There is a scene in the movie Jerry Maguire, where Tom Cruise repeatedly tells his client "Help me help you. The best resource that I have to win a case is the client themself. The more proactice a client is in helping me gather evidence, the better the outcome. A gun can't fire without ammunition. A great chef can't cook without ingredients.
In family law cases I tell all of my clients to go to CVS and buy themselves a three subject norebook. The first part is to be used as a diary keeping track of all important information in detail from this moment forward. The second part is ajournal in which I want them to share in detail everything they know about themselves or the opposing party which could possible be of use. In child custody cases, the third part of the notebook is used to adress the criteria that a judge looks at to determine which parent is the better parent.
I always advise clients in famliy law cases that when communicating with the other party, they need to keep a record of the comminication. They should communicate through e-mail or text messages, not through telephone calls. It is illegal to record a phone call and the content of the phone call will be impossible to prove in court. E-mails are admissable and can be very damaging against the opposing party if they show the other side is nonresponsive, hostile, or otherwise unreasonable.
It is also easier for me to read the notebook rather than having a client try to orally tell me everything and have me try to write it down.
When I take a case, it is not just a job to me. I want to win. Help me help you.