How to Communicate Effectively with Your Attorney

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BY KEVIN L. COLLINS, P.C.

The goal of all legal counsel is to provide his or her client with exceptional guidance through any legal situation. To obtain this goal, your attorney should be an expert in the field they are practicing. There are other factors for you and your attorney to obtain advocacy to win your legal battle. One of the oldest and most recognized factors of client-attorney privilege is confidential communication. To obtain the most effective goal of your legal battle, there should be open communication between the client and their attorney.  An attorney and their client should be able to openly communication with honesty, ease, and safety. This is made possible because of attorney-client privilege. Having confidential, open communication with your attorney will allow them to better represent you and give effective and persuading arguments on your behalf. However, the privilege cannot be upheld in certain cases such as tax fraud for example, where full disclosure takes precedence.

Having open communication requires effective communication skills from both the client and the attorney. There is a difference between listening, hearing, and speaking to someone. Effective skills will allow for effective communication that can make a difference between winning your pending lawsuit or not. Having good communication is especially important for an attorney because they have to communicate with their clients, staff, partners, a judge, and sometimes a jury. There are certain factors in achieving effective communication.  One of the most important factors, if not the most important, is verbal communication. There should be face to face meetings to discuss the pending lawsuit and upcoming trial. Both the client and attorney should not rely on communication through e-mails, faxes, or telephone conferencing. E-mails can be misconstrued and sometimes do not relay the importance or urgency of a message. Verbal communication can be balanced with face to face meetings and telephone conversations.
Effective communication also requires listening, and not just hearing. You should pay attention when someone is speaking and reaffirm what they are saying by summarizing what they said. Doing this will ensure that both the attorney and client are on the same page and understand the same message. Sometimes what you hear is not what someone is saying or how they feel. Listening to your client will make them more able to trust you and feel confident in you. When your attorney is talking be sure to listen and not interrupt when they are giving legal advice that is in your best interest.  Having an open mind and asking a lot of questions are also important. Asking questions allows for more information gathering which is crucial during a lawsuit. The more information the attorney have will allow them to effectively advocate legal rights for their clients. As a client, you should be prepared when you meet with your attorney. Have your notes and questions written up before you go to a meeting. Likewise, if you have questions during a meeting be sure to ask them or write them down to be addressed at a later time.
And remember to ask questions with efficiency. Waiting to ask your attorney an important question can make a huge difference in your case.

Follow these basic guidelines to ensure that you and your legal counsel are on the same page with all issues, and can present the most concrete case to the judge or jury.

Kevin Collins is a San Antonio Criminal Defense Lawyer, former Prosecutor, and is Board Certified in Criminal Law and Juvenile Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and was also selected to Texas Monthly’s Texas Super Lawyers in 2009 and 2010. For more information please visit www.kevincollinslaw.com.

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