Working with a Lawyer
- Your lawyer needs all the information from you to be able to help you.
- If you don’t understand ask questions.
- Your lawyer will give you advice but you are the one who has to decide what to do.
It is very important for you and your lawyer to understand each other. Tell your lawyer if there is something you don't understand. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If you have trouble understanding or speaking English, consider getting a friend or family member to come with you. Be clear with your lawyer about what you want to see happen. Remember your lawyer is working for you.
Tell your lawyer everything from the beginning, even if you think it makes you look bad. A lawyer works best for you when they have all the information. Lawyers cannot tell anyone, including the court, anything you say to them when you are their client. Once a lawyer has taken your case they cannot quit without a good reason. Your lawyer must give you reasonable notice if they are going to quit.
Your lawyer must keep you informed as your case progresses. Lawyers should:
- respond to your telephone calls
- respond to others within a reasonable time
- tell you about proposals of settlement and explain them
- not mislead you in order to cover up negligence or mistakes
- make a prompt report when the work is finished
Negotiations and court cases can take a long time. If you do not hear from your lawyer they may be waiting for something to happen before they call you. When other people are involved, your lawyer doesn't have as much control over delays. Sometimes a delay may be to your benefit.
If you have concerns, discuss them with your lawyer. You have the right to question your lawyer's actions so that you understand what's going on. Your lawyer should take instructions from you and look out for your interests. However, lawyers cannot do anything that is considered unethical.
Even if your lawyer does everything possible for you, you may not get the result you wanted. The actions of the other party or the court will affect the outcome. If you are not satisfied with your lawyer you may decide to go to another lawyer. However, you must pay what is owed for work already done. Once an account is paid, you or your new lawyer can get your file from the first lawyer.
Starting over with a new lawyer can be costly and time consuming. Before changing lawyers, you may want to try to find a way to keep working with your lawyer. Discuss your concerns with your lawyer. Be sure that you understand what is going on and why. Once you understand the situation clearly you may be satisfied.
If you feel that your lawyer has not met the standards for the profession you can make a complaint to the Law Society of Saskatchewan. See Complaints about Lawyers for more information.
Published on October 21, 2016.