Regardless of the reason you hire a lawyer, you want to answer his or her questions thoroughly. Whether you are hiring a divorce attorney, someone to take care of your will and trust, or a Utah criminal and immigration lawyer like me, every question has a purpose. You want your lawyer to do the best job possible because you’re paying good money for legal services.
Many of the questions your lawyer asks may seem simple or unnecessary. One of the most common complaints people have about their lawyer is that they don’t communicate enough about the status of the case. And yet clients are often reluctant to give out personal information like cell phone numbers or email addresses. From a lawyer’s perspective, it’s frustrating to call a house during business hours, leave a message with a child, and then never hear back from you. Lawyers tend to work long hours, but we have no idea when you’re going to be home so make sure your lawyer knows the best way and best time to get a hold of you.
There’s also the subject of embarrassing or damaging information. No matter how unflattering, it’s important for your lawyer to know everything about your case. Answer questions as honestly as you can. Your lawyer is sworn to keep your information confidential, but they can only prepare for stuff they know about.
Alternatively, you could have a great piece of information that would really help your case if your lawyer only knew about it. In my experience working as an attorney in Utah, clients frequently have no idea which facts will help or hurt their case. There have been times when I’ve talked to a client several times before a key piece of information comes out because the client mistakenly believes it will hurt the case. Since most lawyers charge by the hour, you are wasting money if you don’t give the information up front.