Lawyers: Listen to your clients!

In many disputes, the clients have lived with their dispute/happenings/events for a long time, sometimes years. They know the ins and outs of the facts and the party they are opposed to.

It is important for lawyers (and experts) to try to get as much information from the parties as possible.

It is the job of both the expert and the party’s attorney to understand the facts of the case. Once they know the background they are able to analyze the law or events that happened, make assumptions if necessary, and come up with conclusions. Then they can argue their positions.

Often times I have seen attorneys that come in to a case late and don’t know all of the facts. In this case, it’s important to continually check with the client during a trial or at important points in the case, such as when drafting pleadings etc.

The same can be said for experts-they need to ask questions and verify information, as much as possible/is necessary.

While clients don’t know which issues are significant legally, or from an accounting standpoint, the attorney and expert can educate the client so that efficiencies can be gained.

Also, the client can sometimes do the heavy lifting in a case. Depending on whether a subpoena is needed to collect documents, the client or an administrative person can assemble documents and sift through them to find transactions in question. The party will have the most familiarity with the coding the bank uses or the other accounts referenced, if transfers from one account to another are at issue. Then the expert and attorney can test/review the work the party or administrative person have done to test it and verify its accuracy. Finally, they can draw conclusions about the case/fact patterns based on the underlying documents.