Communication is the foundation of a good attorney-client relationship. Here are a few hints to help build that foundation.
- Prepare for phone calls and meetings with your attorney.
Organize your materials and information before you talk with your attorney. Prepare a written summary or detailed notes that outline your problems and questions. Depending on the case or legal matter, a summary should include the names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone involved in your matter. Remember to bring relevant documents to your first interview and be prompt for all appointments.
Be as brief as possible in all interviews and stick to business; socializing is expensive if you are paying an attorney by the hour. While your attorney will provide advice on legal matters, you are usually much better off consulting with a professional therapist to work through any emotional issues that often accompany legal problems.
- Always keep your attorney informed
Tell your attorney immediately of changes or new information that might affect your case. Meaningful and responsive communication is very important. Your case can change without warning, and your attorney needs to be fully informed of any changed circumstances.
If your attorney asks you to gather information about your case, do so promptly. Make a checklist of what you need to do, or ask the attorney to make a checklist for you.
If you change your address, phone number, or employment, inform your attorney of the changes.
If you receive any new documents that relate in any way to your case, immediately give them to your attorneys.
- Ask your lawyer questions
If you have questions about anything involved in your legal matter, then ask your attorney for an explanation. To serve you effectively, your attorney must trust that you understand your case and the legal process.
- Agree on a reporting procedure
Your attorney should report to you regularly on the progress of your case. Discuss how frequently you would like to be updated and how you want to be updated on the progress of your case. Your attorney should be able to update you based on your stated preferences, such as e-mail, mail or by phone.
Remember, your attorney is working for you. If you have any questions about your case, you should be able to contact your attorney. If you are paying an hourly rate for your attorney’s time, asking several questions at once, rather than calling each time a question arises, may be more cost-effective for you.
- Listen to your attorney
Your attorney is your advocate and has a duty to protect your interests. Listen to your attorney, and do not hire an attorney you do not trust.
Remember that your attorney’s judgment about your matter is based on legal experience and training and that the best legal advice for you may not be what you actually want to hear. No attorney can be expected to win every case, nor should your attorney promise to win your case.
For a complimentary initial consultation, call 507-206-4976