Making the Most of Free Consultations with Attorneys
When you decide to move forward with a personal injury case, perhaps the most important decision you’ll make is which attorney will represent you. The right lawyer will make an enormous difference in the outcome of your case and provide much-needed support when filing a claim.
Before you hire a lawyer, you often have the opportunity to meet with them via a free consultation to determine whether they will be the right fit for the case. As you prepare for this meeting, here are a few tips to ensure that you get the most out of the experience.
Write down any questions you might have.
Before you go into the meeting, write down any questions or concerns you have. Here are a few topics you might want to cover:
Inquire about the lawyer’s background.
You would not hire a doctor, electrician, or any other professional without reviewing their experience and credentials; the same should hold true for your lawyer.
Ask them about the cases they have handled that were similar to yours. See what they have to say about the outcomes of those cases.
Ask what the lawyer would do to handle your case.
Do not be afraid to ask the lawyer about their standard approach to your case type. Remember that during this meeting you want to see how well the personality and approach of the lawyer matches your preferences. Inquire about the likelihood of their pushing for a settlement or willingness to go to trial, depending on your preference.
Find out the availability of the firm.
During your legal proceedings, you will likely have more questions come up. Speak with your prospective lawyer about how they typically communicate with their clients. They may have a preferred means of communication, such as email or by phone. They may also hand off most correspondence to an associate, assistant, or paralegal. See how well their answers align with what you want to see from your lawyer.
Ask about billing.
You’ll want to know in advance how much you should expect to pay. Law firms might have different approaches to how they bill clients. For example, some attorneys work on a retainer, which describes a certain amount of money that you pay upfront. Others are paid only if they win your case, called a contingency fee arrangement.
Write down any important notes about your case.
In addition to writing down your questions beforehand, you also want to write down any important notes about your case to provide the attorney during the consultation. A good consultation requires thorough consideration by an attorney, which means you’ll get a better assessment if you can provide relatively in-depth information about your case.
Bring any important documents.
Bring any important documents relevant to the case. This might be doctor bills or visit records, medical records, or witness descriptions. You should also make copies of anything you hand over to the lawyer for your own records. This will help the lawyer make a better assessment of your case, so they can give you more accurate information.
Your first meeting with your new attorney will help you find the best legal representation for your case. Attorneys offer free consultations not only to decide whether they will represent you, but also to give you the opportunity to see if you feel comfortable with their approach. Take advantage of the free consultation and you’ll have a much clearer picture of whether an attorney is the right fit for your case.