About Your Initial Consultation

So you’ve researched local 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. 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.

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. There is nothing wrong with having multiple consultations with different lawyers to give you more options to choose from.

If you do not get a good feeling during the 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 not to disclose any details from your consultation. This 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 getting a divorce and you meet with an 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 that you are going to commit a crime or you were to bring a claim against the 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 doctor’s notes and bills documenting your injuries
  • Employment law case: This could include emails and other communication that strengthens your claims
  • Foreclosure/eviction: Any communication you’ve had with your lender or landlord and records of payments that you’ve made
  • Bankruptcy: Any financial records and bills that show your debts

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 you have, and these don’t just specifically have to be about your case. You may want to ask the attorney about their fees and when you could expect to see a bill.

What to Bring to a Consultation

When it comes time for your 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 questions that you don’t know how to answer at the moment. Bring all of the paperwork mentioned above.

Additionally, you must bring a sense of curiosity to the 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 you don’t understand. A good attorney will take the time to help you understand what to expect as your case plays out.

Now What?

Once you decide on hiring an attorney, the next step is finding the right one for your situation. You can do that by checking out our free nationwide directory of lawyers. The directory contains the names and contact information of attorneys near you who have the right experience to protect your rights and help you find a resolution for your legal issue.  

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