Every relationship is a two-way street, with both give and take. The better and more closely an attorney and client work together, the better the outcome for the client. To do so, however, it is important for you as a client to know what your attorney expects of you, and for you to know what you can expect from them.
Clear Communication: The Key To Fulfilling Needs Is Understanding Them
Every client is expected to come to their attorney and communicate their needs and expectations. If you need something to be done very quickly, that needs to be discussed upfront. If the attorney can meet it, it is their job to tell you, and then to meet it. If they cannot meet it (you will never be an attorney’s only client) then they will tell you when they can. And so forth.
If you are leaving town for a trip and need the will to be done beforehand, for example, that is something your attorney needs to know, or they will not be able to work around it. You have the responsibility to clearly communicate your expectations so that we can fulfill our responsibility to meet them.
The other responsibility you have as a client is, when your attorney requests documents from you, to make sure that those are delivered on a timely basis so that the case can keep moving forward.
How Can You, As A Client, Contribute To Getting The Best Outcome In Your Case?
Few attorneys will tell you this, but there are plenty of tasks you can do to keep costs down and speed things up when working with your attorney. For example, there are many documents needed for most cases that you can collect directly.
For instance, if copies of deeds or deeds of trusts are needed, you can collect those as easily as an attorney can. But if the attorney does it, they’re going to charge you for it! A good lawyer will always talk openly from the start about the documents that need to be collected and if you can collect them, saving yourself time and money in the process.
Sometimes clients think that if they just give the matter to the attorney, the attorney is responsible for doing everything, and some attorneys are more than happy to take advantage of that. But it can be a partnership, where you can help by doing as much as you can. Not only do such partnerships save you money, but they save time as well. They allow the case to move forward faster and in a much more efficient manner.
What An Attorney Requires Of Their Clients
The most important expectation every Attorney has of their clients is honesty. If a client, in a divorce situation, for example, says that they have always been very polite in their communications with their soon-to-be ex-husband; then a week before the hearing we get a long list of emails from the other side where that has not been the case, it too late to prepare a good strategy or response. All the client accomplished was to sabotage their own case.
Clients are expected to be honest and doing so is always to their advantage. Never forget, client and attorney privilege governs all of our communications. So there’s no need to lie, no need to feel like you have to save face. Being honest prevents sometimes very nasty surprises during hearings. So above anything else, I, as your attorney, need to know what might be coming up later on.
Honesty doesn’t just help me prepare your case, it helps me to understand your motivations and feelings, which are essential for preparing both for hearings and any eventual settlement. If I can understand why the person on the other side of the table is so angry, it can help me to put together a settlement package that is more appealing to them. Every bit of information might be more important than you think.
The Impact Of The Client Attorney Relationship
I have always argued that establishing trust between an attorney and their client early on in the case is essential. And building that trust is one of the reasons I decided to write this book. When trust is strong, it goes both ways, and everyone benefits.
Trust and honesty are important early, for reasons we have already discussed, notably ensuring a smooth and successful case without surprises. But trust also comes heavily into play as the case nears its conclusion, which is often the most crucial point as well.
The Importance Of Trust
It is vital when I recommend either a settlement or a trial position, for example, if we are in a divorce litigation situation, that the client not just knows, but feels and trusts that I have their best interest in mind.
In both family law and estate or probate law, emotions tend to be high. There are a lot of emotions involved and people don’t always think clearly when they are in an emotional state. I view my role as the person that can protect them from themselves during those times.
Often you may want to take a position that satisfies your emotional self but may not be, rationally, in your best interest. I aim to be that trustworthy and rational person who keeps you from making an emotional decision, which may be very bad for you down the road, and guides you instead towards the rational and long-term decision.
Hence the importance of trust. When I’m making that recommendation when we’re getting close to finalizing the case, you have that trust to know what I am recommending is in your best interest and comes from a place of empathy. So that you know there is always a strong rational basis for that recommendation.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Estate Planning & Family Law, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy. For more information on Estate Planning & Family Laws in Colorado, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (719) 988-3884 today.
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