During a stressful and difficult legal battle, your attorney’s number is the most called in your phone’s contacts list. This is not only a new relationship created during an emotional and confusing time; it is also one that a few people have had to go through. At such a time you want an attorney who understands your predicament, will explain matters to you in a simple way and can provide you with a tangible plan to success, depending on your situation.
However, how can you get the most from your legal representative – in terms of money, time and overall value? Here are five secrets for getting the most of your new relationship so that you can get the help you need during this very challenging time.
1. Be Honest
While no one is perfect, there is nothing worse than for an attorney to learn bad facts from the other side in the middle of a trial. It is critical that you tell your legal counsel the good, bad and the ugly before trial so that they have time to prepare a rebuttal should the issue come up. You never know, the facts you were hiding may not actually hurt your case – but the only way to find out is by having a candid talk with your attorney and share all the details.
2. Don’t Push Your Attorney to Get Revenge
It is quite easy to feel like nobody wins during a court trial. However, this should not push you to the extremes; your attorney is there to protect your rights, not to hurt your opponent. Your legal representative has worked hard to foster a working professional relationship and reputation with other lawyers and the court.
These relationships are to your advantage. When discussions are sober, constructive and practical, even in court proceedings, you stand a greater chance of benefitting more. The judge is also more likely to lean towards the legal team that offers its arguments (from you) in a reasonable manner.
3. Your Attorney is not an “On-Demand” Service
In reality, your attorney cannot drop everything he or she was doing every time you email or call. They usually have to deal with anywhere between 10 to 20 clients who also require their help during different times of the day. Plus, legal proceedings may take a long time; if you want to move on with your life, patience may be in short supply – and your lawyer understands that.
By all means, your legal representative will keep in touch and keep you up to date on what is happening at the court front. In addition, a good attorney also understands what an emergency is and will get back to you as soon as possible.
4. Return Calls Promptly
As a follow up to the above, your attorney is also busy, and whenever he takes the time to call and leave you a message, it is probably something really important. Do not put off returning the call until a couple of days later since some urgent legal matters may have a deadline that you should never miss. The best thing to do is call back by end-of-day or first thing in the morning.
5. Your Attorney is Human Too
Any legal representative, even a dog bite attorney, has spent years studying and practicing to be in a position to provide you with the best assistance and advice. It might be difficult to see this when you are dealing with emotional turmoil, but your attorney is also invested in your outcome.
Some attorneys admit to losing sleep over what may happen to their clients’ cases. It is also great for them to hear back from you months or even years after the case – when you are happy and settled in a new life.