Going into a meeting with a lawyer can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never done it before.
However, by familiarizing yourself with some simple legal terms and other tips that will help your attorney do there job better, you’ll both have an easier time understanding each other and getting what you want out of the experience.
With this helpful guide on what you need to know before meeting with a lawyer, you can prepare yourself to get through the process as smoothly as possible.
1) The Purpose of the Meeting
The purpose of this meeting is to give you and your lawyer a chance to discuss your legal situation, whether or not you’re sure what type of lawyer you need, or if there are any other questions that come up.
The following information will help prepare you for the meeting and make it go more smoothly. The first thing you should bring with you is a list of all pertinent information about your case such as:
✓ dates and descriptions of incidents
✓ court cases that have been filed
✓ medical records related to the incident(s)
✓ police reports (if applicable)
✓ the names and contact info for witnesses involved in the incident (i.e., people who saw what happened)
A timeline of events including when the incident occurred and when you contacted an attorney
✓ receipts for anything that could be relevant to your case (i.e., medical bills)
✓ copies of text messages, emails, voicemails etc. between you and anyone else involved in the situation
2) What to Bring
When you meet with a lawyer, they will want to know your goals for the meeting. They may also want to know what questions you have about how their services could help.
If it’s not something that you can answer on your own, do some research and come prepared with a list of questions.
Most lawyers charge hourly rates, so be sure to ask how much the fee would be before agreeing to anything.
It is also important to find out if there are any other fees involved in the process.
Additionally, make sure to have all documentation in order beforehand – this will make things go more smoothly during your meeting.
Do not forget to bring photo identification when you visit the law office, and plan ahead by knowing where you’re going ahead of time.
Many law firms are located inside large office buildings, so if you don’t already have the address or floor number written down, it’s best to use Google Maps or another navigation service.
If possible, bring a friend along with you as well. Not only will this person provide moral support, but having someone else there to take notes and hold onto documents while you speak can really be helpful.
Before parting ways at the end of the day, check in one last time to confirm how many copies of all documents were made and confirm your next steps.
3) How to Prepare before meeting a lawyer
Before you meet with a lawyer, make sure to think about the following questions:
What kind of help do you need? How much money are you willing to spend on legal fees? How much time will this process take?
How can I protect myself from future lawsuits? When is it appropriate for me to get an attorney involved? Is there anything I should bring with me before my meeting?
• If something goes wrong during my case, who pays the damages—me or the other party?
These are important considerations when deciding whether to hire a lawyer.
Talk with friends, family members and colleagues about their experiences. Ask for references.
And make sure to read reviews online and gather as much information as possible so you’re confident in your decision.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, set up appointments to interview different lawyers.
4) What to Expect
Before you meet with a lawyer, make sure to do your research and bring all of the following documentation with you.
Once you’re in front of a lawyer, they will want to know as much about your case as possible so that they can give you the best advice.
Be prepared to tell them what happened and how it has impacted your life since it occurred.
They’ll also want to know about any witnesses or evidence that may be available for their investigation.
After all is said and done, they should have a better idea of what to recommend based on the specifics of your case.
When looking for an attorney to represent you, check out their credentials before making an appointment.
Not only does this mean finding someone who has been practicing law for at least 10 years but someone who has had many cases like yours end up in favor of the plaintiff.
If this doesn’t seem like something that’s going to happen- move on and find another lawyer!
5) Questions to Ask
What type of law do you practice?
What are your rates? How do you work with clients? Do I need to sign a retainer agreement or pay you up front before starting work with you?
Do I have to come in to meet with you in person? Can we talk on the phone? When will you be available to talk and how much time will it take for us to discuss my case?
Can I call you when I have more questions, or should I wait until we speak again first?
Will you be working with me from start to finish or only part of the way through? Will you need documents from me (e.g. copies of important paperwork) and can I email them over now or send them by mail later on?