Developing a productive working relationship with your business lawyer can have a positive impact on your case. It can also help ease the stress that often accompanies business litigation.
As with any relationship, communication is essential. From the outset, you and your attorney should be on the same page regarding the cost and scope of the legal representation. It is also important to voice your expectations and preferences. Even something as simple as “I prefer to correspond via email,” or “Please only contact me on the weekend if it’s an emergency” can help establish a positive relationship.
Since time is often of the essence, it is also essential to respond quickly to any questions or requests from your attorney. You should also expect to receive regular updates regarding the status of your case.
Below are several other tips for helping your attorney win your business case:
(1) Provide the Context for the Suit
While your lawyer is an expert in the law, you know what happened factually. It is extremely helpful to create a written summary of the facts and circumstances that gave rise to the lawsuit. In many cases, a brief timeline of key dates is often very helpful. It is imperative to be accurate and thorough because your attorney will formulate your claims and defenses based on the information that you provide.
(2) Always Be Forthcoming
Don't tell your attorney what you think he or she wants to hear, or what you think will help your case. As they say, honesty is always the best policy. For your attorney to succeed at trial, there shouldn’t be any surprises. Whether the information is good or bad, it is always best to err on the side of disclosure. If the information is harmful to your case, being up front at the outset will give your attorney the time needed to minimize the impact of harmful facts to your case.
(3) Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Your lawyer should explain key legal arguments in terms that you can understand. He or she should also let you know what to expect during legal proceedings, such as depositions and motion hearings. If you are unsure of a procedural strategy or legal position that is relevant to your case, it is always best to discuss your concerns with your attorney. Being prepared and confident before testifying at a deposition or trial can often go a long way.
(4) Gather and Organize All Relevant Information
Promptly gathering all relevant information and providing it to your attorney in an organized manner can give your attorney a jump on the case. That includes not only paper and electronic documents but also email and text messages. Being able to review the information easily and quickly not only helps your lawyer analyze the evidence you have to support your claims, but will also help avoid any surprises down the road.
(5) Be Patient
Business litigation is a marathon, not a sprint. While it may sometimes seem like the case is not progressing, your lawyer is likely working diligently behind the scenes. Due to overburdened court systems, it can also take a long time to schedule courts hearings and trials.