I believe that all clients should have certain rights and expectations of their lawyer. These rights and expectations should be fundamental to the attorney-client relationship.
Clients often tell me that they hired me because I’m a “pit bull”. I take that as a compliment, but as someone with a legal problem that may or may not require formal legal proceedings, you should expect more from an attorney than someone who simply “fights like crazy”. As a client you deserve the following:
1. You deserve to know what the “landscape” of your legal situation looks like. That is, the strengths and weaknesses of their position as well as their opponents; the consequences of both success and failure in the matter; and the scope and extent of the work that may be required to bring those strengths and weaknesses into greater focus.
2. You deserve accessibility. Legal problems are stressful. When you feel a need to reach out and get information or answers, you should be able to do so easily. That’s why nearly all clients know my cell phone number.
3. You deserve responsiveness. I hear war stories about attorneys not returning clients’ phone calls or responding to e-mails. In the electronic age that non-responsiveness is simply unacceptable. If you call or e-mail me, you will typically hear back from me within just a few hours unless I am on trial or on vacation without access to cell service or e-mail. (Clients often chastise me for responding to their e-mails while I’m on vacation, but my response is usually something like, “Your problems don’t take a vacation”).
Qualities Of A Litigation Attorney
4. You deserve to have the applicable law and legal procedure explained to them in plain English. Much of the law is shrouded in mystery, complicated terms and what would seem to be outdated procedures. It’s my obligation to explain the law and procedure in a way that you can understand, so that you can make important decisions and feel comfortable about the manner in which your situation is being handled.
5. You deserve to be active partners in litigation and dispute resolution strategy. At each stage of your matter, you should feel free to discuss the options available to you.
6. You deserve attentiveness, to know that you are valued and cared for, that someone is actively looking out for your interests. For many clients, there is relief in simply knowing that they can confidently shift their problems onto the shoulders of someone else.