What do clients expect of you when they ask for you to be their lawyer?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I can't speak for all lawyers but my clients come with a specific legal problem that needs to be resolved. If I do not do that kind of work then I decline representation so as not to waste time and energy. If I do the work, then I prepare a fee agreement for the client. The agreements specifically outlines the scope of work and does not obligate me to do any other work absent another written agreement. My agreements are simple because I work on a flat fee and the client knows what is to be performed by me and what fee I will charge in advance. That way both parties have a clear understanding of what is to be done and what the fees will be and neither is surprised. Other lawyers should have similar fee agreements outlining the scope of the work and overall fees/fee structure.
I have no idea what clients "expect." It depends on the type of legal problem - there are some areas (like domestic law) which can be more client intensive. However, lawyers are not therapists and they are not there to hold the clients' hand. The lawyers' general job is to handle the legal problem, to keep the client reasonably advised of the progress of the matter (if applicable), to convey any settlement offers made by the opposing party, to provide at least an annual accounting of any funds/property held in trust (it depends on if the lawyer has a trust account and bar rules are different in each state on this) and to promptly respond to communication with a client.
If you have a problem with a lawyer representing you, you need to take it up with that lawyer. If the lawyer is not responsive, then file a complaint with the state bar.
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