Everyone who has ever found themselves in need of a personal injury lawyer has had a variety of expectations of that lawyer. Most people would agree that their lawyer should return their calls promptly and share significant information about their case. But one man’s prompt is another man’s late. How can the lawyer and the client make sure they agree with each other’s expectations?
As it turns out, each state has its own rules of how an attorney should behave. This is based on ethics, state laws, and other regulations of the state bar. These are generally similar in many states with some exceptions or different details. Reviewing the rules of professional conduct in your state can help you understand what to expect from your lawyer.
What Clients Can Expect of Their Lawyer in Louisiana
Because most people have never faced a personal injury or the resulting legal case before, they are not sure what services an attorney provides, how an attorney can help with the case, or how they can afford to pay an attorney. Rule 1.4 (a) of the Louisiana Rules of Professional Conduct guides us to what clients should expect of their lawyer:
- A lawyer shall promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance that significantly affects their case.
- A lawyer shall reasonably consult with the client about how the client’s objectives will be accomplished.
- A lawyer shall promptly comply with reasonable requests for information.
- A lawyer shall tell the client if there is any legal limitation on the lawyer’s ability to meet the client’s objectives.
In other words, your lawyer should let you know what’s going on with your case; your lawyer should tell you his case plan; your lawyer should return your calls and give you periodic updates of his progress; and if there are any rules or laws that prevent your lawyer from being able to achieve your goals, the lawyer must tell you.
In general, you can expect your attorney to direct your legal case. They will offer advice and develop a plan with you to pursue compensation. They should represent your best interests and handle all necessary actions based on the decisions you make for your case. In the end, they will take care of your case so you can focus on healing and getting back to your everyday life.
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What Is the Client’s Role in Their Case?
This goes both ways. Rule 1.4(b) goes on to say that the lawyer shall provide the client with the information the client needs to participate in their own representation. So, your lawyer needs you to be active in your case.
Let your lawyer know your goals and expectations so that your lawyer can properly advise and represent you. Be honest with your lawyer and answer all of their questions (even if you think they are irrelevant to your case). You will be paying good money for your lawyer’s expertise, so listen to his advice!
It is crucial for you to understand that you make the decisions in your case. Your attorney will provide all the information you need and offer you advice, but ultimately you must decide how your case will move forward and whether you will accept a settlement offer.
Communication Is Key in the Attorney-Client Relationship
You must choose a lawyer that you feel comfortable with and who you can talk with to handle your claim. If you do not take the steps necessary to choose an attorney who fits your goals and listens to your needs, you will not be happy with them as your case moves forward through the claims process. To ensure you choose the right lawyer, schedule a free consultation, and ask the attorney:
- How often can I expect case updates?
- Will I hear from you or a legal assistant or other office staff?
- Will I have a way to contact you directly?
- How can I reach someone when I have questions or concerns?
- How would you approach my claim?
- What do you think are the possible outcomes of my case?
These questions will help you gauge how the lawyer defines “promptly” and how they communicate with clients. Even if the attorney is not available, they should have someone knowledgeable about your case who can address any concerns you have as soon as possible.
As an attorney for a New Orleans personal injury law firm, I can tell you that communication is the key to the lawyer-client relationship. Ask your lawyer how he plans to meet the requirements of Rule 1.4, and, if you have a different plan in mind, speak up! This is your case, and you deserve to be satisfied!
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Learn More in a Free Case Review From Morris Bart, LLC
The Morris Bart law firm offers free consultations. We will discuss your case with you today for free. We have attorneys across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Our lawyers strive to go above and beyond the requirements in Rule 1.4 in every client interaction. We can explain our services, how our firm works, our fees, and assess your legal options based on the facts of your case.
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