A lawyer is a professional person from whom you are entitled to a quality service. You should be able to expect at the very least the following from him or her
There will never be a guarantee that your lawyer will win your case or succeed in obtaining your wishes. They should however show competence in knowledge of the law and have sufficient experience to advise and conduct your matter.
Your lawyer should always
- explain the options available in your legal matter
- discuss strategy
- provide a timeline for important events, and
- promptly return phone calls and answer your questions.
If you do not know what is going on and do not have regular updates on your matter the chances are that you have a bad lawyer who is not doing their job. As a case progresses you may well hear less from your lawyer but are entitled to know that your matter is being handled appropriately.
Your lawyer must:
- represent you with undivided loyalty
- keep your affairs confidential
- represent your interests within the bounds of the law, and
- put your interests ahead of their own.
Make sure that you understand how and how much you will be charged. Usually this will relate to how much you ask your lawyer to do as they will charge on the time taken. Ask for a fixed cost where possible. Most lawyers will require a retainer before starting work.
Your lawyer should:
- acknowledge that you are in charge
- tell you what to expect
- explain when things should happen
- tell you what is important in your case
- estimate what things will cost
- help you analyse the cost-effectiveness of various strategies
- explain delays or date changes
- explain what your case is worth
- explain the risks of going to trial versus settling
- prepare you for your deposition, and
- prepare you for your trial.
- follow through on what you agree to do
- prepare a written summary and chronology of events
- tell your lawyer everything
- understand that your lawyer has a duty to keep whatever you say confidential
- inform your lawyer of new developments
- respect your lawyer’s time and schedule
- provide requested information promptly
- let your lawyer know if you will be unavailable
- help with research and leg work that does not require legal training
- pay your bills, and
- not expect your lawyer to be your friend.