Clients may sometimes reach a point in their matter where they feel that communication with their counsel is a concern. They may feel that their objective is not being heard by their lawyer, or that their counsel is not being as aggressive as they want them to be with the other side. They may also feel that things are taking longer than they think it should or that there have been unexpected outcomes in their matter.
It is helpful to remember that lawyers have different styles and boundaries, but their role is to give an outside and objective legal opinion to their client. While this may come across as harsh to some clients, the lawyer will also often be considering how an adjudicator will view things and thus how things “appear” must also be considered.
It may also be helpful for clients, when these concerns come up, to discuss expected communication turn around times or preferred methods for same with their lawyer. If there are communication challenges (e.g. ESL, cultural, too much legalese), don’t assume it is obvious and don’t be shy to address them. This goes both ways with clients and lawyers.
Throughout the matter, a lawyer should continue to ask questions about the client’s objectives while explaining processes and laying out options. If a client is confused as to why the lawyer is asking certain questions and/or this affects how it is answered, it may be helpful to ask the lawyer why they are asking same in order to better understand. This also applies to negotiation or communication strategies that a lawyer may have when communicating with the other side.