Most people only consult with an attorney after they have been accused of or charged with a crime and need legal services. However, there are many other reasons to consult with an attorney that have nothing to do with being in trouble with the law.
You might need help from an Idaho Falls attorney to help you draft a will, review a contract or file a lawsuit. Whatever the reason for your consultation, there are a few things you can do to prepare ahead of time and make the most of your first meeting at your attorney’s law firm.
1. Make a List of Questions
Before your consultation, sit down and make a list of all the questions you have for the attorney. Once you’re in the meeting, it can be difficult to remember everything you wanted to ask. Having a written list will ensure that you get all of your questions answered.
2. Gather Relevant Documents
If you’re meeting with an attorney about a particular legal issue, bring any relevant documentation with you to the consultation. This could include contracts, court papers or other important papers related to your case. The more information the attorney has, the better able he or she will be to advise you.
3. Know What You Want to Achieve
Before meeting with an attorney, it’s important to know what outcome you’re hoping to achieve. Do you want the lawyer to take your case? Do you need advice on how to proceed? Are you looking for a second opinion? Knowing what you want from the consultation will help the attorney give you the best possible advice.
4. Be Prepared to Pay a Consultation Fee
Most attorneys charge for initial consultations, even if they don’t take your case. Be prepared to pay the attorney’s hourly rate, which will be discussed during the consultation. Some attorneys may offer a free consultation, but this is usually only for a limited time, such as 30 minutes.
5. Ask Questions
During your consultation, be sure to ask any questions you have about the attorney’s experience, how he or she would handle your case and what you can expect in terms of results. You want an experienced attorney who has practiced law relevant to your needs and concerns. If you’re not comfortable with the attorney or don’t feel like he or she is the right lawyer for you, don’t hesitate to move on and consult with another attorney.
6. Be Honest
The attorney-client relationship is founded on trust. It’s important that you be honest with your attorney about all aspects of your case, including any potential weaknesses. Give them as many details as you can. This will allow the attorney to give you an accurate assessment of your case and what you can expect in terms of results.
7. Follow the Attorney’s Directions
After your consultation, be sure to follow any directions the attorney gives you, such as gathering certain documents or information. This will help the attorney better prepare for your case and give you the best possible chance for a successful outcome.
Preparation Will Differ Depending On What Type Of Case You Have
While the above applies to most if not all consultations with an attorney, how you prepare will differ depending on the specifics of your case.
If you were meeting with an Idaho Falls personal injury attorney after being injured in a car accident, for example, you should bring any police reports, insurance information and medical records related to the accident and your injuries. If you are facing a criminal charge, on the other hand, you should bring any relevant documentation, such as the charging document or complaint filed against you.
If you’re not sure what sort of documentation or information to bring to your consultation, ask the attorney in advance! He or she will be able to give you specific direction based on the facts of your case.
You Should Now Be Prepared For Your Initial Consultation With An Attorney
By following the tips above, you should now be prepared for your initial consultation with an attorney. Remember, the goal of this meeting is simply to gather information and get a better understanding of your legal options moving forward. It’s not a time to make any decisions or commitments — so relax, take your time and ask plenty of questions.