There is rarely a ‘perfect’ anything. but there are ways you can strive to be the perfect legal client!
1. Be willing to listen. You might not like my advice, or the facts I have to tell you, but I am working hard to represent you the best way possible. So hear me out. Don’t get immediately defensive and stop listening to my whole statement.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! I am here to represent YOU, and that means that you need to understand what I’m doing on your behalf.
3. Be prepared to go through stressful situations. I’ll do my best to make this as easy as possible, but legal matters are often stressful. You might want to consider getting the assistance of a therapist or talking to your doctor about something to help with your anxiety. We can all make better decisions if we are thinking clearly.
4. Be respectful of me and my staff and our time. We are people too and we have families and commitments as well. Don’t call at the last minute and get angry if we can’t stay late to accommodate your change in schedules. That also includes being on time for appointments. We make an effort to be sure we are prepared for your appointment and to clear our desk of other items during that time. If you show up late, or if you don’t show up at all, that means that we could have been spending our time on something else. This may not make a difference to you now, but think about how it might impact you if we tell you we are booked on the day you want to come in, and then those people don’t show up. You could have had the appointment you wanted if only the other client had told us in advance that they were not going to show up.
5. Keep good records. This is an important one! Once you have retained an attorney it is a good idea to buy a notebook or folder of some kind to start storing all those documents relating to your case. Also, keep track of activities that relate to your case. If you have a child custody and visitation situation, keep track of the times that the other parent visits with the child (and also keep track of the times when the other parent said they were going to visit and they did not show up). If your situation has to do with payments of any kind (e.g., child support, spousal support, rent payments on a house) keep a detailed record of when those payments were due, when they were paid, how much was paid and sometimes the manner of payment.
6. Do not hide information. If you are a client, we have an attorney – client relationship. This means that everything you tell me is told in confidence, so tell me everything, even if you think it might make you look foolish. I’d much rather hear it in my office than hear about it for the first time in a courtroom!
By following these suggestions, you can greatly improve the attorney-client relationship. If we work together then we have a better chance of getting the results we are working towards.
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