You may be nervous about meeting with a lawyer for the first time to discuss your case.
However, if you come to the table prepared, the situation will be less stressful.
Here’s how to get ready for your first meeting with an attorney.
How Should I Get Ready for My First Lawyer Consultation?
When you’re meeting with a lawyer for the first time, there are several steps you need to take before, during, and after the consultation.
Before the Consultation
Before the meeting, you need to sit down and have a brainstorming session. Write down every question you can think of that you want the lawyer to answer. You may think you’ll remember what you want to ask when the time comes, but it’s best to have all of the possible inquiries in front of you on paper to make sure you don’t forget.
You should also jot down every detail about your case that you want to share with the lawyer. Even if you think it’s a piece of information that doesn’t matter, or it’s too embarrassing and you want to keep it secret, you should include the detail because it could be important. Remember, the information you share with a lawyer is usually subject to the attorney-client privilege, even in the preliminary stage.
Ahead of the consultation, you need to make sure you have organized all of the evidence that pertains to your case. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Pictures of injuries, property damage, or the scene of the incident
- Audio recordings
- Accident or police reports
- Witness statements & contact information
To save time, send copies of all of the evidence to the lawyer before your meeting and keep the originals.
During the Consultation
Once you sit down with the lawyer to discuss your case, it’s time to ask the questions you came up with. Ask how long the lawyer has been in practice. Find out if they’ve handled cases like yours before. Inquire about their past results. Make sure there are no conflicts of interest.
Here are some other topics you may want to bring up:
- How much do you charge for your services?
- What problems do you foresee with my case?
- How long do you think it will take to get a result?
- Will you be handling my case or another attorney?
- How often can I expect to receive updates?
- What kind of response do you expect from the other party?
You will also be going over the key facts of your case and answering questions posed by the attorney. If you sent all of the evidence ahead of time, this will allow the lawyer to dive right into any concerns they may have. At a minimum, you should share the type of dispute, the date the problem began, the names of those involved, the key events, and the current status of the situation.
You want to make sure the lawyer understands your goal by the end of the consultation. What kind of outcome are you looking for? Are you trying to find out whether you have a legal claim against another person or entity? Do you want to get out of an existing contract or lease? Whatever result you’re looking for, make sure it’s clear so that the attorney is on the same page.
After the Consultation
After the meeting is adjourned, take some time to process your thoughts as well as your emotions. Ask yourself a few questions about what just happened and how you are feeling. Do you like this person? Can you afford their services? Do you think they believe in your case? Are you confident they’ll be able to win your claim?
In the end, you should feel comfortable with the attorney and get a sense that your case is important to them. If you don’t feel you will be treated as a priority and your case will be handled efficiently and professionally, you may want to keep looking for a lawyer who meets those needs. There should be a mutual understanding of your goals for representation and the path to achieving them.
How to Prepare for Your First Lawyer Consultation
Now you know the steps you should take when it comes to preparing for a consultation with an attorney.
When you gather your thoughts (and evidence) beforehand, ask the right questions during the meeting, and reflect on the experience afterward, you’ll be able to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with a lawyer.
If you’re ready to get set up with a free consultation, Bulluck Law Group has experienced personal injury attorneys in Tampa, Florida. We are committed to providing clients with the best possible results. How can we help you today?