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Your Lawyer and You

Your lawyer represents your interests and helps you deal with your legal issue.  Their role is to listen to you and explain the law and your options.

You are responsible for providing your lawyer with information and instructions so that they can best represent you and your interests.

Your role is to listen to your lawyer's advice and consider it before you make any decisions.

As your legal representative your lawyer can speak to other people on your behalf, prepare letters and court documents for you, and appear in court to represent you. Your lawyer will be able to help you on any legal matters that were approved on your application. If new matters arise, you must discuss these with your lawyer as a new application may be required.

Some key things to consider when working with a lawyer are: staying in contact, maintaining open communication and respect for confidentiality.

Contact

  • You must keep regular contact with your lawyer.  Let your lawyer know if you are moving or changing your phone number. 
  • Please come to your appointments on time.  Call your lawyer’s assistant to re-schedule an appointment if you will be late or cannot make it.
  • Your lawyer is often in court or dealing with an emergency, so they may not be available to meet with you without an appointment. They may also not be able to answer your telephone calls right away but they will make their best efforts to contact you as soon as possible.
  • If you are concerned that your lawyer is not returning your phone calls in a timely fashion you can contact the Area Director for the lawyer’s office or contact the Provincial Director’s Office. See Contact Us.

Communication

  • Talking about a legal problem can be uncomfortable.  Your lawyer is there to help you, not judge you.  Be honest and answer all their questions.
  • If any of the information you have shared with your lawyer changes, tell them right away. 
  • Your lawyer will keep you advised about the progress of your case. Read everything your lawyer gives or sends to you and ask questions if you don't understand something.
  • If you decide that you do not want to go ahead with your case, let your lawyer know right away.

Solicitor/Client Privilege and Confidentiality

  • Your lawyer and other people who work in his/her office are bound by solicitor/client privilege which means that they cannot discuss your case or give out your information without your permission.
  • Information you provide to your lawyer about your case is private and confidential.  The only times this is not true is:
    • if you reveal information to your lawyer about child abuse, the lawyer is required by law to report such abuse; or
    • if you tell your lawyer that you are going to commit a criminal offence in the future, the lawyer must notify the authorities.
  • Like all lawyers in this province, your legal aid lawyer is licensed by the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.  All lawyers must work within the rules outlined in the Law Society Act, the Law Society Rules and the society’s Code of Professional Conduct.  Your lawyer cannot do anything that is unethical or illegal.

Questions you can ask your lawyer when you meet

  1. Are my expectations realistic?
  2. How long will my case take?
  3. What will you do next?  
  4. What should I do next?  Is there anything I should not do?
  5. When will I hear from you next?