A Client's Responsibilities

As in any successful relationship, a good lawyer/client relationship involves cooperation on both sides.  As a client, you have certain responsibilities to enable us to provide you with the best possible legal help.  Those responsibilities include:

  • Notifying us of changes
  • Asking for clarification
  • Being realistic
  • Paying fees

Being honest.  Be honest in telling us all the facts. Remind yourself of important points or questions by writing them down before talking with us.

Notifying us of changes. Tell us promptly about any changes or new information you learn that may affect your case.  This responsibility is a broad one and covers everything from a change of your address or telephone number to letting us know of new information you have learned or if you are not pleased with our work.

Asking for clarification.  If you have any questions or are confused about something in your case, ask us for an explanation. This may go a long way toward putting your mind at ease–and it will also help us do a better job of handling your case.

Being realistic.  We can only handle your legal affairs.  We may need the help of another professional–banker, family counselor, accountant, or psychologist, for example–for problems which have no “legal” solution.  After you have hired us, do not forget about trust. You should trust our judgment.  Our judgments are based on experience and training.  Also keep in mind that most legal matters cannot be resolved overnight.  You must give the system time to work.

Paying fees.  A client has the duty to promptly pay fair and reasonable fees for the legal services.  In fact, if a client fails to pay us, we have the right to stop working on the case.

Adapted from: American Bar Association, Family Legal Guide (1994) page 19.