In any case, the client and the attorney are partners. Each one has obligations to the other. They are both necessary to help move a case toward resolution.
The obligations of the attorney are somewhat obvious: perform the legal work for the case, communicate with the client until a resolution occurs, and maintain the file. This all must be done while complying with the governing ethics and professionalism rules.
However, the attorney’s client has certain responsibilities as a plaintiff in the lawsuit as well.
Plaintiff’s obligations to their Lawyer
Some of the client’s obligations are to the lawyer to ensure that they can properly fulfill their duties. These include:
- Providing complete and truthful information about the facts of the case
- Helping identify witnesses to support the claims
- Updating the attorney with any change in telephone number, mailing address, or email address
- Responding to the attorney’s calls, emails, and letters where a response is necessary
Doing each of these things helps your lawyer with their part. Your attorney will be able to keep you updated. They can reach out to you when information is needed. And finally, the path the resolution will be much smoother.
Plaintiff’s Obligations to the Court and the Parties
Next, the plaintiff in a lawsuit may also have to perform certain tasks for the Court or parties:
- Responding to written discovery requests (answer questions about the facts of the case and produce relevant documents)
- Participating in a deposition (a question and answer session under oath)
- Participating in mediation
- Actively participating in the trial
For certain types of suits, additional tasks may be necessary for the plaintiff. For example, in some personal injury suits, the defendant may be allowed a defense medical exam by one of their doctors. The same is true in environmental contamination suits. The client will likely need to give access to their property to a defense expert for sampling and inspection.
Ultimately, being a plaintiff in a lawsuit is not as simple as just signing up and having the attorney do everything else. However, a good attorney will help prepare the client at each step along the way to make the process as easy as possible.