How to Prepare for a Consultation With an Attorney

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When you find yourself needing an attorney, it means that whatever legal matter you are involved in is progressing to the next level. Whether you are the plaintiff or the defendant, you want to be sure you are hiring the right person for your case. Most lawyers offer a free consultation so that you have a chance to determine if he or she is the right person for you.

When you are meeting with your attorney for the first time, it’s important to come prepared. The better prepared you are for the initial consultation, the better able your attorney will be able to answer your questions and dive right into your matter. Having everything ready from the outset can also save you money, as it will take your attorney less time to work on your case.

What is a Lawyer Consultation?

A law consultation is an initial meeting with a lawyer that allows you to discuss your issue and their approach before you decide to hire them to represent you. Many attorneys offer both free consultations and paid consultations, depending on what you are trying to accomplish.  The free legal consultations available for prospective clients give you a chance to explore your options without being charged a fee for their time. Aside from allowing you to assess lawyers before hiring them, these consultations also give attorneys a chance to determine if they can competently and legally represent you in your particular legal matter.

Generally, attorneys will not give legal advice without being first hired by the client. Attorneys do not give legal advice without first being retained for a myriad of reasons, including requirements from their malpractice insurance carriers. If you have a specific legal question that you are hoping to have the attorney answer in the consultation and do not expect to require any further work, the attorney will charge a small fee for the consultation.  In these cases, you can expect to pay the fee up front and have your legal questions answered at the end of the consultation.

During the consultation, the lawyer asking about the specifics of your case and informing you of your legal options. Then, there will be a mutual selection process in which you and the lawyer decide if you will work together.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

It is true that not every disagreement or accident case requires a lawyer, but many do. The best way to determine if you could benefit from a lawyer is by evaluating several factors of your case. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the below, it may be time to request a free consultation:

  • You are charged with a crime that could send you to jail
  • You stand to lose a lot of money in a lawsuit
  • The other party involved in the case has an attorney
  • You suffered a severe injury that caused you to miss work
  • The at-fault driver in your car accident isn’t cooperating
  • You suspect wrongful death


How Will A Lawyer Help You?

No matter how much research you have done and how well educated you are, the legal system is complicated and makes it extremely difficult for the average person to represent themselves. Since every case is unique, it is essential to have an expert attorney represent you. Many variables may come up during your case, and winning your case could be impossible without a lawyer by your side.

Some of the ways a lawyer can help with your case include:

  • Negotiate fair deals with prosecutors
  • Help with sentencing to meet the client’s needs
  • Understand the local court system and procedures
  • Breakdown the potential hidden costs of a case
  • Spend time on the case
  • Gather information from witnesses
  • Hire and work with investigators


Questions to Ask a Potential Lawyer

Before your first consultation with a personal injury lawyer, have the following questions prepared:

  • How long have you practiced law?
  • When was your law practice established?
  • What types of cases do you typically handle?
  • Who is your ‘typical’ client?
  • How many cases have you handled that were similar to mine?
  • Do you have any specialized training or knowledge that may help my case?
  • What are your attorney fees and costs?
  • Who will I be working with?
  • How much do you think I can get in a settlement?
  • How long should I expect my case to take?


Which Documents Should You Prepare for the Lawyer Appointment?

Prior to your consultation, it is crucial that you prepare and organize any and all documents that are relevant to your case. Even if you are unsure of whether or not some of the documents you have are relevant, it is best to bring them along with you.

The following are the essential documents you should bring depending on the nature of your legal concern:

  • Contracts: For contract disputes, you should bring copies of the contract(s) as well as any supporting documents relevant to the contract being disputed.
  • Police/Accident Reports: Secure a copy of the police/accident report of the incident you were involved in as this will contain critical details regarding your case.
  • Photographs and Videos: For legal concerns involving accidents, property damage, and the like, make sure to bring photos and/or videos of the incident or from the scene of the accident. If possible, take a picture of the damage and any injuries sustained.
  • Medical Bills, Records, and Receipts: This can include your hospital bills, treatment/medication costs, lost wages, etc.
  • Receipts: For property damage which requires repairs or replacement, bring the receipts of those transactions.
  • Identification: And lastly, do not forget to bring your driver’s license or any form of identification to your appointment.


