There are many people who have never had to consult a lawyer, so they really don’t know what to expect from the experience. If you do need an attorney, you can save yourself some time and frustration by learning more about how your lawyer will work for you. This guide will give you an idea of what you can expect from your lawyer, regardless of the type of legal conflict you wish to resolve.
There’s a tendency to think this means your lawyer is obligated to talk to you every time you call the office, but it’s important to remember your attorney has other clients to serve. In addition, they may be busy working on your case, and that will keep them from speaking directly with you. However, when you do call, you should expect your phone call to be returned within a day or two. If it takes more than a few days, you can ask your attorney why they took so long in responding. They may have been tied up in court or may have gotten your message late.
If you watch prime time television, you know that criminal defense attorneys must keep their discussions with clients confidential. This is true for every type of attorney, so you should feel free to speak freely. Even if your lawyer uses a legal transcription service during a private meeting, you can feel confident that confidentiality still applies. Some lawyers make use of the service to help them document discussions that may be important in helping them serve their clients. In situations in which you don’t have that expectation of privacy, your lawyer is obligated to tell you in advance.
This is another confusing term as it’s applied to legal representation. Even though your lawyer may not have won your case for you that doesn’t automatically mean they were incompetent. However, if you can prove that the attorney committed mistakes that affected your case and that another attorney wouldn’t have made those same errors, you may be able to show that the attorney is guilty of legal malpractice. This can include missing important court deadlines or failing to pursue a line of questioning that would have proven your case. In some situations, an attorney may have a conflict of interest, such as investing in a business that you’re suing, and that can also be considered incompetence. At the very least, it’s an ethical violation.
Another thing you can expect from your attorney is that you’ll be kept updated on your case. While this includes providing you with a schedule of your court dates, it should also involve sharing any changes to your case. In a criminal proceeding, it’s important to know what evidence the prosecution holds against you. Any changes that could affect the outcome of your case should be shared with you in a timely manner to ensure you can make informed decisions.
It’s also important to discuss fees in advance of hiring an attorney. This is necessary because each type of case may be charged differently even when you’re using the same attorney for different legal matters. For example, an attorney handling a personal injury claim will work for contingency, which is a percentage of the settlement or jury award they obtain on your behalf. In that situation, you should know what percentage you’ll be charged in advance. In a simple matter, such as an uncontested divorce, the lawyer may charge a flat fee or hourly rate. In either method, it’s important to know if the fee covers all costs of handling your case, or if you’ll be charged additional administrative costs. Be sure you have a good understanding of the fees before you agree to hire any attorney.
You can learn about the specific ways an attorney can help you when you schedule an initial consultation. In some situations, such as personal injury claims, that first meeting will be free of charge, but you should always ask in advance to be sure. During the initial meeting, the attorney will evaluate your case and tell you what you can expect if you hire them.
About Author: This article is authored by Sheryl Wright. Sheryl Wright is a freelance writer who specializes in digital marketing, inclusive business, and interior design. If she is not at home reading, she is at a farmers market or climbing in the Rockies. She currently lives in Nashville, TN, with her cat, Saturn.