Meeting with and hiring an attorney can be a scary and difficult process. Most people (thankfully) don’t have much experience with lawyers and legal issues, and your first experience can be intimidating.
Taking these things to heart will make your lawyer’s job easier and will enhance your overall experience with the legal system.
- Maintain Reasonable Expectations: Despite what you hear on some commercials or in the movies, your attorney is not able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Remember that your lawyer can only operate within the law in your State, and is constrained by that law and the Court in which you find yourself. Also, always keep in mind that each case is fact specific. There’s nothing more frustrating for a lawyer than having to explain why the outcome of your cousin’s neighbor’s sister’s friend’s case doesn’t apply to your situation. Let your attorney help set your expectations based on their knowledge and experience, and trust them when they give you the range of possible resolutions.
- Keep an Open Line of Communication: When it comes to the facts of your situation, your attorney only knows what you tell him or her. Make sure that you’re communicating regularly and keeping your attorney apprised of any incidents or exchanges that might be relevant to your case. Sticking your head in the sand will only hurt your case and make it harder for your attorney to protect you.
- Always Be Honest: Similar to keeping an open line of communication, your attorney will be able to most effectively protect you if you tell the truth. Don’t withhold information from your attorney and don’t try to strategically keep secrets from him. When in doubt, always err on the side of telling your attorney something rather than keeping it to yourself. If we know all relevant facts, we can prepare for and address them. If not, we can’t provide you with complete counsel and you’re likely to suffer as a result.
- Be Organized: Make sure that you keep emails, invoices, and other documents that might be related to your case. Send copies to your attorney regularly as well. Family law cases can involve a lot of “he said/she said” and the Court appreciates when there is documentary evidence to support your position. It also makes the attorney’s presentation a lot easier and more compelling.
- Accept Counsel’s Advice: Your attorney has been through a good amount of school and training to get to where she is. Trust that she is looking out for your best interests and providing appropriate counsel. Family law cases can be difficult and emotional, but you shouldn’t make emotional decisions. Instead, follow your attorney’s lead and trust her counsel. If you can’t do that, it’s a sign you may need a new attorney!
While this list isn’t exhaustive, following these guidelines will help your attorney do his best job and will make your experience with the legal system go much more smoothly. Family law litigation may not be fun, but by working with your attorney as a team you can help minimize the pain and get a fair result more quickly.