What Will Be Discussed During the Legal Consultation?

Regardless of the nature of your legal issue, the following topics will normally be discussed:

  • Costs: Generally, initial consultations will always include discussions of the fees the attorney charges to represent you in your particular legal issue.
  • Facts and Evidence: You will have a discussion on the facts about your case, and a review of all the documents and evidence you have related to it.
  • Legal Claims: You will be discussing with the attorney your “claim” with regards to your legal concern.


Tips for the First Meeting with a Lawyer

Below are a few things to remember that will help you get the most out of your initial consultation with your attorney.


  • Organize Key Facts

You should expect the lawyer to ask you to recount the facts surrounding the event you are there to see him or her about. In anticipation of meeting with your lawyer, you may find it helpful to take notes, either on paper or on your phone, to help make sure you remember to tell him or her as much as possible.

Keep in mind that whatever you discuss during a legal consultation will be confidential. So, be completely honest and forthcoming during the process. You can rest assured that even if you decide not to hire the attorney you are consulting, whatever is discussed or presented will not leave the meeting room.


  • Collect Documents and Evidence

The lawyer will also ask you for any documents, reports, statements, photographs and/or videos you have related to the event, so be prepared to share those. The attorney will analyze any documents and evidence you may have on hand to better understand your case and assess its strength.


  • Write a Description of the Issue in Your Own Words

While the documents you bring can speak for themselves, it is helpful if you write down a brief narrative of what’s going on with your matter. While your attorney will probably have some additional questions for you, a short recount of the issues can make for a great starting point.


  • Be Truthful

Do not ever lie to your attorney. Even if you think something can be damaging to your case, it is even worse to withhold information. Your attorney can mitigate almost anything you have done as long as you are truthful from the outset. Your entire case could be derailed if and when the truth surfaces later on, which is a risk nobody can afford to take.


  • Keep Your Own Records

Your lawyer will keep a file of everything related to your case, but it is also a good idea for you to keep a file for your own records. Having your own working file will help if you have any questions as your matter moves forward.


  • Listen to Your lawyer

If your lawyer suggests a certain strategy, it is probably for a reason. You need to trust your attorney, which is the cornerstone of any successful attorney-client relationship. If you cannot trust your lawyer, then you need to find one who you can.


What Questions Should You Ask the Lawyer About Their Background?

A legal consultation is the best time for you to get to know the lawyer and determine if they are the right fit for your case. As such, it is recommended that you ask the lawyer about:

  • Experience: You will want a lawyer who has experience handling cases similar to yours. It would also be prudent to ask how long they have been practicing in your particular state, as there are state-specific laws.
  • Clientele: Asking the attorney regarding their typical client is also a good way to know about the cases they handle and the clients who retain them.
  • Specialization: The legal field covers various areas, and many lawyers tend to specialize in a specific legal field or subset of practice. As such, you can ask the lawyer about their specialization.
  • Professional History and Education: It is also necessary to ask your lawyer about their professional history, particularly if they’ve been involved in any fee disputes, malpractice lawsuits, and disciplinary actions by the state bar. You can also ask them regarding their legal education.
  • Contact Information and Communication: You should ask your attorney about the best method for contacting them, their availability for consultation/meetings, and so on.


Should You Speak with an Attorney?

Our legal team at Duque Law Group is comprised of award-winning and nationally recognized trial lawyers who collaborate with nurses, doctors and medical experts regularly. Though we understand the nature of injuries, we are not physicians, and always encourage victims to seek treatment as soon after an accident as possible, and to follow up and heed their doctors’ advice.

Call us now at 1-877-241-9554 to learn more about your options. A free consultation is just a phone call away.


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