What You Should Expect From Us as Your Lawyers
Lawyer communication, competency, ethics, and fees are important aspects of an attorney-client relationship. As a summary you can expect your lawyer to do the following:
• Give you advice about your legal situation
• Keep you informed about your case
• Tell you what he or she thinks will happen in your case
• Allow you to make the important decisions regarding your case
• Give you an estimate about what your case should cost
• Assist you in any cost-benefit analyses that you may need
• Keep in communication with you
• Inform you of any changes, delays or setbacks
• Give you the information you need to make good decisions, and
• Prepare you for your case, including deposition and trial preparation.
What We Expect From You as a Client
Hiring a lawyer also creates a few responsibilities for you as a client. As a client, we expect you to the do the following:
• Always tell your lawyer the truth. Untruths or partial truths are never acceptable. A less than accurate statement can backfire and cause serious damage to your case – which might be irreparable. There are no such things as "little white lies" in Court. People essentially destroy their own cases by having their lies exposed at trial or in discovery when they have sworn there is nothing else to be produced.
• Disclose everything to your attorney, even if you don’t think it’s relevant. We cannot do our job unless we have ALL of the relevant information and documents. . It is the attorney’s job to decide whether it is relevant or not. Gather all useful evidence and prepare any timelines that are requested. Keep your lawyer informed as to any new evidence that may come to light.
• Communicate with your lawyer in a timely manner. Keep in mind that your lawyer may have other clients that need his or her time. We try to communicate with our clients within forty-eight hours (unless physically unable to do so, in which case someone from the office will contact you). It is only fair that clients respond in a similar manner. If your attorney calls you, emails you, or sends you a letter, please respond so that you help the attorney do his job efficiently and timely. (Also, be sure to keep your attorney updated if any of your contact information changes).
• Do not ask your lawyer to do anything unethical, illegal, or otherwise inappropriate. While this should be obvious, it has happened from time to time. We will not participate in or condone any such activity under any circumstances – period. Under many circumstances, this also puts us in the position of not being able to continue to represent you
• Treat the attorneys and staff with respect. You deserve to be treated honestly and respectfully, and that should flow in both directions. While there are attorneys who will yell and curse at their clients (and their staff), I would not tolerate any such conduct if I was the client. Attorneys and their staff are highly trained professionals, and they should act as such and expect the same in return from their clients.
• Pay for all work done on your behalf and do so in a timely manner. We will have you sign a written fee agreement at the beginning of the representation that will outline the specific payment terms and conditions for your case. We as the attorneys should provide the agreed-upon services, and in return, we should be paid for doing so in a timely manner.
• Act in a manner that makes the attorney want to help you. We not only consider the client’s need for our services, but how well the client will "fit" with our attorneys and staff. We approach cases using a team approach, and the client is an integral part of the team. If the client has a bad attitude, has unreasonable expectations or demands, or is just generally not likable, then it is typically not a case that we are interested in handling – no matter how much the potential fee would be.
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