Want the Best Legal Advice?  Here’s Your Role

By: R. Kurtz “Kurt” Holloway

When you talk to a lawyer do you expect good legal advice?  If good legal advice is all you expect, that is the most you will get. I think people should expect and receive the BEST legal advice. Getting the best legal advice starts with choosing a lawyer who thinks there is a difference between good advice and the best advice for each client.  In a previous article for the Tri-County Active Adult Center newsletter published October 2015, I offered suggestions for finding the right lawyer for your legal needs. That article titled, Be Picky About Picking a Lawyer, can be found on my law firm’s website.

Once you choose a lawyer, getting the best advice can be achieved if you and your lawyer work to have a trusting relationship and effective communication. This article deals with your role as the client. Here is what you, the client, need to do:

Present Facts Fully and Honestly. Be prepared with the facts about your situation. If the facts have evolved over time, then organize your facts in chronological order. Attorneys are trained to treat conversations as information gathering missions.  The same legal principles applied to different facts will often produce different results – different winners and losers. So, the specific facts of your situation drive your attorney’s thinking about a solution. Tell the facts fully and honestly.

Explain Your Expectations. Take the time to decide in advance just what your ultimate goal is. Tell your lawyer what type of help or result you want.

Be Sure You Understand.  If you are unsure about anything your lawyer has told you, ask questions. Lawyers sometimes assume their clients know certain things so they fail to explain things in a way that meets a particular client’s needs. Even lawyers do not always understand what another lawyer is trying to say because some lawyers have poor communication skills. The law can be complex, with many variables. Be sure you understand what the lawyer is telling you.

Ask About Fees. Ask what and how the lawyer charges for his services. And make sure he puts it in writing. You are entitled to a have a written agreement explaining how your lawyer will charge you after the initial conference and before work is started.

A lawyer’s role in assuring he gives his client the best legal advice starts with fully understanding his client’s situation. He must then give a clear explanation of how the law applies to the client’s specific facts. He should present the information using different methods, verbally, in writing, even illustrations. He should encourage questions from the client or ask the client questions to assure that the client completely understands the advice. Again, effective communication is a key. Read my full explanation of the lawyer role in my article Don’t Settle For Good Legal Advice on our website.

Kurt Holloway

About the author
Kurt Holloway

R. Kurtz “Kurt" Holloway was admitted to practice in 1977 in Pennsylvania and later in the Eastern District Federal Court of Pennsylvania. Mr. Holloway’s areas of concentration are Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Elder and Disability Planning, Real Estate Law, Zoning and Land Development, Business Law and Municipal Law.

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