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Taking an active role may help your legal situation

When you need a lawyer, it's probably because you are already in a stressful situation. You certainly don't need your relationship with your attorney to add to that stress. An attorney is there to be your advisor and advocate, so it is important that you understand each other.

Whether you are facing criminal charges, going through a divorce or disputing a business contract, you want someone who will keep your best interests at the front of every decision. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and it can be frustrating to discover that your case may be floundering because of some action or inaction on your attorney's part.

I hired a lawyer. Now what?

If you don't deal with lawyers every day, you may not know what to expect or what your attorney expects from you. To facilitate your relationship with your lawyer, there are some steps you can take to ensure that you do not hinder your counselor in his or her duties.

Communication is key to the trust between an attorney and client. Sometimes you may have information about your situation that you may not think is relevant. However, that small detail may have legal consequences that your attorney will need to consider when building your case. Passing along as many details as you can, and keeping copies of any documents for your own records, will help your lawyer protect your rights. Other ways you can assist your attorney include:

  • Making sure your lawyer knows your schedule, especially if you will be out of town
  • Asking questions when you don't understand the process or legal terminology
  • Telling the truth even if the details are embarrassing or seem irrelevant
  • Doing what your lawyer asks you to do, including obtaining documents, authorizing access to information and showing up for appointments

Your participation in your own case will help your attorney better prepare to represent you in court or during negotiations.

Can I sue if I lose my case?

Not everyone wins. There is certainly that possibility that your case was not strong enough or the evidence was overwhelmingly against you. Your attorney may have done his or her best with the information and circumstances, and the Arizona court still rendered a judgement against you. This does not necessarily mean your attorney was incompetent or negligent.

However, if you feel that your lawyer acted improperly, lied to you, breached the contract you made or failed to provide the highest quality representation, and the results cost you financially or in other ways, you may wish to investigate the possibility of professional malpractice. An attorney with experience in such matters can examine your case and guide you in the appropriate steps to take.

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Kenneth E. Chase, PC  Law Offices

5725 N. Scottsdale Rd.
Suite 190
Scottsdale, AZ 85250

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