Follow these steps to get ready for your first meeting with your lawyer.
The more prepared you are, the less time it will take for the lawyer to understand and help you resolve your legal issue. This could result in savings to you.
- Get organized. Prepare a written account or detailed notes outlining your legal problem or questions. The lawyer must know all the details in order to decide what is important to your case.
- Be honest. An honest account about your problem, including information that may be favorable or unfavorable, is very important. Only if you are completely candid can a lawyer properly advise you. Remember that there are strict rules that require a lawyer to keep your information confidential.
- Talk about how much this will cost you. Your lawyer will be ready to discuss fees during your first meeting. You should be ready to do the same. You can and should negotiate fees and discuss payment plans with your lawyer. Get your agreement in writing and keep a copy for your file. Most disputes about fees happen because there is no written record of an agreement.
- Ask your lawyer questions. In order for your lawyer to serve you better, you must understand all aspects of your case and the legal process. But remember, you are paying for your lawyer's time. It is more cost effective to ask several questions at once. If you call your lawyer every single time you have a question, you may be charged for each call.
- Read all documents carefully before signing. Before you sign a document, ask your lawyer to fully explain to you what exactly it is that you are signing. If you do not understand what the document is about that you are being asked to sign, ask your lawyer to explain it to you again.
- Keep your own files. Don't hesitate to ask for copies of all letters and documents prepared on your case. You should also keep the written fee agreement between you and your lawyer in the file.
- Listen to your lawyer. Give careful and thoughtful consideration to what your lawyer advises. The lawyer's judgments are based on legal training and experience. Remember that lawyers cannot work magic. No lawyer wins every case, and sometimes the best legal advice may not be what you want to hear. Your lawyer will provide advice that has your best legal interests in mind.