As in most relationships, your attorney-client relationship is a two-way street. Without effective communication and mutual respect, most relationships will fail. The same is true when it comes to your relationship with your attorney. Your attorney-client relationship is an important partnership, which seeks to maximize the outcome in your favor.
Below are some helpful suggestions on how to best work with your attorney:
1. Be truthful when communicating with your attorney.
No attorney wants to hear the bad facts for the first time from the other side at trial. Tell your attorney the good, the bad, and the ugly. With this knowledge, an attorney can more effectively deal with bad facts and be prepared to deal with them when they come up. There is one certainty: bad facts will be brought out by your opponent.
2. Be realistic in your expectations.
You most likely came to your attorney because of a dispute you could not resolve. That dispute existed before you contacted your attorney and that dispute will not simply disappear because you have hired an attorney. An attorney cannot force the other side to magically go away or get you 100% of what you want. If it were that easy, you would not be contacting an attorney in the first place. Remember, there are always two sides to every story and you will likely be having a judge or jury hear two competing and very different versions of the same set of facts. Which side the judge or jury will believe is a true unknown.
3. Be responsive to your attorney’s requests for information and records.
Without a client’s active participation, an attorney cannot properly do his or her job. All of the facts and documents must come from you. There are strict timelines that must be met by the attorney and without your cooperation and input, your case will not be in its optimum position for a positive outcome in your favor. For the best attorney-client relationship, be sure to respond promptly to all requests.
4. Respect the information conveyed to you by your attorney.
Your attorney has more experience in the legal arena and that is why you sought out his or her services to begin with. Sometimes, you may not agree with the attorney’s perspective or analysis of your case. An attorney comes into your case with a set of experiences and training that make him or her better qualified than your friends or family to assess your legal circumstances. Listening to family and friends is helpful for emotional support, but you should leave your legal analysis to your attorney.
5. Remember your attorney is on your side.
The old phrase “don’t kill the messenger” also applies in an attorney-client relationship. There may be bad news that needs to be delivered to you, an unfortunate turn of events in your case, or even a less than successful outcome at trial. Your attorney believes in you and your case or he or she would not have accepted the challenge to represent you.
6. Attorneys can’t predict the future outcome of your case.
Although what you might want as a client is to hear that “you’ve got a slam dunk case” or “there’s no way you are going to lose,” such predictions are reckless at best. No attorney can ever guarantee you a certain result and if they do, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.
At The Cromeens Law Firm, we are always at your service. It is our mission is to truly understand each client’s unique needs and go beyond expectations to exceed those needs. Contact us anytime for additional information on our legal services or request a free consultation.
This article is intended as a general educational overview of the subject matter and is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of recent jurisprudence, nor a substitute for legal advice for a specific legal matter. If you have a legal issue, please consult an attorney.