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The Champion

August 2003 , Page 46 

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Get off to the right start: Initial steps after taking the case

By William T. Whitaker; Elizabeth Kelley

Now that you have ignored the 15 red flags warning you not to take the potentially difficult client set forth in John Wesley Hall Jr.’s Practice Points last month, now that you’ve decided to take the case because the $2500 retainer will pay the rent or that pesky credit card bill so you can come to the next great NACDL seminar, it is time to decide how to get started doing the job. That job, of course, is to provide the best possible defense for your client no matter how troublesome he or she may be. The remarks that follow apply to all cases, not just the difficult clients. While there is certainly nothing new about these simple steps, it is sometimes difficult to force ourselves to take the necessary time to do it right. And it never hurts to be reminded of what it takes to get off to a good start.

The first steps out of the box can be the most important because they set the tone for all that follows. Missteps at this stage of the case can result in missed

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