When the expertise of a lawyer is being considered, we all tend to conclude that is a highly complex legal matter being dealt with. Many people who may be caught in a legal situation for the first time may find it intimidating to come face to face with a legal practitioner.
Treat your first meeting with your attorney as if it is a “blind date”. You may have contacted him or her, but you still have to get to know each other better to push through with the professional relationship, or decide not to. Meeting your attorney is, in fact, one of the most critical steps that will eventually make or break your case. Here are some tips that will help you make it a successful meet, whether or not you hire him or her.
DO dress properly and be on time.
It is not about you trying to be impressive. It is about this meeting being a business consultation. You will be facing a professional who is most likely to want to do business with you, so she deserves to be listened and paid attention to. Just like you, the legal hawk looks forward to working for a client who is respectable.
DO ask about his or her background.
The field of expertise or experience of your lawyer is perhaps the biggest factor for determining his or her capability to defend or represent you. Ask about the attorney’s background, the law firm she is in, her clients and cases handled.
DO share relevant information.
Your lawyer is aching to know what your case is. It is best that she or he knows about it from the get-go, and it is in your best interest to be honest. The information you share will be subject to attorney-client privilege and you are protected by confidentiality terms under the law. Initially, your attorney will paint the bigger picture for you and give you a legally reasonable way out.
DON’T hesitate to ask about fees.
Hiring a lawyer is not cheap. There are a lot of fees and expenses you may need to pay, and you certainly do not want to be unpleasantly surprised within the duration of the case. Ask about retainer fees, consultation fees, hourly rates and miscellaneous charges such as printing and recopying of documents. Also, if you decide to hire the lawyer, he or she may ask for a retainer to start doing the work for you. Be clear about your financial status, and be sure you have the capacity to pay for more down the road.
DON’T show lack of cooperation.
The legal practitioner you are talking to is most likely able to “read” you and see how you will cooperate within the duration of the case. You can expect some general questions relating to the case to be thrown at you; try to answer them honestly and reciprocate his or her interest in it.