If you're in need of legal assistance, the first thing you need to do is schedule your consultation. When it comes to retaining legal counsel, the initial consultation is crucial. It's during this initial appointment that you give the attorney all the pertinent information regarding your case. It's also during this appointment that your attorney begins to formulate a strategy for your case. Because of the importance, you need to be fully prepared for the appointment. Here are four steps that will help you make the most of that first appointment at a law firm.
Gather All Your Necessary Documents
When you meet with your attorney for the first time, it's crucial that come prepared. Prior to your appointment, you'll need to gather all the documentation you have regarding your case. If you've been involved in an accident, you'll need to bring things like the police report, witness statements, medical records, and medical bills. Those documents will help your attorney develop the best plan of action for you.
Prepare What You Want to Say in Advance
When you sit down with your attorney, you're going to have anywhere from about 15-30 minutes. That time will go by very quickly. To make sure you're able to provide as many details as possible, be sure to prepare what you want to say in advance. To help you stay focused, go ahead and write down all your key points on a piece of paper. You can also provide a few notes with each of those key points. Your notes will ensure that you don't leave anything out, especially the important issues.
Bring a Note Pad and Pen with You
Your attorney is going to have a lot to say to you. Unfortunately, you might not remember all of it, which is why you need to bring a note pad and pen to the appointment with you. Take notes of all the important details that your attorney provides you with, including information regarding future appointments, items that you'll need to return, and issues that will be covered at the next appointment. Be sure to bring your note pad and pen with you to each appointment.
Read the Papers Before You Sign
If you decide to retain legal counsel during that initial consultation, your attorney will have you sign documents. Be sure you take the time to read the papers before you sign. These documents will contain everything you need to know about your legal retainer, including how much your attorney will be charging you for their services. While you're reading the documents, be sure to ask questions, and ask for clarification for anything you don't understand.