When it comes to court cases, there is no guarantee to how long it could take to reach a conclusion. Hence, when you find a lawyer, it is important for you to have a good relationship with him and plenty of patience. If this is the first time you have or will be working with a lawyer, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Work With the Right Lawyer
The first step to ensuring that your case reaches a successful conclusion is to work with the right lawyer. Like doctors, there are many different types of lawyers. Hence, just because your sister in law is a corporate lawyer, don’t ask her to handle your personal injury case. Instead, ask her for a recommendation. When you decide to hire a lawyer, look at his experience with cases like yours. You could also browse through websites like this website to find a lawyer for your case.
It may happen that though you are not directly responsible for something your actions could have indirectly contributed to it. In such cases, you may be tempted to keep certain details about the case with yourself. Do not do this. Be honest with your lawyer and let him or her know the entire story. Do not lie or fabricate anything. This could be very costly in the long run. Lawyers must maintain confidential relationships with their clients so do not worry about letting your secrets out. Give your lawyers as much information as you can. Let them be the judge of what is relevant and what isn’t. Also, do not go behind your lawyers back. If the lawyer tells you not to do something, don’t do it.
Keep Communication Channels Open
At the start of the case, decide on a way to communicate with your lawyer. For example, not everyone checks their email regularly. Thus, if your lawyer were to send you an urgent email, it might go unnoticed till much later. When your lawyer does ask for something, respond quickly. If you fail to respond in time, he may not be able to meet a court deadline and it is your own case that will get delayed. If you cannot get what the lawyer wants in time, let him know so that he can ask for an extension in court.
Respect Each Other’s Time
Your case is not the only thing a lawyer is handling and you too will have things to do that do not pertain to your case. Hence, when an appointment is set, respect each other’s time and be punctual. Be prepared with any questions that you would like to ask so that you do not have to call later. If your lawyer is billing you by the hour, this could also save you some money. It is also helpful to let your lawyer know your schedule. This will allow him to set court dates which need to be attended by you at times when you are available. If something comes up urgently and you cannot make it for a court date, let your lawyer know in advance. This will give him the opportunity to reschedule.
Discuss Fees Openly
Do not shy away from discussing fees with your lawyer. When it comes to personal injury cases, many lawyers work on a contingency basis. Hence, just because you haven’t paid anything upfront, don’t expect their services to be free. Get a clear idea of your lawyers’ fees and how they expect to be paid. Also note that fees and expenses are not the same thing. If your lawyer will be billing you for the services of his paralegal, etc., you should get an estimate of this amount as well when you sign the initial paperwork. It is best to get all of this in writing before the lawyer starts working on your case.
Nobody expects you to understand legal jargon. However, you may have to hear a lot of it. If you do not understand something, don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer. If your lawyer seems irritated by this, get another lawyer. Honesty and communication are two way streets. It is imperative for you to understand what your lawyer is saying and doing so that you can make the right decisions.
Have Clear Expectations
Know what you want your lawyer to do. Once you have decided to work towards a particular aim, do not side step to other issues. Let your lawyer know what your ideal outcome would be as well s what you would consider to be the worst outcome. It is also important to have realistic expectations. After all, the lawyer is also human and cannot make your life like what it was earlier or move mountains. Stay positive and have faith that your lawyer will do his best for you and give you what you deserve.