When working with an attorney, there are common mistakes you can avoid in order to help make the experience more smooth and productive.
Here are some mistakes to avoid when working with an attorney:
- Not Telling Your Attorney the Truth - Your attorney is on your side. Not telling your lawyer everything is a good way to get bad legal advice and counsel. Your attorney can only help you if he or she knows every detail.
- Not Getting a Written Fee Agreement - By having your attorney put the fees in writing, you can ensure that you are charged fairly. It can also be a way identify areas where you could possibly save money – doing your own research, doing your own photocopying, etc. Make sure you understand every charge that could be coming your way before you begin receiving legal advice on a personal injury claim or other legal matter.
- Not Paying Your Bills on Time - While it is important to understand your lawyer fees, it is equally as important to make sure to pay them on time. If you maintain a good relationship with your attorney and want to continue to do so in the future, pay him or her in a timely manner. Missing a payment is one of the best ways to damage an attorney/client relationship.
- Not Negotiating Your Fee - With so much competition among personal injury lawyers and attorneys, few can afford to let a good client go. You might be able to use this to your advantage by looking for price breaks where possible and making sure your fee agreement is exactly what you want.
- Not Making Your Relationship with Your Attorney Clear - You and your attorney may have different opinions about how involved each of you should be in the case or how much power the attorney should have over the case direction. By establishing a clear understanding of each other's roles throughout litigation, you can create a more productive experience when engaging with your lawyer.
- Not Preparing for a Meeting with Your Attorney - The best working relationships are two-way streets. Just as you may expect your lawyer to be prepared for your meetings, so too does the lawyer anticipate that you will be ready. Bring your case file, have all your paperwork with you, and be open to ideas and legal advice.
- Not Hiring an Attorney Before Your Legal Situation Gets Out of Control - An attorney may be able to save you money and may even be able to help your chances of winning your claim if you consult them before taking any sort of action. The worst thing you can do is not hire a lawyer simply because you prefer to go it alone or want to save money. In most cases, your lawyer knows the law better than you and may be equipped with the best tools for making smart decisions early.
- Not Talking to Several Attorneys When Deciding Who to Hire - This may be one of the single biggest mistakes to make on the way to winning your claim. There is no true way of knowing that the attorney you are speaking with is the best one to represent your claim if they are the only person you have talked to. Do the legwork throughout the hiring process, meet with multiple attorneys, and find the perfect fit for your case.
- Not Staying Involved - While it is important to remember that lawyers don't like pests who call every hour on the hour, calling every so often to check up on your case is a good way to show your attorney how committed you are to the case and how important it is to you. Being involved is a great way to foster a good working relationship and keep the process moving along smoothly; it's also nice to know what's going on.