Q: What is an initial consultation?
A: Initial consultations are generally opportunities for you and the attorney to exchange information regarding your case. It is also a chance for you to determine if the attorney you are meeting with is the right person to represent you in your matter, and for you to ask about the attorney’s experience and practice.
Q: By meeting with the attorney during the initial consultation, does this mean he or she will be representing me on a long-term basis?
A: Prospective clients should keep in mind that the initial consultation does not obligate individuals to hire the attorney, nor does the meeting obligate the attorney to take on the prospective client’s matter on a long-term basis. If you do plan on hiring the attorney after the consultation, you should confirm with the attorney that you would like to hire him or her. The reason for this is that you do not want to leave the attorney’s office assuming the attorney will represent you, while the attorney has the opposite impression.
Q: Is there anything I should bring or do before the initial consultation?
A: Before the meeting, you should make written notes on the facts related to your legal problem. You should identify all the parties involved in the case and organize all the relevant facts in some order, such as in chronological order. A qualified attorney will be able to sift through the facts as you relay them, and recognize those that are most relevant. You should also bring a list of questions to which you want answers.
Q: Why should I make preparations before meeting with the attorney at the initial consultation?
A: You want to be prepared before you meet with the attorney to avoid wasted time and stress and to make the meeting productive. Preparation enables you to clearly present the facts of your situation as fully as possible, and focus on the issues and questions that are critical to you. This also helps the attorney to provide you with tailored, specific advice.
Q: Overall, what are some key things I should do or keep in mind for the initial consultation?
A: Overall, if you organize your thoughts, and clearly communicate to the attorney what you want him or her to accomplish for you, you will have taken positive steps toward developing a productive working relationship – and toward getting your problem resolved.