BE A PROACTIVE CLIENTMichael Schulman
You have retained an attorney to represent your interests and now you want to know how involved you should be. You don’t want to be a bother. You keep thinking about facts that may or may not be important to aid in your matter. You are concerned about the cost you may incur by taking the time to ask questions.
The best client is an actively involved client. No matter how competent your attorney may be, he/she will not know all the facts surrounding your need for legal representation without your input. A good attorney will know the law involved in your dispute. However, more often than not, the final outcome is determined more by the facts than by the law. Facts are important and essential to a proper and competent representation.
Make sure you are completely open and honest with your attorney. Do not try to spin your opinion on the facts. Remember, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there is only one set of facts. No attorney wants to hear from their client “I was too embarrassed to tell you”, “I forgot to tell you”, or “I did not think it was important to tell you”.Attorneys do not like surprises. A competent attorney can help present the facts in a light most favorable to you if he/she is aware of the facts. An attorney cannot properly represent a client if the client is withholding pertinent information.
The client should NOT be the one who determines the importance of the facts. What may seem unimportant or irrelevant to you may be an important and relevant fact to your attorney. One of theses facts may be a determining factor as to the outcome of your matter.
So to sum it up, be a proactive client. Do not assume that your attorney knows all the facts of your case. Help your attorney represent you and increase the odds of a successful outcome. Remember, you and your attorney are a team seeking the exact same outcome. Ask questions and make sure you get answers. If you do not understand the answer, ask it again and have the answer explained so that you do understand. Do not be embarrassed. You do not know the law and your attorney has an obligation to make sure you understand what is going on in your case.
We are not just attorneys; we are counselors at law. Take advantage of our counsel.