Follow these steps to get ready for your first consultation with your lawyer.
The more prepared you are, the less time it will take for the lawyer to understand and help you resolve your legal issue. This could result in savings to you.
- Bring all documents. Make copies of all the documents you have collected regarding your case. Give these copies to the lawyer.
- Get organized and take notes! Write down notes outlining your legal problem, or any questions you may have. The lawyer you are referred to must have your details in order to decide what is important and how to move forward in your best interests.
- Be honest. It is very important that you give an honest account of your legal problem. This includes issues that may be sensitive to you or your family. Remember that the conversation you have with your lawyer is private, and cannot be discussed with others without your permission.
- Talk about how much this will cost you. Your lawyer will be ready to discuss fees during your first meeting. You should be ready to do the same. It is perfectly okay to discuss payment plans with your lawyer. Get your agreement in writing and keep a copy for your file.
- Ask your lawyer questions. In order for your lawyer to serve you better, you must understand your case and the legal process. But remember, you are paying for your lawyer’s time. It is more cost-effective to ask several questions at once. If you call your lawyer every single time you have a question, you may be charged for each call.
- Read all documents carefully before signing. Before you sign a document, ask your lawyer to fully explain to you what exactly it is that you are signing. If you do not understand what the document is about that you are being asked to sign, ask your lawyer to explain it to you again.
- Keep your own files. Don’t hesitate to ask for copies of all letters and documents prepared on your case. You should also keep the written fee agreement between you and your lawyer for your records.
- Listen to your lawyer. Listen to your lawyer and think about what your lawyer asks you to do. The lawyer’s judgments are based on legal training and experience. Remember that lawyers cannot work magic. No lawyer wins every case, and sometimes the best legal advice may not be what you want to hear. Your lawyer will provide advice that has your best interests in mind.
Contra Costa County Bar Association. (2013) Get Prepared for Your 30-Minute Consultation. Retrieved from http://www.cccba.org/community/find-a-lawyer/get-prepared.php