When you seek legal advice or services, there’s a good chance life-changing events are unfolding. Whether you’re opening a new business, conveying real property, or facing commercial disputes, it can be an incredibly stressful time.
But with the right lawyer, you can face all those challenges with a little more confidence knowing that you have a legal expert on your side.
Once you find the legal assistance you need, you must nurture your rapport with your lawyer. With our years of practice, there’s no doubt that a healthy attorney-client relationship is vital to any case’s success. So knowing a few tips and practices can bring you a step closer to remedying your legal issues.
Table of Contents
- Understanding the Attorney-Client Relationship
- How to Build a Positive Attorney-Client Relationship
- Why Attorney-Client Relationships Fail
- Work With Our Experts Today
Understanding the Attorney-Client Relationship
When an attorney agrees to give legal help to someone who seeks the attorney’s services, an attorney-client relationship is formed. Alternatively, a lawyer may accept to represent a client in all legal disputes that may arise, resulting in an open-ended, ongoing attorney-client relationship.
When the two parties agree to work together in the future, the client will usually pay a retainer fee to secure the lawyer’s services. However, an attorney-client relationship can be developed even if no money is exchanged and no contract is signed. This means that the relationship is formed when a lawyer delivers legal advice to someone with the expectation of representation at some point.
However, unless the lawyer agrees to take on legal representation for a specific matter, just scheduling a consultation with a lawyer without the expectation of legal advice or representation does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.
While a person who meets with a lawyer does not automatically become a client, the lawyer does have obligations to the individual as a potential client right away. Specifically, any information the potential client discloses to the lawyer about their legal situation cannot be revealed or used against them at a later date.
How to Build a Positive Attorney-Client Relationship
Building a great attorney-client relationship is straightforward. There’s no secret formula or approach, nor are there gifts involved. It’s just about being professional, respectful, and having an open mind. Here are three best practices to follow for a successful attorney-client relationship:
Foremost, your attorney’s main concerns are you, your interests, and the success of your case. Lawyers are your ally. You don’t want to withhold any information that could prevent them from getting their job done. So make sure that you tell the entire story from the ground up. Leaving even minor details can mess up your progress and negatively impact your attorney-client relationship.
Be on Time
Punctuality is as necessary from clients as it is from attorneys. You should always be on time for appointments. Being late wastes both you and your lawyer’s time and creates a negative impression that you’re not taking your case seriously. Moreover, it can make you and your lawyer more prone to making mistakes. It’s more advantageous to always be on time, regardless of how minor the discussion or topic seems.
You won’t believe how often clients ask for advice, only to disregard in the end. Your lawyer, a qualified professional with years of education and experience, can best help you when you heed what they ask you to do. Although your attorney’s instructions may not be in line with your opinion at times, they will still provide the best results in the long run. In essence, trust and respect your lawyer’s expertise.
Why Attorney-Client Relationships Fail
Having a good attorney-client relationship is crucial for a case’s overall success. It can be the difference-maker in whether you get the legal results you were aiming for or not.
Unfortunately, not every attorney-client relationship is positive. Several things can strain the relationship and make both parties feel they wasted time, energy, and resources for a case.
By understanding some common attorney-client relationship pitfalls, you can avoid making the same mistakes that many other clients have made in the past.
Lack of Communication
A failure to properly communicate from both sides can quickly sour an attorney-client relationship. By not communicating often, you’re leaving room for mistakes and case mismanagement to happen. You might think that your lawyer is handling your case your way, but by not communicating with each other enough, he/she could have other plans.
Whether it’s email, calls, texts, or in-person meetings, you and your attorney should be on the same page at all times to ensure case success, especially when it comes to business law. You will need to make conscious efforts for more communication from your side and voice your concerns to your attorney if you feel they aren’t reaching out enough.
Your attorney is there to help you – not go against you! You may have ideas about how you would like to navigate your case, but your attorney will give you options for other strategies that would benefit you better. No matter what route you take, remember to consider all your options and not take anything personally because your attorney is looking out for you.
People need to remember that not every case is simple. Your attorney’s best work comes when you are realistic about your expectations. If you expect to win a fortune when your attorney said it’d be impossible to, you’ll only end up unreasonably disappointed with their work and the relationship!
Work With Our Experts Today
The attorney-client relationship can be one of the most satisfying partnerships if a strong foundation is built. We at Bowen Law understand how meaningful this relationship is and will do everything we can to ensure that you’re happy, comfortable, and empowered by our collaboration.
You can give us a call today or message us through our contact form.