How to be a good client to your solicitor
When a situation arises where you require legal advice the natural and reasonable response is to go straight to your solicitor and rely on the solicitor to identify the relevant facts and issues. However a little foresight into how to approach instructing your solicitor can speed things up, make your solicitor’s life easier and reduce your costs.
Ensure you have all documents filed and organised
In order to provide you with advice your solicitor needs a clear understanding of the circumstances of your case. You will save your solicitor considerable time (and yourself expense) if you:
- Provide your solicitor with all relevant documents
- Arrange communication by addressee and in chronological order
Often significant time and expense is incurred by your solicitor in organising documents and checking there are no documents missing. The accuracy of advice is reliant on being aware of all relevant information. Whilst your solicitor will still check the documents you provide less time will be required to complete this.
Prepare a summary of the circumstances of the dispute
Your solicitor will need to discuss your case with you to ensure that he has a full understanding of the position prior to providing advice. However if you can provide a summary before you have your first meeting with your solicitor he will have a detailed understanding of the issue you want him to address and will be able to use the time he spends with you to best effect.
This also has the benefit of helping you organise your thoughts and reminds you of all the circumstances of your case. When a client attends their solicitor to discuss a legal problem it can be difficult remain calm and logical and as a result, often not all relevant facts are communicated or not in a logical order.
Prepare a chronology
A central requirement for the understanding of a case is having all information in a chronological order. This indicates how a dispute has arisen and how different actions and responses have influenced the development of a situation.
According to Charles from Check My LegalFees “This is also important where time limits apply to making or responding to an issue or issuing a claim to ensure limitation is not breached and therefore your claim being statute barred”.
Be clear and pragmatic about your objectives
In some situations your objective may be very clear but in others there may be a number of potential outcomes. Your solicitor will advise you what he considers the optimum result.
However time and cost will be saved if you are clear from the outset what you want to achieve.
Listen to your solicitor’s advice
Your solicitor will advise you what he considers the best outcome in your particular circumstances. However in many disputes it can be difficult to keep emotion out of your thought process.
A good solicitor should focus on getting you the best result when the cost, time and stress are taken into account.
Your solicitor will in many cases be willing to take actions you insist on where these are not the best course of action (after making clear the positives and negatives). However insisting that your solicitors take a particular course of action or refuse to concede on parts of a case can cause significant additional costs to be incurred.
A solicitor is constantly trying to balance the need to represent the totality of your interests to best effect, with the need to focus on strong arguments which will most likely be successful.
Agree a plan with your solicitor
Following advice being received from your solicitor agree a detailed plan of what the next steps will be. This ensures that there is clear agreement as to the next steps to take.