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Working With Your Attorney Law

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About Your Initial Consultation

So you've researched experienced attorneys and contacted a few that you hope will be right for you. Now comes the initial consultations with these lawyers. The initial consultation is your opportunity to get a feel of what type of lawyer you want to work with and determine if the lawyer you're meeting with is up to the task.

At this appointment, you will give the lawyer a rundown of your legal issue and ask any questions that you have. The lawyer will ask you more questions, maybe try to learn additional information about your issue, and give you an assessment of your options and potential outcomes to expect.

The laws are different in each individual state and court rules may even vary by county. A local attorney will best understand how to handle a case like your. We suggest consulting a lawyer in a city near you to give you the best advice about the legal process for your legal matters.

Do You Have to Hire a Lawyer After a Consultation?

Just because you have an initial consultation with a lawyer doesn't mean you have to hire them to take on your case. As a prospective client, there is nothing wrong with having multiple consultations with different law firms to give you more options to choose from.

If you do not get a good feeling during the legal consultation, you can walk away. At most, you will need to pay the fee for the appointment if the lawyer does not provide free consultations. If the consultation was free, then there really is no risk in meeting with them, even if you are unsatisfied.

Is a Consultation With a Lawyer Confidential?

Yes. A lawyer is professionally obligated to not disclose any details from your legal consultation. This attorney-client privilege exists even if you choose not to hire the lawyer to represent you.

Since a consultation works best if you are open and candid about the facts of your case, you do not have to worry about the attorney sharing any information about you that could harm you. For example, if you are going through the divorce process and you meet with a divorce attorney but decide not to hire them, in most cases, your ex cannot hire that attorney.

Only in limited circumstances, such as you were to admit to a criminal defense lawyer that you are going to commit a crime or you were to bring a legal claim against your attorney, can the attorney divulge details of your conversations.

How Should You Prepare for an Initial Consultation?

You should take some time to think about what you want to discuss before the consultation occurs. This includes making notes about your legal situation so that you do not forget anything. Include information about other people who may be involved in your case, like witnesses.

Gather any paperwork you have related to your case. Some examples include:

  • Auto accident: This could be the police report and any medical records and bills documenting your injuries for your personal injury attorney.
  • Employment law case: This could include emails and other communication that strengthens your claims for your employment attorney.
  • Foreclosure/eviction: Any communication you've had with your lender or landlord and records of payments that you've made.
  • Bankruptcy: Any tax returns and financial records and bills that show your debts for your bankruptcy attorney.
  • Child custody: Any communication you've had with the child's other parent regarding custody for your family law attorney.
  • Criminal defense: Any records you might have that support your defense for your criminal defense attorney.

If the attorney you're meeting with wants to see papers ahead of time, make sure you send them promptly, to give them enough time to perform a thorough review. This will help you have a better conversation about your case.

Also, write down a list of questions that you have, and these don't just specifically have to be about your case. You may want to ask the attorney about their fees, their hourly rate, and when you could expect to see a bill.

What to Bring to an Attorney Consultation

When it comes time for your attorney consultation, make sure to bring a pen and paper. There will likely be a lot of information to write down, and the attorney may have legal questions that you don't know how to answer at the moment. Bring all of the paperwork mentioned above. You can also ask your lawyer what you can bring to a legal consultation to help them evaluate your case.

Additionally, it is important that you bring a sense of curiosity to the legal consultation. That means being ready to ask a lot of questions. The legal system is complex, and lawyers are there to help everyday people navigate it. That means there are no "stupid" questions about a legal term or concept that you don't understand. A good attorney will take the time to help you understand what to expect as your case plays out.