Three Ways to Help Your Attorney Get the Results You Want

August 22, 2012 - by Eric Anderson

There's a famous scene in the movie "Jerry Maguire" where Tom Cruise's character is pleading with Cuba Gooding Jr.'s character, saying, "Help me help you!"  While not as dramatic in the law (most of the time), this quote is very applicable to the attorney-client relationship.  In the family law context, much of an attorney's effectiveness comes from the interaction between the attorney and the client.  No results are guaranteed in the law, but here are several ways to help your attorney get the results you seek.

Honesty.  Most of the information an attorney is working with comes directly from the client.  Therefore, it is imperative that a client be open and honest with their attorney.  Communication between an attorney and client is confidential and protected by attorney-client privilege.  An attorney needs to know everything (the good and the bad) relevant to your case.  Don't sugar coat the truth because the truth will come out eventually and you want to be able to minimize damaging information early in the process.  You don't want unexpected information to come up at the wrong time and damage your case and your credibility.  

Communication.  Keep the lines of communication open and keep your contact information updated.  Return calls and emails promptly.  Your attorney should do the same.  Many cases drag on and on because of a lack of communication.  Check and see if your attorney has a web portal that clients can use to send secure messages, upload/download documents, and check calendars.  The ability to share information quickly helps resolve legal matters more efficiently.  

Documentation.  It's very important that you provide complete documentation requested by your attorney, i.e. financial information, real estate information, school records, etc.  Most family law attorneys have detailed intake forms that cover most of the needed information and supporting documents.  Your attorney needs a complete picture of the situation in order to provide appropriate advice and recommendations.  Advice given on only partial information may result in unintended consequences.    

These are just a few of the ways you can help your attorney, but they will certainly go a long way towards achieving the results you seek.  

Disclaimer: No case or client-specific information shall be discussed on this website. The content provided is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about divorce or custody in Minnesota , please seek the advice of an attorney.