While none of us dream of the day we have to hire a lawyer, that day eventually comes in all of our lives. Whether it's a divorce, a personal injury, or simply needing a will, lawyers tend to be in our lives more than we realize.
It can be tricky, however, to figure out the right communication style to use with your lawyer. Since every lawyer is different, this takes some digging. Finding the right communication style can make or break the relationship you have. To ensure the way you and your lawyer communicate keeps you on the same page, here's an outline of the top things to remember when communicating with your spinal cord injury lawyer.
Tell Your Lawyer Everything from the Beginning
Remember, your lawyer is always on your side. So, it’s of vital importance to tell them everything pertinent to your case, and in a chronological order. Tell them things that may even seem unrelated to the case. You never know what may be useful. Your lawyer needs to know everything possible, even something that may be like a roadblock for you emotionally. If you let them know everything up front, it allows your lawyer to be the best possible advocate for you.
Keep a Written List of Issues and Questions
Compile a list of questions and issues you would like to go over with your lawyer next time you meet with them. Doing this allows you to gather your thoughts before communicating with them. Also, gather all the paperwork related to your case so it’s ready for the next time you meet; documents, invoices, emails, letters and anything else you think may relate to your case.
You should always ask straight away when your lawyer is available during the week; ask for both their days and hours of availability. For example, some lawyers are available at night or on weekdays, while others are not. Make sure the lawyer you hire has a schedule that is compatible with yours. Even after you hire your lawyer, ensure your schedules are still compatible. Also, ask them what their preferred communication method is. Most lawyers like to e-mail, but phone calls are okay with some lawyers too. Written correspondence is also common between lawyers and clients.
Since every moment of communication with your lawyer is precious, make sure you respond right away—whether it's an e-mail, a phone call or a letter. And, you should also make sure to open any letter you receive from your lawyer right away. Many matters involving your case will be time sensitive, so don't let that letter sit on the kitchen table for too long.
Work with Your Lawyer’s Paralegal
A paralegal is an integral part of your lawyer's team and you'll want to get familiar with the paralegal that works for them. While they legally can't give advice on your case, or any legal advice for that matter, you can always contact them for information such as the status of your case, when your next appointment is, if you need to cancel, any communication going on between other parties pertinent the case, etc.
Remember that your lawyer has to attend court proceedings, mediations, depositions, and other scheduled events, so they won't always be able to respond to you right away. If you do not hear from them or a member of their staff by the end of the day, contact them again the next day.
To ensure you get the compensation you deserve, complex litigation can take longer than most of us would like. That is O.K. because it often means that your lawyer believes the opposition has not yet made a fair offer. In the end, it will be worthwhile to ensure your recovery is maximized and that you have the resources necessary to live out the rest of your life.
A lawyer may be one of the most important people in your life when you need them, but remember they are also human. They genuinely care about your case and really do want to help. Always be forthright, upfront, communicative and patient with them, and you’ll be able to foster a great relationship.