Dos and Don’ts When Meeting Your Lawyer for the First Time
When considering the experience of an attorney, we all tend to conclude that this is a very complex legal matter. Many people who may find themselves caught in a legal situation for the first time can find it intimidating to come face-to-face with an attorney.
Treat your first meeting with your attorney as a “blind date.” You may have contacted him, but you still need to get to know yourself better to move forward with the professional relationship, or decide not to. Meeting your attorney is, in fact, one of the most critical steps that will eventually make or break your case. Here are some tips to help you make it a successful meeting, whether you hire it or not.
Dress appropriately and be on time.
It’s not about trying to be impressive. This meeting is meant to be a business consultation. You will be up against a professional who probably wants to do business with you, so they deserve to be heard and paid attention to. Like you, the legal hawk hopes to work for a reputable client.
ASK about their background.
Your attorney’s field of expertise or experience is perhaps the most important factor in determining your ability to defend or represent you. Ask about the attorney’s background, the law firm they are in, their clients, and the cases they handle.
Share relevant information.
Your attorney is eager to know what your case is. It is best for him or her to know it up front, and it is in your best interest to be honest. The information you share will be subject to attorney-client privilege and you are protected by terms of confidentiality under the law. Initially, your attorney will give you the bigger picture and give you a legally reasonable exit.
DO NOT hesitate to ask about rates.
Hiring an attorney is not cheap. You may have to pay a large amount of fees and expenses, and you certainly don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised for the duration of the case. Ask about retention fees, consultation fees, hourly rates, and miscellaneous charges, such as document printing and copying. Also, if you decide to hire the attorney, he or she can request an advance to start doing the work for you. Be clear about your financial situation and make sure you have the ability to pay more in the future.
DO NOT show lack of cooperation.
It is very likely that the legal practitioner you are speaking with will be able to “read” it and see how you will cooperate for the duration of the case. You can expect to be presented with some general questions related to the case; Try to answer them honestly and correspond to their interest.