Getting Started with a Legal Insurance Network

Breaking Good: How to Be a Successful ARAG Network Attorney

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I love Saul Goodman from the TV shows “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” but as attorneys we obviously don’t strive to be like Saul. He’s entertaining but not representative of the vast majority of attorneys I have met over the years, who are hardworking, helpful, cordial and enthusiastic. All of those attributes are required for being a successful attorney for ARAG.

Approximately 10 years ago, I became an ARAG Network Attorney. I receive dozens of new client referrals monthly from ARAG, and many of those individuals become my clients.

After a decade of working with ARAG, I’ve discovered a few tips on how to “break good” and be successful on the ARAG network:

Be responsive.

Some days you might be contacted by a dozen potential clients. Respond as soon as possible. I try to have no unreturned calls by the end of the day, even if it means staying after 5 p.m. Sometimes I return a call just to say, “I’m in trial, but we can have a longer conversation in a few days.”

Get basic information right away.

Make sure people are giving you their ARAG information (name, contact details, CaseAssist® information). Sometimes, clients confuse their legal plan identification with health insurance information or their general employee ID.

Be kind and sympathetic.

People can be very intimidated talking to an attorney. I like to say things like “How can I help you?” and “I’m so sorry this is happening to you.” Many years ago, I taught a divorce class with a superior court judge who said something to me that I’ll never forget: “When I have 50 cases on my docket and I feel overwhelmed, I just remember, that case is the most important thing going on in those litigants’ lives. I try to treat each case like it’s my only case of the day.”

Use the legal plan resources.

ARAG has a great website with forms for attorneys, helpful information about the plan and clients’ CaseAssist information. I try to know as much as I can about the plan so I can answer basic questions. Often when I’m talking to a client about coverage, I will read directly from the CaseAssist Information because it’s clear and straightforward.

Don’t be afraid to refer the client back to ARAG.

Sometimes the client believes they have “full coverage” for everything or doesn’t understand their benefits. I always explain that I am an attorney on the plan, but I am not the best resource for coverage details or finding another referral if I can’t handle their legal matter. Have the client call ARAG Customer Care to discuss any confusing points.

Set reasonable expectations.

I’ve had a few clients that initially think I’m a 24/7 legal hotline. Although attorneys need to be responsive, we don’t need to be available at 2 a.m. A good way to set expectations for a new client is to prepare a representation letter that gives information on fees, general business hours and ground rules for working with your firm.

Use good technology.

Phone systems, tablets and software can make your day so much easier. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, so you’ll have to do some trial and error to see what makes sense for you. Here are two examples of what works for me:

I use an 8x8 VoIP phone system, which runs through the internet instead of a normal phone line. The system has an app that can send calls from the office directly to my cell phone. The app also picks up text messages for those clients that try to text your office line (weird, I know, but it happens). Plus, when I call a client using the app, it looks like I’m calling from the office – which allows me to be responsive without giving clients my personal cell number. Best of all, when I don’t want to be reached, I turn the app off.
I use an iPad Pro® and an app called GoToMyPo® that allows me to log into my office computer to access my email and other files on the server. It costs about $150 per year, but the value to my efficiency is priceless. I also use the iPad to download documents and transcripts — the less files I have to carry, the better!

Embrace time management practices.

For years, I randomly went through my day. Then I went to a time management seminar that helped me figure out a system that works for me. Am I completely zen every day? Of course not! But having time management skills to fall back on has been a lifesaver.

Treat each client as a referral source.

Some matters that you handle will be tiny — maybe just an hour of consultation. However, keep in mind you might be the only attorney those clients know. I’ve had clients come back to me for matters not covered by the legal plan — or even when they no longer have the plan. I’ve had clients refer family, friends and coworkers. At one point, I felt like I was representing everyone at the same company on their family law matters. You never know where a referral is going to come from, so never write someone off no matter how small the job is.

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Florence M. Bruemmer

Florence M. Bruemmer is an ARAG Network Attorney and is licensed in the following jurisdictions: State of Arizona, United States District Court of Arizona, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and Supreme Court of the United States. Florence’s practice includes Real Estate and Business Transactions, Civil and Business Litigation, Estate Planning, Family Law, and Appellate Law. Florence’s Appellate work has brought her to Stanford Law School to argue a case before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Florence received her Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola University Chicago in 1999. She is a member of the State Bar of Arizona and AWLA. Florence volunteers in her community through The Courthouse Experience, AWLA Mentor Program, VLP, Lawyers in the Classroom, MCBA Law Fair, Maricopa County Superior Court, and We the People Project Citizen.

Email: florence@bruemmerlaw.com

Twitter: @FlorenceLaw

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