Communicating Better With Your Lawyer
Communication between solicitors and their clients is the single most important part of the relationship. Each side must understand the expectations and goals of the other party.
Here are some ways to make sure the relationship works for you:
Make sure your lawyer fits. You need to be able to communicate and feel at ease with your lawyer, to feel comfortable asking questions and confident that you can work together to accomplish your goals.
Ask questions if you don't understand something your lawyer says. This is not a time to be shy or afraid. We can always explain things differently to help you understand. Your understanding ensures that you can make decisions and instruct your lawyer on what you want to do.
Discuss money with your lawyer. You need to have a clear idea of how much your lawyer's services will cost and what factors will affect the total cost. Ask what you can do to keep fees and other costs down.
Talk to your lawyer when you have a problem with the service you are receiving. Your lawyer cannot fix what they do not know about. If something is bothering or upsetting you, tell your lawyer. At times, your lawyer will have to attend to other important matters. If your questions are not answered in a timely manner, be direct. Ask your lawyer how to proceed when you need something and he or she is busy juggling other matters. Your lawyer’s staff can answer questions and relay information. Ask your lawyer which staff member to turn to when he or she is unavailable.
Check carefully the "engagement" letter your lawyer sends you. This letter will disclose what your lawyer will do for you and the approximate costs for doing so. If you are not sure of something in the letter, don't wait to talk to your lawyer about it. You both need to be clear on what your lawyer will be doing for you.
Be clear about your expectations. We are not mind readers. We can only act on what you tell us. Don't make the mistake of talking about "A" when you are hoping for "B".
Be realistic about what a lawyer can do for you. Lawyers have legal knowledge and expertise that can help you with legal problems. They cannot move mountains, or wave a magic wand and make your problems go away. Tell your lawyer what advice you have received from other people. After all, your lawyer must contend with the whole range of opinions, advice, and directions you get from friends and family. If you are acting on someone else’s advice, tell your lawyer.