Time is money so make sure you are ready to meet with your attorney for the first time.
It can all be very overwhelming. Finding yourself in a situation where you need legal assistance and the notion that getting the legal assistance you need may be very expensive. This is why it is important to prepare for your initial meeting with an attorney.
A consultation with an attorney is your opportunity to speak with an attorney for a set period of time, (usually 30 minutes to an hour) and explain to them your situation. The attorney will give you their feedback on the best way to move forward. They will explain how the law is applied in your situation and their best guesstimate of what helping you with your legal matter might cost.
Here are some guidelines that will help you make the most of your initial consultation.
Take some time to write down the basics.
Legal issues, disputes, and potential lawsuits are very emotional events. This being said, it is important to take some time writing down or typing up the problem or issues exactly as you see them to take with you to your consultation with an attorney. This write up should serve as a reminder for you to mention all the important details an attorney may need to know about your case. If you are nervous or afraid you may become emotional, type it out in paragraph form and read it to the lawyer. Or, simply put together some concise bullet points that you can refer to. Once you have done this, go back through what you have written and edit it. Is it overly emotional? Do you get off into the weeds about other issues that do not necessarily pertain the the central issue or argument? Did you write down dates, times or the names of potential witnesses to the issues at hand? It is important that you remember the key points while you are having your initial discussion. You do not want to leave your consultation only to realize later you forgot to share or mention important facts. Remember, after you present your facts, you want to make sure there is plenty of time left in your consultation for the lawyer to ask you questions and present possible solutions.
Documents, Documents, Documents
Any documentation you have about your case is important! Whether it be invoices, emails, or letters from opposing attorneys documents that gives detail or corroborates the issues you are stating should definitely accompany you to your consultation with an attorney. The attorney will be able to quickly look over the documents for a clearer picture of the issues at hand.
Time is of the Essence!
Especially in circumstances where you have already been contacted by an opposing attorney, time is of the essence. There are strict time frames that may need to be adhered to. Also, depending on the nature of your legal matter, there may be statutes of limitations to consider. Do not spend days, weeks, or months simply hoping the situation will go away or improve on its own. Set up a consultation as soon as you can so you will know how to move forward.
The Truth. The Whole Truth.
Look, attorneys know human nature almost as well as they know the law. They know that no one is perfect. So when it comes to disputes, attorneys are not necessarily going to judge you if your behavior was not always perfect with regard to the matter at hand. As such, you should not hide or omit details during your consultation that may make you look, let’s just say, less than perfect. Even if some of your behavior is unflattering, you need to disclose it. Your lawyer needs to know the entire story in order to effectively represent you. Not being honest sets your attorney up to be blindsided down the road and that could potentially cost you your case!
There are lots of lawyers out there. Some better than others. Aside from credentials, it is also important that you get along well with your attorney. You don’t need to be best friends, but consider if you feel as though you can trust them. Do you understand them when they speak with you? Do they seem to care? Are they transparent about the process involved in pursuing your matter? Do you understand the law regarding your issue the way they have explained it to you? Are they giving you an idea of how much it will cost to pursue your matter? Trust me. You do not want to be knee deep into a legal dispute when you realize you fundamentally do not understand the process or the cost associated with it.
Resign yourself to the fact that should you hire an attorney, you will do what they say. For example, if they tell you do not send an email to someone, don’t. No matter how bad you may want to. When you have made the decision to hire an attorney, you need to trust the process. Not listening to your attorney will only complicate matters and as we always say here at L4SB a complicated case, is an expensive case!
Hey, the notion of a lawsuit is scary, but keep a cool head. Stick to the facts and above all be honest in your consultation with an attorney. If it does not seem like a good fit, schedule another consultation with a different attorney until you find one that feels right to you. You are not obligated to stick with any one attorney until you have signed an Engagement Agreement, (a document indicating a certain law firm is representing you in a specific matter) So, until then, try to put the emotion to the side and make a “smart” decision.
Do you have a concern that is keeping you up at night? Whether it is problems with employees, vendors, clients or business partners, L4SB is here to help. Sign up for a Business Attorney Consultation today!