You may have never hired an attorney before, so this may leave you asking the question, “What should I expect?” Hiring an attorney can be a scary and intimidating proposition. Many times when people hire an attorney, it is because a significant event has happened in their life and they don’t know where to turn. What, then should you expect from your attorney? All attorneys in Tennessee are governed by a specific set of ethical rules that must always be followed:

  • Confidentiality – under most circumstances, anything you tell your attorney as absolutely privileged. He or she cannot reveal your secrets to anyone that you do not specifically authorize him or her to do so.*
  • Communication – your attorney must keep you reasonably informed as to the status of your case and must timely respond to your calls and emails; what communication is reasonable varies depending on the nature of your case.
  • Competence – your attorney must be informed and competent in the area of law he or she is advising you about; this may involve the attorney researching an issue for you prior to handling your case.
  • Diligence – your attorney must actually work on your case and actively work to resolve it in as timely a fashion as the circumstances allow; however, keep in mind that some cases can take months or years to resolve, and this does not necessarily mean your attorney is not diligently handling your case.
  • Conflicts of Interest – your attorney must not act in a manner that would conflict with his or her representation of you. Example: if your attorney is representing you in a divorce case, he or she may not also represent your spouse if doing so would hurt your case.

Hiring an attorney with whom you are comfortable is very important. Always make sure when hiring an attorney that you are comfortable and confident that your lawyer is following his or her ethical duties owed to you.

*If you have a question as to whether something you may say to your attorney is not privileged, click on the link and review RULE 1.6: CONFIDENTIALITY OF INFORMATION.