Clients often fail to communicate all of the relevant facts of their case to their attorney or even more commonly they don’t keep their attorney up to date on any new factual developments during the course of their case. It is important for clients to keep in mind that, as a general rule, all communications with your attorney (by both client and lawyer) are privileged. That is also true for your attorney’s support staff (legal assistants, law clerks, and all employees of the attorney). If your attorney is unavailable you should speak with a legal assistant or another attorney at the firm to make sure all the relevant information is being considered. That means that what is said between you and your attorney is confidential and the opposing party cannot find out what has been said. Therefore, it is almost always a good idea for a client to be forthcoming with any information that may have an impact on their case. Yes, that even includes the bad stuff.
It is understandable that a client may be reluctant to share embarrassing facts. Especially the “bad stuff” that you think may weaken your case, but it is important for your attorney to know about them. Remember, the opposing party and their attorneys may already know about these facts or at the very least they will be looking for them. So, you want your attorney to be prepared to respond to any facts that may weaken your case and to be able to conduct a legal analysis of whether it is even true that the facts you don’t want to share will have a negative impact.
Another common problem is when a client fails to tell his or her attorney that something has changed or come up in their case. You don’t want to make decisions that could change the outcome of your case without consulting your attorney. Giving your attorney a quick call to check whether something could impact your case is a lot easier than not checking and finding out down the road that you have done something detrimental to your case. Remember, your attorney is there to help you navigate your legal problem. The lawyer can’t tell you the legal implications of your actions unless you ask. So always try to err on the side of over sharing information related to your case rather than under sharing. The more information your attorney has about your case, the more likely he or she will be able to help you achieve the most favorable outcome possible.
By: Jacob Allen