Here are a few things I have learned after working with an attorney for over two years:
- You will not see them often and will rarely get a reply to emails or returned phone calls.
- They value their time and expect you to value yours as well.
- They won’t care about all the little things that go on. They are looking for “big ticket” items that will have an impact on your case.
Have a close friend or therapist to discuss your case with so you can keep your emotions out of your legal case. This is just business to attorneys and the court.
And here are some tips to make a meeting with your attorney as productive as possible:
- Have a list of questions or topics you need guidance on and stay on topic to save time and expense.
- Have your documents and notes organized so you can quickly and easily find what you need to share with your attorney. Have copies of everything you bring in case he wants to keep what you show him.
- You know your case better than your attorney. Be prepared to give him a review of the situation as needed.
- You are your own best advocate. You know what you want and need from your case. Be willing to let your attorney know when you are not in agreement with a plan of action.
- Keep notes during your meeting. You think you will remember things but you won’t especially if your case is stressful. My attorney usually has homework for me to do so I make sure to write down what he is asking for. He has asked me to make lists, send a summary of the situation, or find emails that show the situation more clearly. It is important to give your attorney what he needs so he can help you.
Here are a few more things I have found helpful in communicating with my attorney and his office:
- I use my name in the subject line of every email so the office can keep my evidence together. I also add a few descriptive words to the subject line so they can tell what the email is about. In my case, I have to forward relevant communications and other evidence so I make it as easy as possible for them to keep it organized.
- Only forward email evidence that really matters. The emails will be printed to add to your file and they will charge you for every copy so make them count if you are on a budget.
- I only call if it is super important. They won’t return calls unless there is some sort of action to take or they need to ask a question.
- Trust that they are moving your case forward. It is a slow tedious process and not much happens quickly.
If you can’t trust your attorney then it’s probably time to find someone else. It may take a few tries before you find the right fit for you. Be prepared to change attorneys if you don’t feel you are being heard or represented as needed.
First published on Medium on October 21, 2022.