5 Ways Your Lawyer is Special!

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  • July 9, 2015
  1. Your choice: You have the right to select your own attorney, in most circumstances. If you are from a small town or using a community funded legal services program, it is likely that there will be a smaller circle of available qualified lawyers from which to make your selection. You may reject an attorney chosen for you from the opposing lawyer.
  1. Confidentiality: From the first discussion of your circumstances with a lawyer, you may be considered, in some legal jurisdictions, as commencing a “solicitor-client relationship”. Confidentiality is a broad concept. It stretches from the lawyer being bound not to confirm or deny representing you to a stranger who calls making an inquiry to certain types of communications between you. The terms of the retainer agreement will provide how you proceed and in what forum your lawyer will represent you. Confidentiality may be lost including disclosure of personal information if an assessment of your lawyer’s conduct is undertaken.
  1. Your best interests: Your lawyer acts in your best interests. They do not act for the other spouse or partner or for both of you together except in very narrow circumstances such as the sale of your jointly owned house to third parties. Their own personal interests do not enter into how they represent you in litigation, in negotiation, or any other forum. Don’t mistake watching your counsel’s politeness or the careful asking of questions of your spouse or partner as indicative of your lawyer deciding to switch sides. If you feel that your attorney is not acting to promote your needs and desires, ask questions.
  1. No Interference: A client’s right to seek advice from his or her lawyer is a coveted right. Trying to negotiate without the other party having an opportunity, or many opportunities if needed, to understand his rights and obligations or a complex legal issue from their own lawyer will not be tolerated.
  1. Independent legal advice– This is a cornerstone of securing a settlement: each client will meet privately with their own lawyer to carefully and systematically review each clause of a proposed settlement or contract. The lawyer will explain the client’s own rights and his or her responsibilities to the other. Deadlines and triggering events such as the commencement or termination of an obligation will be pointed out. The special nature and consequences of the marriage contract or separation agreement will be explained. All questions will be fully answered. At the end of this session, the client should be satisfied that the contents of the terms of settlement or domestic contract are fully understood.  If any doubts exist, the lawyer and client should consider revisiting the outstanding legal issues.

 

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