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Choosing and Working with a Lawyer

Updated: May 28, 2019

What will my lawyer need to know from me?

Once you choose a lawyer, take care to explain to the lawyer everything that you think is relevant about your case. Here are some things that you might want to bring up in your first couple of conversations with your lawyer:

  • Explain what your concerns are about the case;
  • Tell him/her what your goals are;
  • Tell him/her what you think the other party’s goals will be or what s/he may say about you, regardless of if those things may be true or made up. Even if you think that this information would be hurtful to your case, your attorney should be aware of everything. Having surprise evidence come up during a hearing or a trial that your attorney was not prepared for can be very damaging to your case;
  • Ask about his/her strategy for how to accomplish your goals;
  • Ask what things you can do to better prepare your case, including what documents you may be able to show the attorney, what witness testimony may be helpful, etc.; and
  • Ask the attorney what else s/he needs to know from you and be open and honest with your attorney in answering whatever questions s/he asks. Your attorney may have to ask difficult questions that will be hard for you to answer but remember that your conversations with your attorney are confidential (with limited exceptions).

If you feel you are having trouble explaining things to your lawyer, write down what you want to say beforehand. Sometimes it is helpful to write things down in a bullet point list, keeping each bullet point to two lines. When you write things down in this way, it often helps you get your thoughts straight and focus on the most important parts. It could also help the lawyer follow what you are trying to explain.