If you’re in the need of legal representation, you may be dreading your consultation or meeting with the attorney. I promise attorneys are actually very nice people, so there is no need to worry. But, you will discuss serious issues like money and binding contracts. Here are some tips to prepare you for what to expect when you hire an attorney.
It’s going to take time.
We always greet our potential clients and try to make them as comfortable as possible. We show them to the conference room and provide them with information-gathering forms to complete. We always block an hour for an in-person consult, and frequently, it takes longer. Make sure that you’re rested and hydrated. Eat something before you come. If you’re not feeling well, it’s ok to reschedule so you can focus on the meeting and not feeling bad. Always ask for directs and where you should park so that you can arrive at the attorney’s office on time, and get every second of your consultation.
When it is just the client and the attorney, everything is confidential because you’re creating an attorney-client relationship. Come ready to freely discuss the issues that you have concerns about. Remember, we can only help you with as much information as we have. Not giving all of the information can affect our ability to give you good advice.
It’s a lot.
We aren’t just staring at each other when you come. You’re going to ask questions. Be prepared for a lot of information in response. You’re going to tell us your story. We will ask a lot of questions so that we are clear on the fact of the case. We may discuss many ways that your case could play out hypothetically. If you need to take a break or you need us to explain something in clearer terms, just ask.
We talk about money.
We are running a service-driven business, so compensation will come up. You may have already paid a consultation fee, but that will be separate for an agreement to be retained for the services. Attorneys charge by the hour, flat fees, or on a contingency fee basis, meaning they don’t get paid unless you get paid. They will also discuss the costs of the case and how much you’ll likely be responsible for throughout the case.
You’re going to have to make a big decision.
Most attorneys will tell you that they aren’t going to do any work unless they’ve been paid or a contract is signed. Take all the time you need to hire someone, but if you miss an important deadline or court date, the attorney can’t be held responsible if you never hired them. Generally, a payment of the agreed upon fee is enough to be “hired.” If you’re case is pending, you need to be vigilant and get an attorney so nothing is missed. If you consult with multiple attorneys, you’ll want to clearly let them know if they are hired or not once you make your choice.