Your Attorney’s Role In Dealing With Your Legal Needs, and What You Can Expect From That Attorney And Attorney’s Staff
Your expectations of the attorney and attorney’s staff should include the following:
The right to be represented competently. You have the right to retain an attorney who is an expert in the field appropriate to your case. For example, a real estate attorney may be ill-equipped to handle a personal injury case. You should ask the attorney what cases appropriate to yours he or she has handled in the past and what the outcomes of those cases were.
The right to receive copies of all correspondence and court documents concerning your case. (You may ask to receive other documents as well, i.e., exhibits, depositions, appraisals, title commitments, etc.) You can expect to receive a copy of correspondence and court filings from your attorney on a regular basis. You may wish to receive only certain types of documents rather than each minor piece of correspondence from the attorney, but it is up to you and the attorney to decide this together. Remember you will probably be charged copying charges for any documents provided to you.
The right to be charged a reasonable fee and be told in advance what that fee will be.
The right to be treated with respect by all employees of the law firm with whom you come in contact, No one likes to be treated rudely. You should be treated with the respect that you deserve as a client of the firm. If you do not receive proper treatment, discuss the matter with the attorney or personnel department of the law firm.
Prompt responses to each of your phone calls and written inquiries. The attorney should promptly return your phone calls. Otherwise, someone on the staff should contact you and advise you when the attorney will be available to talk with you.
The right to have the attorney explain to you what steps and procedures will be taken in your case, as well as an estimated time schedule for each step of the case. It may be difficult for you to understand the steps of the case in which you are involved; therefore, it may be necessary for you to discuss with the attorney or a member of his or her staff the procedures to be taken in your case. A legal secretary may be able to tell you the basic procedural steps regarding your case; but it is unethical for anyone except the attorney to give you legal advice.
The right to have the information pertaining to you kept strictly confidential. There are some things pertaining to your case that you may wish to keep confidential. The law firm and all of its staff are obligated by the Code of Professional Ethics to keep all matters concerning your case confidential. Although it is proper for an attorney to discuss your case with associates in the office or someone who might assist with your case, it would be improper for him/her or his/her staff to share that information with anyone outside of the law firm who is unrelated to the case.
The right to an efficient and accurate work product. The work product, which is filed with the court or prepared on your behalf is a reflection of the professionalism of the services you are receiving from the law firm. An accurate work product reflects the staff’s interest and dedication to you as the client.
Remember that you, the attorney and staff are working together as a team on your case. An attorney’s staff is just as eager for a good result as you are. The teamwork approach is a positive one and the end result is rewarding to all those involved.
This information included is not intended to serve as a substitute for consultation with an attorney. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of appropriate legal professionals.