Working With An Attorney

Tips for Working With An Attorney

Both attorneys and their clients have significant responsibilities in the lawyer-client relationship. One of the best things you can do to resolve your legal matter favorably is to cooperate fully with your lawyer. Attorneys are limited in what they can do for you without your cooperation.

Cooperation, Communication, and Consultation

Full cooperation  means giving accurate and honest information to your lawyer first and foremost, even if the truth and facts of the matter are not favorable to you. Your lawyer needs complete and accurate information to do the best job possible for you.

Make sure to be direct with your lawyer and communicate your expectations for the case, as well. Let your attorney know what you feel a successful outcome looks like. Ask your lawyer to describe the possible results and ask him or her to estimate how long each outcome might take. Although an exact time frame for an outcome is unlikely, an attorney can probably inform you about how long similar cases have taken in the past. 

If you disagree or do not understand something, be sure to speak up. Be clear with the lawyer about your idea of a successful outcome. It is a good idea to get on the same page as your attorney early on to avoid problems later.

Request that your lawyer keeps you updated and informed about the progress of your case or legal matter without badgering your lawyer through emails, telephone calls, or repeated texts. Unfortunately, many legal matters move more slowly than you or your attorney would like. Sometimes things crawl along because the party or attorney on the other side is still preparing a response, or because the courts are involved. However, when your lawyer responds to you, he or she should be able to answer your questions promptly and clearly.

You can request copies of relevant documents and letters that your attorney prepares or files on your behalf. You can avoid any surprises late by requesting this at the beginning of your lawyer-client relationship. You should also be sure you understand those documents, especially the ones you sign. Ask your attorney to explain the contents of the papers before you sign them.

Remember that your attorney’s job is to advise and counsel you, so you should follow any agreed-upon advice to the letter. However, your attorney should consult with you on all significant decisions regarding your case.

Professional lawyers having conversation

Lost Confidence

If you lose confidence in your lawyer, you should discuss this directly with the attorney right away. If the issues cannot be resolved, you may want to think about hiring other legal counsel. However, be mindful that changing attorneys can delay your proceedings, increase the overall cost of legal fees, and cause many other problems. 

If you decide to change your attorney, you are well-advised to have the next attorney lined up and prepared to take over your case. If the original lawyer has already represented in a court appearance and is on record as your legal counsel, you can change that by filing a legal document. 

Be aware that If you have not lined up new legal counsel ahead of time, the process may become more complicated. You may even need to proceed without representation. Once you hire a new attorney, he or she will need to file a notice of appearance with the court before moving forward.