Rules for Working with Your Lawyer

Entering into an attorney-client relationship is a two-way street. You as the client decide which attorney you would like to retain. The attorney gets to decide whether to accept you as a client and, later, whether to keep you as a client. Your attorney can terminate the representation if you are uncooperative, disrespectful and/or fail to pay (with court permission, if she/he is your attorney of record). Switching attorneys usually increases your cost significantly. Other attorneys may require a large retainer or may decline a client that has gone through several attorneys as it indicates the client may be a problem client. The following are some rules for maintaining a good working relationship with your family law attorney:1. Pay your attorney. Having an attorney handle your divorce and represent you is a privilege, not a right. Your attorney may be turning down other cases in order to handle your case. Law firms have overhead expenses. Attorneys and paralegals are entitled to be compensated for the work they do for clients. If you truly cannot afford an attorney, there are legal aid centers that may offer you some assistance. If you do not want to pay thousands of dollars to an attorney, then do not hire an attorney.2. Do not be disrespectful or uncooperative to your attorney or his or her staff. Going through a divorce can be an emotional time for clients. Do not take out your frustrations or emotions on your attorney or her staff. Your soon-to-be ex may be trying to delay the divorce or may be taking unreasonable positions. To a large degree, that is outside of your attorney’s control. She will do what she can to obtain your legal goals but we cannot control other people.3. Trust your attorney. I understand how hard it can be to trust someone, especially a stranger. But you either trust your attorney or you do not. You cannot straddle the fence on the issue of trusting your attorney. Divorce is combat — even if you want to divorce amicably. Your attorney and you are on the same side. A client’s sword should be pointing at the opposing party and not at his attorney’s back. If your attorney has to worry about upsetting you or dealing with your grief, you are distracting her from focusing on handling your case. A family law attorney is a licensed professional with technical knowledge acquired from a law degree, a law license and years of practice. That is why you hired us.

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If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.