I would like to share an experience I recently had in court with a DUI case. This event explains the importance of a main goal of ours, which is to keep our clients informed of what is going on with their DUI case and what to expect as their case progresses through the court system.
In this particular DUI case, the judge ordered us to have our client present at the next court date. This happens very rarely and for various reasons, and we usually like to keep our clients from having to come to court. But in this case, we scheduled the next court date and had our client there.
At the court date, the courtroom was filled, and to make sure our DUI case was handled first, I stepped to the podium that faced the judge and waited for court to begin. Our client was standing next to me, and I told her that I would be doing all the talking in court, that she only needed to stand quietly next to me as I handled the court proceeding. As we waited for the judge to come out, I reiterated to our client where in the process her case was, and what to expect from here on. I also predicted how her case would end, and what she would need to do after we finished her case. All of this was repeated information that I or my partner had already told our client several times before.
Little did I know, but there was a microphone at the podium, and it was broadcasting to the visitors in the courtroom what I was saying to our client. Not that I was telling our client anything confidential or embarrassing, but it was still a surprise to me. I made sure to turn it off once I discovered it.
Eventually, I turned around and looked at the people in the courtroom behind me. Most of them were defendants in other cases. They were looking at me in stunned silence. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing! By the looks on their faces, the advice I had just given my client was totally new information to them. Apparently, their DUI case was also progressing though the court system, just as was my client’s, but no one had explained any of the process to them. These people had no idea where their cases were in the system, what to expect from here on, and what to do when their cases were resolved! It’s as if these people were in a big fog and what I was discussing with my client was bright light.
Keeping our clients informed as to what happens with their DUI case, what to expect along the way, and what to do at the end of their case is a major goal for us at Thurlow & Thurlow. What I had explained to our client that day was pretty standard for our clients, and in fact I was repeating what we had already told our client several times before. But we try to make sure our clients know all this stuff. Apparently, there are a lot of lawyers out there who do not have the same goals with their clients. Sure, it take a little more time, but it needs to be done.