If you have recently found the need to be represented by an attorney for a legal issue and this is the first time you have needed legal representation you likely have a number of questions and concerns about how the attorney-client relationship works. We find that a common question clients have is “ How often do lawyers contact their clients? ” The answer to that question depends on various factors and can vary from one attorney to the next; however, offering some general information about the attorney-client relationship in several common types of cases may be helpful if you are concerned about communication between yourself and your attorney.
In a typical law office, there are attorneys and a variety of support staff. The support staff may consist of secretaries, paralegals, and/or assistants. While you should always meet first with your attorney, and continue to have access to your attorney when necessary, it is common to communicate with an assistant, secretary, or paralegal for mundane, everyday matters. Your attorney may spend a considerable amount of time in court and/or in consultations, meaning it is often easier and more efficient to communicate with one of the support staff when you have questions or need to relay information to your attorney. Of course your attorney will be kept apprised of all communications you have with the support staff and will communicate with your directly when needed.
The frequency with which you hear from your attorney will depend, to a great extent, on the type of legal matter being handled. A personal injury case, for example, will typically require a good deal of communication in the early days and weeks of the case and then tends to lay dormant while you are following through with recommended treatment. Once you have reached a point of “maximum medical improvement”, meaning you will likely not get any better from that point on, your attorney will begin to try and negotiate a settlement. Communication with your attorney will then pick up again.
A civil lawsuit based on something like breach of contract can take a considerable amount of time to resolve. In this case, months could pass without anything significant happening that necessitates communication from your attorney. This does not mean the attorney is not working behind the scenes — it simply means there is nothing that needs to be discussed yet.
Conversely, if you are a defendant in a criminal case there may be more regular communication with your attorney throughout the prosecution as evidence is discovered and a resolution to the case is worked out or trial preparations begun.
The bottom line is that as the client you have the right to expect to be kept apprised of any significant developments in your case and to have an open channel of communication with your attorney at all times. If you have any further questions about attorney-client communication, or the attorney-client relationship in general, feel free to contact the criminal defense team at Powers Sellers & Finkelstein PLC by calling 727-531-2926 today to schedule your appointment.