Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Relationship With Your Lawyer
Most people don’t really look forward to working with an attorney. It usually means something has gone wrong, like you’ve been in a semi-truck accident or you’re going through a divorce. You’re probably worried about how much the process is going to cost when it’s all said and done, and you’re probably worried about the outcome of your case.
Although you may not be able to get away from hiring an attorney, there are things you can do to make your experience more pleasant. These tips will help you build a strong, trusting relationship with your attorney so you can worry a little less during the litigation process.
Pick the Right Attorney
Even if you follow the other tips on this list, if you skip this one and simply hire the first attorney you come across, you aren’t likely to have a successful partnership. If you will be working with an attorney for weeks or months on end, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right person from the get-go.
Do your research when searching for a good lawyer. Consider multiple attorneys and make a list of questions you want to ask before your consultation. Questions might include:
- Do you have experience with cases like mine?
- What are your credentials?
- Exactly who would I be working with?
- How much do you charge?
If you realize you don’t care much for your attorney after you have hired them, don’t be afraid to search for a new one. It’s essential that you work with someone you feel comfortable with.
Be Clear About What You Want From Your Partnership
Although you may think your case is straightforward, it probably isn't. The outcome you expect may be different than what your attorney expects, so it's a good idea to be open and honest about what you want to accomplish.
What kind of result are you hoping for? How much time are you expecting to put into the litigation process? How do you expect your attorney to contact you and discuss new developments in your case?
These are the types of things you’ll want to talk with your attorney about so you can clarify expectations and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Be Prepared for Every Conversation
Lawyers aren’t cheap. Some can cost hundreds of dollars an hour. The last thing you want to do is waste time rambling on about topics you’ve already discussed or bring up issues that aren’t relevant to your case. Treating your attorney like a friend or a therapist is going to end up costing you a lot of money.
Instead, be prepared for every conversation. Keep emails and phone calls short and succinct, and focus on addressing the questions and issues your attorney brings up without going overboard bringing up your own topics. That will save both you and your attorney time, and it will keep costs down.
Be Open and Honest
It is important to answer your attorney’s questions openly and honestly. Avoid rambling, as there are things that your attorney may not want to know. Answer their questions when they ask them and ask if you can provide them with information before you actually tell them.
We all know lawyers aren’t supposed to lie, but things can get a little fuzzy because of the way clients answer questions and offer up information. By using this strategy of answering questions honestly when you are asked, you can avoid potential problems with your case.
Follow Your Attorney’s Directions
There’s a lot your attorney will be able to do on your behalf. From filling out paperwork and even attending court while you remain at home, having an attorney on your side can make the legal process much easier. That doesn’t mean there won’t be things you have to do.
It’s important to follow your attorney’s directions, which means attending court on time if you’re required to be there and signing important paperwork in a timely fashion. It also means being available, so your lawyer doesn’t have to wait days to hear back from you.
You also need to follow your attorney’s directions regarding payments! If you can’t pay, let them know, and they can help you find a way so they can continue providing your case with the attention it deserves.
The relationship you will develop with your attorney is surprisingly intimate. Make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible throughout the process by following the tips on this list.
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