After you hire an attorney, your work is not done. You can do a lot to help (or hurt) your case. Since you usually get one shot at winning a claim, here are 10 tips to make the most of your legal challenge:
#1 Be candid. Your attorney can help you more if she knows the WHOLE story, not just the good part or your side of things.
#2 Be truthful. Lies can easily be exposed. Your case will be much stronger when you are honest.
#3 Be responsive. If your lawyer asks you a question, answer it fully and directly. Follow directions from your lawyer.
#4 Be accessible. Your attorney may need to talk with you without delay, so be available and return calls promptly.
#5 Be discreet. Don’t discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer or her staff. While some information may be disclosed, it can be difficult to know the difference. So it’s best not to talk about any of it.
#6 Be reasonable. While you may have the best case in the world, sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and get on with your life. The court system is designed to solve problems, whether it’s through settlement or litigation. It is not the place to enact vengeance.
#7 Be understanding. Your lawyer has other clients and maybe a personal life. Don’t expect her to drop everything to respond to your every whim.
#8 Be patient. The legal process takes much longer than the hour shown on T.V. Some cases can take years. So don’t expect immediate results.
#9 Be kind. Treat your lawyer, her staff, and the opposing counsel with respect and consideration. They may be more reasonable when dealing with you and your claim.
#10 Be realistic. The big verdict/windfall cases get a lot of publicity, but they are rare. Even with large awards, they must first be used to pay court costs, attorney’s fees, expert witness bills, deposition costs, etc.
Winning a case takes much more than just hiring a lawyer. It’s a team effort. Follow these and other sound practices to help your team win.
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