Winning is not always in the hand of the attorney or how advantageously placed a case is, sometimes it is also in the hands of the client. So as a Client, your comments, opinions and passive strategies in your own case are as important as your lawyer’s active strategies to win your matter in court. Knowing how to help your lawyer win your case, is very important for you, because you have a role to play in winning your case, before a Court or any tribunal. John, a music producer in Lagos, Nigeria, feels guilty for the way he handled his copyright case which made it impossible for his lawyer to win his case for him. Every client wants his case won, but sometimes the client makes this dream unrealizable for the lawyer and himself.
So how can a client help his lawyer win his own case?
1.) Openness: Clients should be ready to reveal the entire situation about their case to a lawyer. Not opening up on the tiniest of details can cause some surprise in court for the lawyer, who is definitely not ready for such a surprise that might be harmful to his client’s case. Be open with your fears and likely loopholes in your case.
2.) Statements: Before you make or write any statement before any prosecutorial body or agency, e.g. the police, etc., make sure you ask for the presence of your lawyer, as this could help you avoid some irreparable damages. David, an inmate of a Nigerian prison, feels he had destroyed his case already before the case commenced in court. You have a right to remain silent in most Nations of the world once you are arrested. See Chapter 4 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 as amended.
3.) Discretion: Avoid bragging about an ongoing case in court, because this might unconsciously or indirectly lead you to tell the other side or party some key strategies to be used by your Attorney or Lawyer. Once you have a case in court, avoid too much discussion on it, especially in the open, this can save your case from total destruction in court as every move is strategically planned for by your lawyer without the knowledge of a third or unknown party.
4.) Questions: Always be ready to ask questions and details from your lawyer. This will prepare you for some questions in cross-examination and help the lawyer figure out some obscure areas. This helps you boost confidence in your case and helps the lawyer prepare more against any eventualities. Sometimes, clients, can be scared they might be asking a stupid question, but trust me, better stupid before your counsel than stupid in court.
5.) Be open to Negotiation (Alternative Disputes Resolution): As a client, be free to ask your Lawyer to negotiate or find an alternative route to litigation. This is because sometimes, a lawyer might not want the case to end raptly as this will decrease his financial fee. However, this situation depends on the facts of the case, as not every case can end with the magic wand of ADR.
6.) Be consistent: Some client gives different testimony in the police station, in the lawyer’s office and court. This is harmful to any healthy case as such testimonies will be unreliable in court and therefore, make it almost impossible for his Lawyer to win the case.
7.) Commitment: A client should make himself available for any appointment with his lawyer. He or she must be ready to cooperate extensively with his or her lawyer to produce remarkable results. All fees on your case should also be paid promptly as this will boost the morale of your attorney.
8.) Confidence: Work on your confidence before the court session. See the court as a freedom Park with minor formalities. Get yourself more acquainted with your witness statement, even though it is presumed you wrote it yourself. Ensure you look the Judge and every lawyer in court, in their eyes when you talk. Be more empathetic with a statement that deals with emotions and endeavour to be relaxed at all times. This way, you attract sympathy and truthfulness in your testimony.
9.) Evidence: Always make available every document or evidence that your lawyer might need for your case. Never indulge in evidence destruction, even though they might be against your suit in court. Lawyer are trained to use any information in their possession to the best of his client’s advantage. Such destruction might lead to grave consequences in court.