Attorney Client Communication – Lost in Translation?

Divorce is universally understood, but sometimes things between attorneys and clients get lost in translation.   There are some universal symbols that we all understand, right?  The ‘thumbs-up’ symbol was used long before Facebook.    The ‘peace sign’ is another symbol that everybody recognizes.  And, who can deny that the middle finger salute has been used for decades. Great attorney client communication is critical for a good divorce.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.  Communication between the lawyer and the client gets muddled and stops altogether.  That is never a good thing.  Here are some tips to avoid that:

1-Read everything your attorney sends you.  Read the emails. Read the documents your attorney has created for your case.  Read the copies of correspondence between your lawyer and the other lawyer in your case.  Stay up to date on what your lawyer and her staff have sent you.

2-Ask questions.  After you have read what your lawyer’s office sent you.  Make a list of all your questions.  Then, take a little bit of time to think it over.  Go back to your list to add anything other questions you may have.  Then, get your questions to your lawyer’s office by whatever way you communicate with your lawyer.  You won’t get your questions answered until you ask them.

3-Don’t sign anything until you read and ask questions.  Start at Number 1 in this list – Read Everything.  Go to Number 2 – Ask your questions.  Then, you can start to think about signing or agreeing to a document and not before that.

4-Keep your attorney updated.  Remember that your attorney is there to complete your case.  Your lawyer isn’t reading Facebook to check out your latest status – which you shouldn’t be posting anyway, see this post.  If something changes in your case, tell your lawyer’s office.  Attorney client communication is what keeps your lawyer in the loop on the issues in your case.

5-Do what you lawyer asks you to do.  Respond to emails.  Return phone calls.  Send an update if you are waiting for something to happen in your case.  Your lawyer needs to have updated information in order to work for you on your behalf in your case.  Ignoring your lawyer’s office is always a bad choice.

Your lawyer is working with you as well as for you.  Keeping the attorney client communication channels open can be tough, but worth it.

Jill O’Connell

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