When you have no previous experience dealing with lawyers or courts, it can be intimidating to start to work with an attorney. Without experience, you don’t have anything to shape your expectation of how the attorney-client relationship should work.
This lack of experience can hurt clients who don’t realize that their attorney isn’t providing the level of service expected from a professional lawyer. It can lead clients to stay too long with an attorney who isn’t adequately managing their case.
To make sure you don’t fall into this trap, consider these attorney expectations. If you find that your attorney isn’t meeting this criteria, it might be time to find a new lawyer.
What to Expect From an Attorney
Ideally, you want to work with an attorney who exceeds expectations, but these are the standards for what you should expect from an attorney in every case.
#1) They clearly explain your legal strategy.
An attorney’s role is to guide you through your case and lead you to the best possible outcome. In many cases, there will be different strategies an attorney can take. It’s your lawyer’s job to create the strategy for managing your case and to communicate that strategy to you. An attorney should explain what steps they are taking and why they believe their plan is the best option.
#2) They set realistic expectations for outcomes.
In most legal cases, there is no guarantee for a specific outcome. There are many factors that can impact the results of a case. It is your lawyer’s job to set realistic expectations for what that outcome may be. For example, if you approach a personal injury attorney and expect to win a million-dollar settlement, your attorney should advise you on whether or not that is possible.
#3) They have an open line of communication.
The line of communication should always be open between you and your attorney. Your representation should return your calls and answer your emails in a timely manner. While all attorneys have different working and communication styles, you should never feel as though your lawyer is avoiding you or ducking your calls.
#4) They answer your questions.
Attorney expectations should go beyond simply being available to connect with you. Your lawyer should also be available to answer questions you have as you go through your case. In fact, they should anticipate stages where you may have questions and set times to review your case and give you an opportunity to ask questions about your case and strategy.
#5) They act on your behalf.
It is your attorney’s job to guide you through your case and advise you on the best approach, but you always make the final decisions. An attorney should always follow your directions, even if they disagree with your instructions (as long as the instructions are legal). They can offer arguments and reasons for why your strategy isn’t recommended, but they are hired by you to act on your behalf and shouldn’t take action without your approval and permission.
#6) They don’t make blatant errors.
While everyone can make a mistake, attorneys should not be making consistent, blatant errors. If you find that your attorney is often making egregious errors such as adding incorrect information on documents, missing court dates, or filing the wrong documents, it could be a sign that they aren’t taking your case very seriously or that they are not a very capable attorney.
#7) They don’t draw out cases unnecessarily.
A lawyer is obligated to manage your case to their best of their abilities. They should resolve it in the most affordable and timely manner. Your attorney should never draw out your case for the purpose of incurring additional fees or overbilling.
#8) They follow rules of law and ethics.
Attorneys abide by a set of laws and ethics. They are meant to act in the best interest of their client while maintaining strong ethical standards. Attorneys should never advise that you or they engage in nefarious or illegal actions as a way to manage your case. If you sense that your attorney is suggesting activities that are illegal or immoral, you can contact the American Bar Association in your state.
#9) They clearly explain their payment structure.
When you hire or retain an attorney, you will often sign a contract and enter a legal agreement with them. Your attorney should make sure you clearly understand the fee structure included in the agreement and set reasonable expectations for costs. They should also inform you if they believe your case is going to cost more than initially described.
Exceed Attorney Expectations with TJ Grimaldi
Not all attorneys will provide the same level of service and value. As you seek representation, ensure that your attorney can meet and exceed your expectations.
TJ Grimaldi takes pride in over-delivering for his clients. Find out if he can provide the level of service and representation you need. Schedule your free consultation to talk to him today.
Schedule your free consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.