Hiring an attorney can be a little scary. If you are like most people, you don’t have much experience with lawyers and legal issues. Sometimes we need them though. Meeting with lawyers to find out which one is best for you can be intimidating.
Working with an attorney is a genuine relationship, requiring mutual trust, understanding and cooperation. While plenty of people have tried to define what makes a good lawyer, few have taken the time to try to define what makes a good client.
Here are a few things you can do to be a good client:
Maintain Reasonable Expectations: Remember that your lawyer can only operate within the law in your State, and is constrained by that law and the Court in which you find yourself. Also, always keep in mind that each case is fact specific. Let your attorney help set your expectations based on their knowledge and experience, and trust them when they give you the range of possible resolutions.
Always Be Honest: Your attorney will be able to most effectively protect you if you tell the truth. Don’t withhold information from your attorney and don’t try to strategically keep secrets from him. When in doubt, always err on the side of telling your attorney something rather than keeping it to yourself. If your attorney knows all of the relevant facts, they can prepare for and address them. It’s best not to surprise them the day of court.
Be flexible: People don’t being wrong, and many clients want a judge or jury to tell them they were right all along. But, nobody can predict what the court will decide in any given case. Two different judges can hear the exact same evidence and come up with different results. In court, you take your chances, and you never know for certain what will happen.
Always have open lines of communication: When it comes to the facts of your situation, your attorney only knows what you tell him or her. Make sure that you’re communicating regularly and keeping your attorney apprised of any incidents or exchanges that might be relevant to your case. Sticking your head in the sand will only hurt your case and make it harder for your attorney to protect you.
Be Organized: Keep emails, invoices, and all other documents that are be related to your case. Make sure to send updated copies to your attorney as well. The Court appreciates when there is documentary evidence to support your position and it makes you attorney’s presentation more compelling.