You Are Your Best Advocate
Your attorney can only help you to the extent you help yourself. Lawyers are not mind readers, so if you have questions or concerns, or if you have specific goals, you need to tell your attorney. If you don’t, then your attorney has no reason to know what you’re thinking. Sometimes your attorney will tell you about something, like contract terms, and they won't be what you wanted. It is your responsibility to voice to your attorney what you think is wrong and to be clear about what you want to accomplish. Sometimes your attorneys need to adjust, but sometimes there’s a misunderstanding, and your attorney can explain away your concerns.
The key to a successful experience with any attorney is for the client to be clear about their problems and goals. While it is important to be realistic, your attorney should be able to manage your expectations to something that they help you achieve if you are a bit overambition. It still never hurts to ask! Whether or not your goals are realistic objectively, it is still good to tell your attorney what you want to accomplish because you never know what your attorney can do for you. Maybe your attorney can’t get quite where you want to go, but they will get much closer than if you don’t advocate for yourself. Also, sometimes your attorney may not think something is possible but will end up getting it done for you because you made it know that you wanted them to try. There are many paths to the same destination in law and many of us can get creative when we know our client has a goal in mind.
While it is important to advocate for yourself, you have to also be reasonable and trust your attorney when they manage your expectations. You should have goals and advocate for yourself, but you should also trust the attorney to whom you are probably paying a lot of money. Good attorneys have the experience and foresight to make sure that you are prepared for the outcome that they think is likely, but, even when they manage your expectations, they balance being reasonable with trying to accomplish what their clients want. Some attorneys can be incredibly creative to get clients where they want to go, but that starts with clients advocating for themselves, so do not be afraid to speak up. However, if your attorney is cautious, it is important to seriously consider the insight they give you. That being said, don’t be afraid to ask questions, provide additional information, or correct anything you feel your attorney may be misunderstanding. Your attorney’s advice is as good as the information upon which it is based.
Ultimately, it is important to have a goal in mind and make sure that your attorney understands what you want to accomplish and has as much information as possible. You have to be flexible and give some grace to your attorney to figure out how they can get you to your end goal or as close as possible. The attorney-client relationship is a collaboration, so do not be afraid to speak up and tell your attorney what your goals are.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that this article is for purely educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or tax advice.