How can retaining an attorney benefit me?

Basically, legal advice is like medicine: You can take some to cure problems and some to prevent them. You need legal advice to cure problems if you are accused of committing a crime, if you are being sued or if you want to sue someone. A lawyer also can help you if you want to adopt a child, plan for your asset succession, navigate the probate process and for many other matters. Sometimes, you can add to your problems by failing to call a lawyer immediately. Preventive legal advice often can save you time, trouble and money by stopping problems from getting started. Lawyers can help you understand your rights and solve problems.

How long is my case going to take?

Regardless of how fast an attorney may wish to proceed with a case, its movement through the court system depends on many uncontrollable factors, among them: the opposing side’s willingness to cooperate or to provide documents; the availability of the assigned judge’s or magistrate’s schedule or docket; and motions made by your attorney and the opposing side and how quickly a decision is made on these motions.

How can I best assist my attorney with my case?

Be an active participant in your case. Review all documents, letters or inquiries that you receive from your attorney and respond to them timely. If you disagree with or have questions concerning your attorney’s advice, express them to your attorney immediately so that you can work together as a team to reach an acceptable resolution of your case.

Should I tell my attorney the truth about details of my case that may make me look less favorable?

Inevitably, the attorney is going to learn these details whether you tell him or her or not (i.e. through the other side or witnesses to the case). It is always better for your attorney to know all aspects of the case (strengths and weaknesses) ahead of time, so that your attorney has a better ability to defend against the weaknesses and turn them into positives. However, an attorney can never permit a client to tell a lie to the Court that the attorney knows is a lie. Therefore, if you tell your attorney a “story” and later desire to change that “story” and testify to that changed “story” in Court, your attorney will not be able to let you tell that changed “story” or lie to the Court.