You’re probably aware that having a healthy, trusting relationship with your lawyer ensures open communication and, therefore, better outcomes for your case. However, did you know that a good relationship can also lower your bill?
That’s right – and we’re not talking about cutting fees because there is an underlying sense of kinship or due to negotiation. Many lawyers have an hourly rate and bill phone calls and email correspondence additionally. As you know, these things can easily add up.
Having a good relationship with your lawyer will allow you to have an upfront conversation about expected fees and expenses and factors that contribute to additional costs.
Moreover, a client who trusts their lawyer will be truthful about all the circumstances of the case, which will allow the lawyer to ask all the right questions during the very first consultation. This makes less space for additional meetups and costs, which ultimately saves you time as well.
So, what are the things that you can do to improve a relationship with your lawyer? Let’s take a look at a few:
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Arrive on time
For the same reasons we’ve named above, you want to make sure that you’re arriving for your appointments on time. Time is money and both you and your lawyer could be making better use of your resources than waiting around for each other.
Punctuality is not only important when having consultations with your lawyer, but when attending court hearings. Judges will not appreciate you being late, as it shows that you lack accountability and have little respect for their time. This will also make your lawyer look bad.
Also, you don’t want to dump a lot of information on your lawyer at the last moment because this could affect the way they prepare your case. Giving your lawyer enough time to do their job will take away the unnecessary stress from both of you.
All relationships should be built on mutual respect. Showing diligence is a great way to ensure that a relationship with your lawyer is built on a strong foundation.
Be honest and thorough
When in doubt about whether you should share details of your case with your lawyer, do!
Your lawyer is on your side and it’s in their interest to defend your interests. That means if you share something that might work against you, they’ll keep it to themselves and be able to create a strategy that prevents it from coming up during the hearing.
Furthermore, you might think that some details are insignificant, but your lawyer might disagree. Even the tiniest things can turn things in your favor and enhance your case, so be upfront and honest about everything. Don’t hold back.
Putting all your cards on the table straight away leads to more efficient consultations. Ultimately, being concise allows your lawyer to prepare your case more thoroughly and keeps you within the budget.
Set clear expectations from the get-go, but be ready to manage them
Letting your lawyer know what your goals for the case are during the first consultation will help you avoid future misunderstandings.
Spar & Bernstein lawyers let their clients know if they cannot meet their expectations or if they think their objectives aren’t realistic.
In the end, it’s better that you know your odds right away, so you can decide whether you want to pursue the case at all and avoid potential disappointments down the road.
You should also agree on acceptable outcomes if an ideal one is out of the question. Settling is always an option, but your lawyer needs to know what should settle for.
Express your desires and your concerns. Tell your lawyer how frequently you wanted to be updated on the case. Gather that evidence you’re asked for.
We’re sure that you can see how all this can end up saving you time and money.
Listen to your lawyer
Paying attention to questions your lawyer is asking will ensure that you’re not spending time repeating stuff.
Listening to their instructions on how to answer questions before the judge is going to make less space for the opposing party and their lawyer to find loopholes in your case.
As you can see, listening is a powerful tool. That doesn’t mean you’re obliged to follow everything your lawyer asks of you and in most cases, they won’t give you explicit directions as to how to act or what to say.
Instead, your lawyer will provide you with information to make an informed decision based on what you’re trying to achieve. Just keep in mind that completely ignoring your lawyer’s recommendations and working against you can decrease the quality of your relationship.
Listening to your lawyer also means listening to them when they say you need to take care of yourself. Your lawyer will be able to tell when the proceedings are taking a toll on your physical and mental health, which might already be impacted by the circumstances of your case.
Sometimes it’s best if you take a step back and let lawyers do their job, while you’re focusing on your well-being.
In the end, it all comes down to trust, so you must be confident about having chosen the right lawyer for you and your case.
If you manage to build a meaningful relationship with your lawyer, you’re on a great path to:
- Minimize the risks and maximize the value of your case
- Successfully eliminate the challenges of your legal proceedings