Honesty is a key component of a successful attorney-client relationship. Your attorney should be candid with you – be it about legal fees, your chance of success, or any other aspect of the relationship – and you should be candid with your attorney.

How important is being candid with your attorney? It is as important as telling your doctor or dentist where it hurts. Clients sometimes make the mistake of not telling their attorneys what they should, and it can cost them.

Whether your attorney is representing you for a traffic ticket, in a child custody matter, or in a professional licensure matter, your attorney needs complete disclosure from you. Not only will this help your attorney, but being honest and up front with your legal counsel will help you get the most out of your legal fees.

Help your lawyer make her deadlines. If your attorney requests certain documents or information from you, do not resist producing these items. Investigate the requests, and promptly produce all requested information.

Let your lawyer decide what is relevant. If something may even arguably be relevant to the matter at hand, make your attorney aware of it. Do not be the filter; let your attorney decide what is and is not relevant.

Be available for your lawyer. Do not make your attorney work harder – and charge you more – in order to elicit information.

Ask questions. You and your attorney can be more comfortable if your concerns are addressed before court. If you do not understand something, or if you have a concern, just ask your lawyer.

Clients should expect a high degree of professionalism from their attorney; but for a lawyer to provide you the representation you are looking for – the representation you deserve – they need full disclosure from you. Your lawyer needs to know the facts from you – even if those facts may seem to hurt your argument or you find them embarrassing.

Your trip through the legal system shouldn’t mean giving up control; but it means trusting your attorney to be your steering wheel, not just your spare tire.

Diana (Farr) Carter – Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C.