Published 9/14/2017 in The Wayne & Garfield County Insider.
Your first conversation with an attorney. Attorneys are people too and can, with a little prodding, have a kind and friendly conversation at the neighborhood party. However, when they have a conversation with a potential client or client, the tone can change from a friendly conversation about your garden to asking direct, possibly uncomfortable questions about the problem at hand. Whether the conversation is in the office, your home, or at the county jail, here are a few things to consider:
Your attorney advocates for you, but only if you tell them the whole story. Attorneys ask prodding, sometimes awkward questions, in an effort to understand the complete situation their client is experiencing. The attorney can do their job and advocate better for you if they know about your prior run-ins with the law, your financial situation, or sensitive issues about the problem being discussed. You also need to be honest with your attorney so they can strategize in your best interest. This is only possible if the attorney understands what the other side of the case may use against you. Client-attorney relationships are two-way streets where the attorney can only do the best they can with the information available. And you, the client, are one of their best resources for information.
Attorneys have zipped lips. Attorneys cannot share any identifying information about your case to other people. This means that what you say to your attorney is not shared with anyone outside of the attorney’s office. Only you, the client, can break this confidentiality standard by telling other people about your attorney-client conversations.
However, every attorney will recommend you do not share their conversations as it might ruin your case strategy. Even if the attorney does not decide to represent you, they keep your conversations confidential.
The attorney may decide to not represent you. During or after your first conversation with your potential attorney, you may decide you would like to consult another attorney before agreeing to representation. Likewise, the attorney may decide they would not like to represent you due a variety of factors: conflicts of interest, personality, or specialty. If an attorney has represented the opposing party with a similar or the same matter, the attorney most likely cannot represent you. Like your doctor, hairdresser, or other service provider, you and your attorney need to have a compatible, working relationship. The attorney may not have “clicked” with you and decline your case. Just like picking a dentist, there is an attorney and client for every client and attorney.
Lastly, the attorney may not have the special skills required for your issue and thinks another attorney in the region or state could better serve you. Attorneys work and interact with each other all of the time and have an extensive network of legal friends. These legal friends have a spectrum of specialties and will most likely be able to help with you.
Disclaimer. As always, my column is not legal advice. If you have questions or topics you would like me to cover, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.