Van (pronounced “Vun”) believes that when people retain the firm to represent them, it is our job to do just that – to represent their ideals and goals. To do this effectively, Van believes in a team approach and encourages full participation from clients. She has discovered that when people are given the opportunity to participate in the process, they have a much better understanding of what’s going on and thus, are able to make better decisions.
However, the team approach only works when everyone on the team believes in the same principles, which include:
- Do not lie to the court. It would be hard to find a lawyer who would advise otherwise. Most judges have seen it all and heard it all. They know when someone is being less than truthful. They hate liars just as much as the next person. Once a judge believes you to be anything less than truthful, your chances of obtaining a favorable result becomes nearly impossible.
- Do not lie to your lawyer. Lying includes withholding/concealing facts and information relevant to the case. If you’re not sure if it’s relevant, tell your lawyer and let her decide. Lawyers can only be prepared to explain or minimize a bad situation if they know about it beforehand. Moreover, a team can’t function without trust. Thus, if you lie to your lawyer, you will most likely have to find a new lawyer.
- Pay your lawyer on time. When was the last time, if ever, you were eager and motivated to do a job where you knew you wouldn’t be paid? Your lawyer is no different. It’s much easier to work on a case where you know you will be compensated. If a client disagrees with the attorney’s fees, the client should obtain new counsel.
- Your lawyer is the legal expert. You hired this particular lawyer because you believe that the lawyer has the expertise to properly handle your issues. Don’t waste your money and the lawyer’s time discussing what you discovered on Google or what your barber/hairdresser had to say about your situation. If you find their legal advice to be more credible than your lawyer, then it’s time to find a new lawyer.
- Know your goals. When your lawyer asks you what the ideal outcome would be for you, be honest with yourself. We don’t want to know what your mother wants or what anyone else may think you’re entitled to. Your lawyer’s only objective is to assist you achieve your goals as allowed by the law. We can only do that if you truly know what your goals are.
- Be responsive. Once you have decided to take a matter to court, or you have been summoned to appear in court, you are subject to certain rules and deadlines. Failure to follow the rules and respond in a timely manner will have major implications on what evidence and testimony may be presented at trial. When your attorney asks for information or documents by a certain date, be an asset to the team by providing the requested information or documents by that date and no later!