Before meeting with an attorney, it is wise to have a little insight into how the meeting or appointment will play out. Having zero idea of what would happen during your first appointment with an attorney is like attending an interview without prior knowledge of how the interview will play out.
You need to know what questions would be asked during your first appointment, including how to answer the questions. You also need to know the details or documents that may be requested by the attorney. Knowing all these should make your first appointment with an attorney easy, smooth, and fruitful.
That said, in this article, I’ll provide you with an insight into what happens at the first appointment with an attorney.
What happens during the first appointment with an attorney?
During the initial consolation the attorney will generally ask you to provide him with a brief description of what you need his help with. At this junction, the attorney is not asking for the entire story, but a concise summary. He or she will then ask you multiple targeted questions to find out:
- The nature of your legal problem;
- Your legal options;
- Whether the attorney can help you;
- Your prospects of success; and
- The amount of work that will be needed to achieve your aim, including the cost associated with such work
At this point, the attorney will try not to ask much questions than required for him or her to make these judgments. More detailed fact gathering will take place after the initial consultation if you choose to hire the attorney.
As soon as the attorney understands your case, he or she will provide you with the available legal options, the chances of being successful, and how much he or she is expected to charge.
The attorney will tell you the next steps in your case and charge you a flat fee for the work at hand or tell you how much he or she will need as a retainer if you would like to pursue the case. For those of you who don’t know of what a retainer is; a retainer is simply a down payment for the attorney’s work. It is retained in a trust account and remains your money and refundable until the attorney earns it.
This is the ideal time to ask the attorney any questions you have.
Here are some important questions you should ask an attorney on your first appointment
- What is the best means of communicating with him or her? Email or phone?
- How much will they charge for their services?
- How are they going to bill you? On a flat fee or hourly?
- What kind of experience do they have in this area of the law?
- What is the statute of limitations for your case?
Worthy to note is that, attorneys will normally not answer specific questions unit you have successfully retained them. However, they may answer general legal questions so as to assist you with the choice of moving forward with your case or not.
In addition, some attorneys may provide you with a questionnaire to fill during your first appointment. You may be required to fill the questionnaire at home and submit it during the next meeting. If you are provided with a questionnaire ensure you fill it appropriately.
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