Working With a Lawyer – Part 1

In this Part 1 of this 2-part article, you will have an opportunity to read about the role of your lawyer and about establishing a strong lawyer-client relationship. In Part 2 you can read about various points on what it takes to build a strong lawyer-client relationship with your lawyer.

The Role of Your Lawyer

Many people may not understand the role of a lawyer in representing a client. Lawyers do charge a lot, but that doesn’t put them in control of their client’s destiny. When a major decision must be made, your lawyer would provide you with information, advice and recommendations about the decision, but the decision is yours to make. When a lawyer makes a decision on your behalf without your knowledge or consent, and without taking his or her time to provide you with the details beforehand, it is time to hire another lawyer. Likewise, if you just hand your legal matter to your lawyer while expecting him or her to pull a miracle and decide the success of your case, you’re just asking for trouble.

A decision carries consequences. A legal decision carries legal consequences that you need to deal with as a result of making that decision. A lawyer is always obligated to use his or her best efforts on your behalf while applying his or her legal training, knowledge, experience, resources and skill to resolve your legal issue. But it is your obligation to remain informed and fully involved in your case. The success of your case doesn’t solely depend on your lawyer’s ability, but in the team work between the two of you.

Establishing a Strong Lawyer-Client Relationship

Some people may believe that once they hire a lawyer, they can simply put their legal issue behind and let their lawyer win the case. In reality, hiring a lawyer is just the beginning of a successful teamwork. The success and the degree of success of your case will depend on how good your “legal team” plays. Sometimes your legal team will consist of just you and your attorney. But in most cases, your legal team will include other people, such as legal assistants, consultants, experts, court reporters and the like. But regardless of who might be a part of your legal team, you and your lawyer are the key players in the success of your case. Developing a good working relationship between you and your attorney from the very beginning and all throughout the life of the case will radically increase the odds of a positive outcome.

A strong lawyer-client relationship is a two-way process. It requires both of you and your lawyer to provide each other with information necessary to reach satisfactory resolution of your legal issue. It requires a very good and an open communication. Your lawyer needs to keep you advised of the status of your case, inform you of important developments, include you in the decision-making process, prepare you for important events, such as testifying in court or answering questions in a deposition, and so on. But, you must also hold up your end of the responsibilities. You need to be aware that a failure to provide all relevant information to your case and to provide it when requested by your lawyer may have an unfavorable effect on the lawyer’s ability to represent you. You and your lawyer need to agree on the most effective and efficient way to communicate the information.

If you’re concerned about how your lawyer handles your legal issue, freely express these concerns directly to your lawyer. And don’t wait for it to build up. Addressing these concerns promptly will avoid damaging the level of trust that is essential to the relationship. But, if your concerns are never resolved even after discussing them with your lawyer, you’re fully entitled to seek another attorney. However, you’ll still be responsible for paying the legal fees to that lawyer. And, if you happen to fire your lawyer, remember that you’re entitled of getting a copy of your file.

Please refer to Part-2 of this 2-part article to read about various points that will add to developing a strong work relationship with your lawyer and lead you to more successful results in your lawsuit.