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Communicating with your Lawyer

Give your lawyer all your details

Make sure your lawyer has your cellphone number, email address, and any other numbers that you use (home phone, work phone, girl friend’s number, Dad’s number – wherever your lawyer might have to go to find you when they need to talk to you).

Read all the information you are given

You will be given a summary of facts, and sometimes Police disclosure material.  Read it, and ask someone for help reading it if you need to.

Write down what you want to say about the summary of facts, and the disclosure material, even if it is just headings so you remember what you want to say when you meet with your lawyer.  Or circle or highlight what you need to talk about.

Tell your lawyer about yourself

Tell your lawyer if there is or was stuff going on for you that might be relevant to what happened, or to what sentence you would prefer  – things like problems to do with work, family, mental health, drugs or alcohol, can all be important.

Sometimes there are people that can tell your lawyer about you – like family, work colleagues, or doctors.  Give your lawyer their numbers, and tell them that the lawyer might be phoning.

Be clear in messages you send

Your lawyer is more likely to understand and respond to messages that are clear, and not all written in slang or text speak.  If spelling is hard for you, ask someone to help you if you need to write a letter or email to your lawyer.

Getting hold of your lawyer

Everyone is frustrated from time to time when it is hard to get hold of your lawyer.  Usually your lawyer is busy with someone else’s case, so can’t answer your questions at the time you want to ask them.

Make appointments with your lawyer to discuss your case, and keep them.  Make sure you and your lawyer both have enough time to get through the issues you need to talk about.

Make sure your lawyer knows why you are trying to contact them.

Sometimes it is easier for a busy lawyer to return a call or text when they can tell that a short answer or conversation is all that is necessary.  For example “I need to change my bail address.  Please phone me.”

If you know that what you want to talk about will take some time, send an email or text saying this.  For example, “I have found out the name of a neighbour who saw me before the incident, and she says her friend saw me too.  When can I meet you to talk about this?”

Preparing for the case

Ask your lawyer about their schedule for preparation for your case.  Most lawyers will meet with you early on to discuss the details of the case, but do most of the preparation work closer to the trial date.  Ask to make appointments for several weeks before the trial so there is time to do what is necessary.

If you have jobs to do (like finding witnesses or records), do them early so if any problems come up you have time to sort them out.

 

 

 

 

 

Updated on January 25, 2018

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