4 Things to Prepare Before Your First Consultation With a Lawyer
Do you need a lawyer to advise you and/or advocate for you? If your answer is yes, this article will help you confidently approach your first consultation with your lawyer. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “Above all else, preparation is the key to success.” So here are 5 things to prepare for to ensure the success of your first consultation with your attorney.
Do you need a lawyer to advise you and/or advocate for you? If your answer is yes, this article will help you approach your first meeting with your lawyer with confidence. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “Above all else, preparation is the key to success.” So here are 5 things to prepare to ensure the success of your first meeting with your lawyer.
1. The Presentation of Your Request
After making sure that the lawyer you are going to meet with is competent to handle your case (indeed, lawyers are often specialized by subject matter), you should prepare a summary of your request.
This step is particularly important for several reasons. First of all, it allows you to calmly rethink all the elements of your request and formulate them clearly. It is not uncommon for ideas that seem clear at first glance to be less so when spoken. Writing a summary of your claim will allow you to reread it to ensure that the presentation is as clear as possible. This is important so that the lawyer knows how best to help you.
In addition, preparing a summary of the situation beforehand allows you to maintain a certain objectivity. Indeed, in some cases, it can be difficult to keep a cool head. This is the case in divorce, inheritance, land disputes, or other corporate disputes. Writing a summary of your claims can allow you to step back and give an accurate account of the situation.
2. The Chronology of Events
In order for the lawyer to best assess your situation, it is necessary that he have as much information as possible. Indeed, he is called upon to intervene in a situation in which he has not been involved. Therefore, in order to advise you and/or represent you in the best possible way, he or she must know all the details of the situation from the beginning.
Preparing a chronology of events ensures that you will not miss important milestones. Note that it is essential to relate all of the facts, as what you may think is insignificant may be useful in handling the case.
In addition, this exercise will allow you to identify the protagonists and other people involved or having intervened in your case. This may also be useful in assessing your situation. The nature of the relationship between the parties in a dispute can be very important. For example, in criminal law, cases involving family members may have special rules. Similarly, in the case of a dispute between the directors of a company, the solutions will depend on the ties that bind them (family, marriage, etc.).
3. Relevant Documents
Once you have prepared a summary and chronology of your dispute, it is time to gather the documents that may be useful in handling the case. Do not limit yourself to selecting documents that you believe will serve your interests. Once again, it is essential to give the lawyer the opportunity to assess the situation as a whole.
Therefore, the only criterion for choosing whether or not to present a document should be whether it relates to the case. If the document is relevant to your case, it is recommended that you provide it to your lawyer. This way, if he decides to accept your file, he will take the time to study each of them and select those he finds relevant to his task. Payment
This point could be addressed in the “questions” section, but its importance requires that it be treated separately. Indeed, the question of the lawyer’s fees is essential to the collaboration. It is, therefore, crucial to agree not only on the amount of the fees but also on the terms and means of payment. The establishment of a fee agreement is mandatory.
Several formulas exist depending on the lawyer and the type of case. Thus, it is possible to pay by the hour; to pay with a percentage of the sums involved in the litigation; to pay a flat fee; to pay according to the tiered method, or to pay a subscription when the lawyer is called upon to handle a large number of cases for the client.
Once you have decided on a fee structure, you need to find out how to pay. You may not have a high income? In this case, you should ask the lawyer if he accepts legal aid and checks if you are eligible.
4. Other Questions
Your questions are important. They allow the lawyer to know how you want him to help you. They also serve to set the stage for collaboration. That is why it is best to prepare them before the meeting. Of course, other questions may come up during the meeting, but the ones you have prepared will not become less relevant.
For example, you can ask what is the best way to proceed. In some situations, it is better to try to resolve the matter amicably than to go to court (which is often very long). You can also ask the lawyer how the follow-up of the case will be organized if he accepts it (Will meetings be organized often? If so, how often? How does he or she prefer to communicate, etc.). If you decide to initiate or continue legal proceedings, you need to know what the lawyer expects of you. What steps you will need to take as part of the case, etc.
You can think of other questions, but the important thing is to write them down clearly so that you don’t miss them during the interview. Remember, asking questions is good, but writing down the answers is even better. This will allow you to establish a harmonious collaboration.