What to bring when you meet with your attorney.
- A pen and pad of paper or something to write down notes on any issues or questions that arise.
- Take the time before you meet with your attorney to write down a list of questions. You may have many questions and concerns before even meeting the first time. If you have a lot to discuss you might forget to ask during your initial consultation.
- An understanding of your financial situation. check if your attorney is charging an initial consultation fee. if your attorney charges one, this should be discussed ahead of the meeting. Nothing gets a lawyer-client relationship off on the wrong foot faster than forgetting to make your first payment.
- Bring any documents relevant to your case. If, for example, you are discussing financial assets, bring a copy of bank statements, bills, loans, etc.
How Should I Act During the Meeting with the Lawyer?
- Treat your first meeting as a business consultation. While you are trying to develop a friendly rapport with your lawyer, you also want him or her to see you as a serious client with serious needs.
- Be prompt. Lawyers value their time. Right now most consultations are being held online on platforms such as zoom. Make sure your camera and microphone work and log in 5 minutes before your scheduled meeting time.
- Dress professionally. You should wear the type of attire you would wear to any business meeting. This shows the attorney that you are taking your case seriously.
- Let the lawyer do the talking, initially. The more prepared you are with completed questionnaires (if the lawyer sent you any ahead of time), documents, diagrams, and your own questions, the easier this process will be. Keep a paper handy to write down any important information or questions you may think of as you meet with your lawyer.
- Be honest. Remember that, even if you do not end up hiring the lawyer, everything you tell him or her during your meeting is generally subject to the attorney-client privilege. In most cases, honesty is in your best interest. It’s much better and usually cost effective for the lawyer to know any bad news up front than to be surprised later with news you failed to share.
You will most likely be presented with a contract called a retainer agreement or a legal services agreement. This typically spells out the scope of the lawyer’s representation of you, as well as the fees that you will pay. The document is ordinarily a few pages long. If anything confuses you, the lawyer should explain it to you. It is highly recommended you read and understand the document before you sign it.
You are under no obligation to hire a particular attorney merely because you had an initial meeting. Much like getting a second medical opinion before a surgery, it is common to seek advice from two or more lawyers before committing. however, keep in mind consultation fees that may add up. The attorney-client relationship is important, and you need to feel comfortable with who represents you.