There are several crucial aspects to any attorney-client relationship. Perhaps the most important of these aspects is honesty. Honesty in any relationship is a two-way street and it is no different when it comes to the relationship between a lawyer and their client.
When you are on the search for legal counsel, whether it be for a criminal matter, civil litigation, or family law case, make sure you and your attorney keep honesty at the forefront of your relationship.
Finding an Honest Attorney
In your search for the right lawyer, make sure you hire someone you feel you can trust. To do this, talk with other clients, read testimonials, and prepare a few questions for your initial consultation. After the meeting, if you don’t feel you can tell everything to the lawyer, or you get an untrustworthy vibe, keep looking.
While lawyers often get a great deal of grief, the vast majority are decent people and seek to do their job with integrity.
Being an Honest Client
While lawyers certainly need to be honest, if an attorney-client relationship is going to work and have a positive outcome, you as the client need to be honest too. It’s human nature to be tempted to hide shameful facts or family history. But when it comes to your lawyer, they need to know just about everything.
Think of your lawyer as the one person in whom you can confide. In fact, you have to confide in them. There is nothing worse for a lawyer than getting blindsided at trial or by the opposing counsel with facts or information the client should have told them but didn’t. When that happens, it not only hurts your case, but it causes a rift in your relationship with your lawyer and will make it harder to work together going forward.
And you don’t have to worry about your lawyer revealing your dark past either. Because of attorney-client privilege, everything you tell your lawyer is just between the two of you.
Make sure you answer all your lawyer’s questions honestly. You also need to make sure you don’t omit important details about your case. Only when you are forthcoming and completely honest can you give your lawyer the best chance of winning your case.
What Else Helps the Attorney-Client Relationship
Honesty is a solid foundation on which to build an attorney-client relationship, but honesty alone doesn’t guarantee the relationship will be perfect or that your case will go well. If you want your lawyer to be equipped to do their best there are several other things you can do.
- Respond quickly and communicate clearly. Lawyers are people too and understand that you might have other things going on in your life. However, when they call or send a message, it is important you respond as soon as possible. Not only will getting back to them promptly give them more time to work on your case, it is a simple sign of respect.
- Show up on time for meetings. Lawyers are busy people, they can have dozens of clients at once. They might also be juggling hearings, depositions, trials, and other important matters. Don’t waste their time by showing up late for a meeting. If you are held up, send them a message or call ahead to let them know. This will let them work on something else while they are waiting and it will give them a better attitude when they are working on your case.
When you respect your attorney’s time and effort, it goes a long way to helping your relationship. Also, when you trust them and they can trust you to give them all the information they need, it can help immensely as your case proceeds.