What to Expect from a Lawyer

It is important that you understand from the outset what you should and should not expect from your lawyer. This is something to discuss at the outset and throughout the course of your client-lawyer relationship. It is also valuable to know ahead of time what types of requests will be made of you as a client.

Here are some things to expect from a lawyer:

  • Expect an initial meeting, and perhaps a follow-up meeting, where the lawyer will give you an assessment of the legal issue, draw some initial conclusions, and identify possible areas of additional research or courses of action.
  • Expect to sign a representation agreement.
  • Expect to answer questions and provide documents to your lawyer.
  • Expect follow-up questions and requests for more documents.
  • Don’t expect instant answers. A good lawyer will rarely give an instant response. Rather, when faced with a legal question, a lawyer will take the time to think carefully about the question and analyze and research the question as necessary. A carefully crafted and thorough answer is ultimately to your benefit.
  • Don’t expect magic or a guaranteed outcome. Lawyers will do their best, but they cannot fix every problem and they face a lot of uncertainty. Also, while a lawyer is required to be your zealous advocate, they are bound by ethical rules. They cannot, for example, file a meritless lawsuit for the purpose of harassing your business enemy.
  • Expect your lawyer to help you: 1) add value to your business; and 2) be smart about identifying likely risks and protecting you from those risks.