The Importance of Cooperating With Your Attorney

An injured party’s participation in a claim should not end with the retention of competent
legal counsel. The ideal relationship between attorney and client is a cooperative partnership. A
client’s full investment and cooperation with counsel is essential to maximizing recovery and
timely resolution of personal injury claims and insurance settlements.

The importance of client cooperation is reflected in its frequent inclusion as an express
term in attorney-client fee agreements. For example, the hourly & contingency based sample fee
agreements made available online by the State Bar of California identify cooperation as a
contractual duty owed by the client. Section 3 of the State Bar sample agreements provides as
follows:

Client agrees to be truthful with Attorney and not to withhold information.
Further, Client agrees to cooperate, to keep Attorney informed of any
information or developments which may come to Client’s attention, to
abide by this Agreement, to pay Attorney’s bills on time, and to keep
Attorney advised of Client’s address, telephone number and whereabouts.
Client will assist Attorney by timely providing necessary information and
documents. Client agrees to appear at all legal proceedings when Attorney
deems it necessary, and generally to cooperate fully with Attorney in all
matters related to the preparation and presentation of Client’s claims.
(Emphasis added.)

http://www.calbar.ca.gov/about-us/forms. While the specific contours of a client’s duty to
cooperate may vary from contract to contract, the duty to cooperate essentially means that a
client is obligated to reasonably assist the lawyer with aspects of the case.

Bottom line, whether framed as a contractual duty or not, client cooperation and
assistance fosters effective legal representation. The failure to cooperate and assist counsel as
requested may not only ne contrary to contract, but may also serve to sabotage counsel’s efforts,
delay resolution and/or compromise other aspects of the claim such as value or amount of
recovery.

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No portion of the above is intended to constitute legal advice or serve as a
substitute for getting competent legal advice. Average Insurance Settlement is not
a law firm or engaged in the practice of law in any jurisdiction.

Posted in Insurance Settlement