If you are charged with a criminal offense, you might feel like the court situation is out of your control once you hire an attorney. It’s true that your lawyer will handle the bulk of the case, but in order to avoid surprises and improve your chances of a favorable outcome, you’ll need to know how to effectively communicate with your lawyer.
Effective communication with your legal counsel is more than just picking up the phone when they call (but that is a good start!). It all revolves around coming to an agreement and holding up your end of the bargain. We explain more about this process in today’s blog.
How To Communicate With Your Lawyer
Effective communication between lawyer and client begins the moment you walk in the door for your initial consultation. That’s where the framework for your communication plan will begin. During this meeting, some points of communication you’ll want to touch on include:
- How To Contact – If we need to get a hold of you, where should we try first? Should we give you a call at this number, or is it easier for you to respond to text messages?
- When To Contact – When is the best time to reach you? Should we call you before work, or after you’re done? And what is the best method for contacting you in the event of a time-sensitive situation?
- How Often – We also work with our clients to establish a system for how often we’ll reach out with updates. Some clients want a daily or bi-weekly update, while others only want a call when something changes. Talk with your lawyer about how often you’ll be contacted in regards to your case, and don’t overlook how this could impact your fees. If a lawyer is regularly prepping for your calls, that’s going to be billable time, so know that it may be more costly to get frequent case updates.
- Your Expectations – Outside of the when and how of physically communicating with you, it’s also important that your conversations are substantive in nature. Talk about your goals in regards to the case and what you hope to avoid. If your ultimate goal is avoiding jail or keeping your driver’s license, bring this up to your attorney. They may be able to work out a deal that sees you plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to achieve these goals. Even if a plea is off the table, talking about your case goals helps us in our quest to reach a satisfactory conclusion to your case.
- Stay Organized – If you’re going to call your lawyer or they are expecting some information from you, do your best to be organized and have all the necessary information in front of you. Again, you may be billed for time spent on your case, so if you’re constantly tracking down names and dates or calling back to provide more information, it can lead to a higher bill and slow down your case. This can also be said for email or text communications. Don’t overshare unnecessary details. If your lawyer wants a copy of your medical report, send along the PDF, don’t share two paragraphs on your experience at the clinic if it’s not relevant to your case.
- Be Truthful – Finally, one of the best pieces of advice we can give is to be honest with your lawyer. We’re not here to judge you, we’re here to defend you, and we can’t do that effectively if we end up surprised in court because you lied. We won’t use this information against you, in fact, knowing the potential holes in your case only makes it easier to build a strong case. Be truthful with your lawyer, and we’ll promise to do the same.
For more information or for help with your criminal case, reach out to Brett and the team at Appelman & Lloyd today.