IT people have this maxim: “Garbage in, garbage out.” It simply means the information that you get out of a computer is just as good as the information that you put in. Wrong inputs produce wrong data.
The same principle applies with the client-lawyer relationship. A business litigation attorney from San Diego, Lenden Webb, advises that one key factor to getting the most from your legal team is to trust them with all the relevant information you can give them. That means you have to tell your attorney everything.
You may say, “Hey, I know I must tell my lawyer everything” until you hit the proverbial brick wall which there is the embarrassing stuff you’d rather not tell your lawyer. Let’s take, for example, an employee who sued you for wrongful termination. As an employer you will be happy to give your lawyer information on your company practices which are above board. However you may be embarrassed to tell him that you were once a member of a group known for its discriminatory views (a neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic group perhaps). You may think you’re better off not telling your lawyer about this, right?
Helping your lawyer by disclosing embarrassing details can strengthen your case. How? With the negative detail known to your attorney, he will be able to anticipate the moves of the other side. Lawyers for your opponent will do their best to uncover errors you may have committed. And, rest assured, if your opponent’s lawyers did their homework, they will be able to do so. Your lawyer, on the other hand, would have been caught flat-footed because he was never aware of your concealed details in the first place! In the wrongful termination case, the opposing parties may find out about your membership in the discriminatory group – and help establish a case against you.
Your lawyer can work best if he has all the relevant information available to him from the beginning. If you have derogatory information, your lawyer may then be able to find an argument to defend it. In the sample case of wrongful termination, your lawyer can state that belonging to an organization known for its discriminatory practices does not necessary translate to what you do as an employer.
You also need not worry about your lawyer disclosing your embarrassing details to other people. Lawyers are sworn to confidentiality. Whatever you tell them in confidence shall be kept a secret. The confidentiality agreement extends also to the staff of the lawyer and his firm. According to business attorney, Lenden Webb, respecting client’s information in confidence is one strong differentiating factor between professional law firms and ordinary ones.
With your lawyer, the more information you tell him, the stronger your case will be. Yes, tell him everything.
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