Author: M. Samples
Legal issues are incredibly stressful, and it’s important to have an attorney by your side that you like and trust. Have you ever been frustrated that your attorney seems to have no time for you and is hard to get a hold of? This is a very common concern, but one that can absolutely be remedied. Here are a few good things to keep in mind as you go through the legal process:
- The first thing to remember is that you are not your attorney’s only client- this can be a hard one to swallow. Legal issues are very common, you are not the only one going through this process. This can be both a comfort and a frustration. Your attorney is likely helping many other families through the same struggles as you. Each of their cases have different needs, goals, and deadlines. It’s important to trust your attorney and their staff to properly prioritize their cases in order to ensure that each of their clients receive the best possible representation. If your case has trial in two months and another case has trial in two weeks, your case may take a temporary back burner and you may have a harder time reaching your attorney. This is not a bad thing! It simply means that your attorney is paying attention to the needs and deadlines of each of their cases and prioritizing in an efficient manner. Trust your attorney and know that when the time comes, they will give your case the same attention and prioritization.
- If you are feeling unhappy with any aspect of your representation, including your ability to reach your attorney, let them know! Communication is imperative. Schedule a time to speak with your attorney, this way you can ensure you have their undivided attention for a set period of time. Let them know that you are feeling frustrated by your inability to reach them. Perhaps they have a major deadline coming up in another case, or they haven’t received your messages, or maybe email is the best way to get a hold of them. There could be a dozen different reasons for the delays in communication. Once you’ve discussed your concerns, work with your attorney to find a solution. For example, schedule a standing phone call to receive regular case updates. The attorney-client relationship requires communication and patience just like any other!
- Have realistic expectations. It is not realistic, nor fair, to expect your attorney to be available for all of your calls. Their calendars are full of meetings and calls. In between those, they also need uninterrupted work time. While your attorney may be available when you call, and you can absolutely attempt it, scheduling calls and meetings will always be the best way to reach your attorney. Emails work very similarly. Immediate email response is not a realistic expectation. If you sent an email to your attorney and haven’t heard back in a few days, feel free to follow up with them at that point. If your matter is urgent, make that very clear in your messages (phone or email), and be sure to give specific details about the situation. Your attorney’s staff is trained to recognize urgent situations and promptly contact the attorney- even if they’re busy. Legal issues are emotional and taxing. Something that feels time sensitive and life-altering may not necessarily be so. Trust that the firm’s staff will make your attorney aware of any situation that requires their immediate attention.
If you have spoken to your attorney about your concerns and are still running into the same issues, look into hiring a different attorney! All attorneys are different. If you feel like you aren’t being represented in the healthiest, most efficient way, don’t be afraid to seek a better fit. You deserve a lawyer that you trust and communicate well with!