When it comes to working with a lawyer, it is usually due to a period of change, growth, emotion and/or nervousness. Some people may never work with a lawyer in their life. Others will work with lawyers all of the time.
Regardless of whether you are working with a lawyer as a one-off, or you are working with your lawyer on a regular basis over many years, there are some key steps which can be taken to make the most of working with your lawyer and to ensure a positive professional working relationship.
Here are our top 5 tips:
- Share your preferred method of communication
Let your lawyer know whether you prefer to communicate by telephone or email. This will assist with the ease of communication throughout your matter and ensure that information is exchanged, and instructions are received, in a timely manner. There is some information which will need to be communicated in writing but for other information, a phone call may suffice. If you can rarely get to the phone, you might prefer an email, even for simple or short messages. Let your lawyer know your preference.
- Provide information and insight
Keep your lawyer informed of any and all information which may be relevant to your matter. This might be particular (or peculiar!) facts about the property or the business being sold or purchased. Whilst your lawyer will endeavour to ask questions to gain this information, they don’t know what they don’t know so bring them into the picture. You should also make sure your lawyer knows if you are going to be away or if there will be a change to your circumstances which could impact on your matter or the ability to communicate. Similarly, if you have questions you would like answered – just ask. There should be a two way exchange of information between you and your lawyer.
- Read correspondence carefully
The correspondence or information you receive from your lawyer is important. Remember that your lawyer has experience in matters like yours and is communicating what you need to know, as well as asking for instructions to assist with the progress of the matter and to minimise risk. Read correspondence, and listen to your advice, carefully. Take your time to consider the information and respond or take action as appropriate. There is no need to rush the process. This is particularly so when your lawyer is communicating instructions on how to sign documents, asking for instructions or providing you with options to determine how you would like to proceed.
- No news is usually good news
Trust that your lawyer will inform you of any updates, news or progress of your matter when they have new information to hand. Lawyers are (hopefully!) organised people and are experienced in monitoring, progressing and finalising matters. One thing that lawyers cannot control is other people. If you are waiting to hear from your lawyer, chances are they are also waiting for the information to pass on to you. That information might be coming from a third party. When the information is available, they will let you know. Trust the process.
- Remember, lawyers are people too!
Believe it or not, lawyers are people too! Don’t be afraid to engage in some small talk with your lawyer. You might be surprised what you learn and if nothing else, it will undoubtedly strengthen the working relationship. Also remember that like you, your lawyer has a life outside work, family responsibilities and other commitments. They will be looking after your matter but there might also be times when they are looking after themselves too. This is important to make sure your lawyer remains at the top of their game and is able to continue to work with you into the future.
This article is intended to be for general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor does it establish a relationship of client and lawyer. Specific circumstances or changes in law may vary the accuracy or applicability of the information published. We recommend seeking specific legal advice particular to your circumstances before taking any action, or refraining from taking any action, on any issue dealt with in this article.