoy a family and recreation oriented lifestyle that isn’t set on just “feeding the beast”).

Mike prefers to set up to expand in recessions while others contract and stay away from the top-heavy firm model with more partners than associates where the firm seemingly exists to keep feeding the machine that is Big Law. Instead, Mike practices law because it is his vocation; he loves what he does. Our purpose in life is to help others and the skills that Mike has are best utilized for helping others by fighting for justice for clients.

While a sole practitioner without a support team may be too small to handle a big and complex case and a large firm with dozens or hundreds of lawyers may be too desperate to feed their overhead, talented lawyers with a deep “rolodex” have the best of both worlds: other attorneys and experts to bounce ideas off of as well as having lower overhead.

Remember, lawyer job satisfaction is at an all-time low due to billable hour requirements that put an attorney at a conflict with their client with a desire to bill, bill, bill. The goal for Mike in every case is to make a client into a former client as quickly and inexpensively as possible while making them feel heard and supported along the way. We are a team fighting for your goals.

Consequently, you don’t want the firm so large that you are paying over-inflated fees to feed the pyramid scheme that is the large law firm (multiple associates and staff feeding a top-heavy, partner-rich firm) and the expensive trappings that go with that (i.e., fancy offices, expensive views, and excessive staff.).

However, juxtapose that with the sole practitioner who basically shuts down or goes to crisis mode when they have support staff turnover, a vacation, or a few too many cases.

Flexibility for Each Case

The old adage that “two heads are better than one” also holds true. Part of becoming experienced is acquiring wisdom. And wisdom is often knowing what you don’t know. Oftentimes, it’s the consulting attorney, the client, or the expert who comes up with the fresh perspective in a case that proves to be the game winning idea.

The Right Fit

You need to be able to trust your attorney. It’s vital. If you don’t feel the attorney is candid or responsive, then run away quickly. You have to feel comfortable with your attorney choice. Meet them. Shake their hand. Understand their practice philosophy and see if that comports with your goals in your case. If not, keep looking.

You have to trust your attorney. We don’t care if you’re hiring Clarence Darrow or Perry Mason: if you don’t get a good, positive vibe when meeting them, look elsewhere. And that’s okay. Litigation is a long haul and if you don’t feel comfortable in hiring your lawyer, you (and your lawyer) are going to be miserable. You have to be able to trust your attorney on so many levels, from their assessment of your case to their billing statements.

Speak to a Trial Lawyer Today

For more information, text/call 541-797-0110 anytime 24/7.