This week Your Legal Corner discusses working with your lawyer to achieve the best result.
Let’s face it; lawyers are far from anyone’s favorite profession. A famous Shakespearean phrase, “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” is actually a line from a play complimenting lawyers. It was spoken by a character that wanted to overthrow the government and felt he couldn’t do so without first eliminating lawyers who stood for reason and justice in society.
While hiring a lawyer can be intimidating, there are many steps you can take to ensure you save time, money and most importantly obtain justice from our court system.
Do Your Homework
Please consider your relationship with your lawyer a partnership. In order to be successful, you must do your homework. When your lawyer requests information, it is essential to gather it promptly and provide complete documentation in a timely manner.
When your lawyer has all the requested information, he or she will be able to provide better legal advice and guide you to the best possible course of action.
Expectations of Client
What does your lawyer expect from you? He or she expects that you are well prepared and able to keep your emotions in check. While this may be easier said than done, it will help in the long run with the completion of your case. Try not to call your lawyer outside of work hours unless it’s a true emergency.
Always tell your lawyer the truth! Sometimes the truth can be embarrassing but it is better to be upfront than to mislead your lawyer or the court. You do not want to be in the position where your lawyer is making false representations to the court, as this will inevitably fall back on you to explain. Further, if you not able to explain the misrepresentation adequately, this may affect your credibility with the court as well as your adversary.
Be reasonable and most importantly realistic with your dealings with the court. There are many things beyond the control of your lawyer on how the court system is run.
Expectations of Lawyer
What should you expect from your lawyer? First, your lawyer should provide a written retainer agreement that outlines the terms of the services to be provided. The retainer agreement should also set forth the fees and any other expenses expected to be paid by the client.
Significantly, the retainer agreement should set forth how the lawyer will communicate with the client. Will it primarily be in office meetings or will it also include phone calls and emails as well?
Notably, your lawyer should respond to your inquiries in a timely manner, usually within 24 hours if contacted by phone message or email. No major action should be taken with regard to your case without first checking with you on the agreed plan of action.
Remember, when a strong productive partnership is formed, your lawyer will become a fearless advocate on your behalf and achieve the best result!
Victoria M. Dalton is a dedicated Family/Elder Law Attorney with the Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio. Email correspondence to [email protected] or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational material about the law and is not legal advice.