What to Expect at Your Initial Consultation With an Attorney
So, you’ve done your research and found an attorney whom you believe to be competent enough to handle whatever legal issues you may have. Okay, what’s next? The subsequent step involves an initial consultation to go over the intricacies of your case. Your impression of the initial consultation manages expectations and determines if said attorney is the best fit for your needs.
The Lead-Up to the Initial Consultation
Before the initial consultation, potential clients usually fill out questionnaires. Potential clients then submit them online or turn them in to the lawyer during the scheduled meeting. Thoroughly examine the attorney’s website. Create a thoughtful list of questions to ask during the consultation. Make sure you bring all relevant documentation (i.e., court orders, contracts, judgments, prenuptial agreements, etc.), so the attorney gets a comprehensive understanding of the scope of the case.
What to Expect During the Initial Consultation?
You have copies of all the necessary documentation, a completed questionnaire, and a list of questions. Now, you and the potential attorney are face-to-face.
By this time, it is safe to assume the attorney has reviewed your case and has some questions of their own. Before they can accept to take you on as a client, they have to evaluate the legal merit of the matter in question. They’ll start by setting your expectations. They usually explain their experience with cases like yours and separate legal facts from falsehoods. They’ll help you grasp the reality of every step of the legal proceedings, from the first day of court to the verdict.
Then they’ll have you explain your situation. They simultaneously take notes and pose queries concerning the material elements of the case. As a side note, everything you discuss during the meeting is confidential, as long as the information you disclose is within the perimeters of the law.
Discuss the case in its totality. Then, the attorney will go forth with developing legal claims and constructing a legal strategy for resolving the matter. This point of the initial consultation is important because it provides insight into their thinking. It gives you an idea of the likelihood of your case being resolved in your favor.
After the attorney provides their tentative game plan, it’s time for you to ask the questions you ever so wisely drafted prior to the meeting.
Good questions to ask during this stage in the initial consultation include:
What are my alternatives outside of going to court?
The answer to this question can save you time and money if there are options available. In cases such as personal injury, custody, divorce, etc., a lawyer has two options. They could try to negotiate a favorable settlement for both parties, or resolve the matter via arbitration and mediation, even if a suit is filed.
What are the potential outcomes of the case?
Ethical lawyers provide you with an honest look at how the case could conclude. Their assessment could mitigate worse, unforeseen outcomes. This includes losing a case due to particular legalities you may have been unaware of.
Who’s going to handle my case?
It’s not uncommon to meet with one lawyer, then have another from the firm assigned to your case. Knowing who will be representing you, along with said individual’s credentials, will help you avoid unwelcome surprises in the future.
What’s your hourly rate?
This question is straightforward. It helps you determine whether you can afford the services of the firm.
After the questions have been asked and answered, it’s now time to determine if you’d like to retain the services of the law firm. If you feel they can help you achieve the outcome you desire, then you may have found the firm that best fits your needs.
Who Are We?
We are Ellender Law Firm. Our firm provides legal representation for clients who reside in Houma, La., New Orleans, La., and the surrounding areas. We specialize in family law, maritime law, personal injury, and criminal cases.
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