How To Be A Good Client
Let’s take a realistic look at your situation. Bottom line …. you are in a bad situation. DUI is a serious charge and has serious consequences. You may be sentenced to jail and you may lose your driver license and your job. You need effective and competent legal help.
Right now it’s not important whose fault it was or even that you might have a valid defense. The best way to help yourself is to be the best client you can be. How you interact with your lawyer will make a big difference. So start off on the right foot.
- Understand that DUI representation is going to be expensive. You want the best possible representation – you must pay for the lawyer’s time and service. You are expected to pay your lawyer as agreed by the terms of the contract. Be prepared to make whatever financial arrangements are necessary.
- Always be honest and upfront with your lawyer. You and your lawyer have an ‘attorney-client’ relationship which requires complete honesty and mutual trust. Your lawyer cannot effectively represent you if you withhold information. Under no circumstances should you give false, untruthful or misleading information! When asked a question, answer the question to the best of your ability – completely and honestly.
- Understand that your lawyer gives 100% of his effort to the case he is currently working on – and he is working on many cases at once. On any given day, your lawyer may have 30 or 40 different clients, with each case in a different stage of legal process. Some cases “sit” for six to eight weeks or longer, while others move quickly through the courts. When it’s your turn, he will give your case his full attention.
- Your lawyer will meet with you several times in the law office prior to the trial. Show up on time for appointments. It’s always better to arrive early than be late. Do not “drop by” the law office without phoning first to request an appointment.
- Communication is a two-way street. The law office will contact you by telephone or mail to provide updates as needed. As a general rule, the client will receive a paper copy of every pleading, motion, or letter to a third party. Those documents are sent by the law office to keep the client informed.
- It is not necessary to speak to the lawyer about your next court date or whether or not the opposing counsel has responded to a motion or a pleading. The law office manager can usually provide most of the information you need concerning your next court date or information contained in your file. If you have a question about your case, please contact the law office manager.
- Promptly read any letter your lawyer sends to you. The lawyer is writing you to give you specific information about your case. Keep all letters and court notices together in a file.
- Write down your questions in advance so that you may discuss them with your lawyer at your appointments.
- Be sure to keep up with your court schedule date(s). Make plans ahead of time to take off from work. If you will need transportation, make plans for that, too.
- When attending court, your appearance is important! Wear your most businesslike clothes and conduct yourself in a serious, respectful manner.
- Keep an open line of communication with your attorney.
- Keep your attorney informed. If you receive any mail or phone calls regarding your case from any party other than the law office, contact your attorney’s office immediately.
- Keep your cell phone turned on (or your residential phone connected) and ready to receive telephone calls. Do not change your mail address without notifying the law office.
- Do not call the office simply to discuss the status of your case . Your lawyer’s time is very limited and he cannot be expected to stop what he is doing to discuss the status of your case. Office consultations are always preferred over telephone conversations. Since your case is serious, it requires the undivided attention of your attorney. Schedule an office meeting rather than simply calling the office to discuss your case. Please coordinate your requested office meeting with the office manager.