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Talking to a Lawyer

Once you have selected a lawyer, there are several steps you can follow to help your lawyer and to satisfy yourself concerning the quality and expediency of legal services being provided. Here are some:

  • Be honest with your lawyer. Tell the truth. An attorney can't be expected to give you well-reasoned legal advice if the information you provide is faulty.

  • Have your lawyer analyze your case and give you both the positive and negative aspects.

  • Take your lawyer's advice. It isn't given off-the-cuff. Don't waste your money or your lawyer's time if you don't have confidence in his or her special knowledge or skills.

  • Don't expect your attorney to give a simple answer to a complex question. Many legal problems cannot be explained simply. Be sure that you understand the technical language contained in wills, contracts, leases, and so forth. Don't, however, challenge your lawyer on every sentence on every page.

  • Keep your lawyer fully informed of any new developments that might affect your case.

  • Don't badger your lawyer. Respect your attorney's time. Avoid phoning repeatedly about petty matters. Remember, a lawyer has other clients who require attention, too.

  • Ask your lawyer to keep you informed about the progress of your suit or legal problem. The lawyer is retained to work for you.

  • Be skeptical of attorneys promising certain results. Airtight cases just don't exist.

  • Request copies of all letters and documents prepared on your behalf.

  • Don't sign any document or paper until you fully understand what you are signing.