You’ll find many lawyers throughout California offer a free consultation, but what does that mean? What does an initial consultation with an attorney entail? If you’re concerned about an attorney’s cost, how they’ll handle your case or what your legal rights and options are, a consultation is step number one. Here’s what happens during your first meeting.
What Happens During Your Consultation
Generally, you’ll sit down with the attorney during the consultation in their office, or nowadays virtually via Zoom or other platforms. The attorney will ask for you a description of your issues, then ask a few questions to better determine:
- Your legal issue
- Your options
- Whether their law firm is a good fit for your case
- Your chance of success
- The work required to take on your case
- What you can expect from the law firm
Communication with an attorney during consultation as a prospective client is generally protected by the attorney-client privilege. That means, absent certain circumstances, you can share your truth with the attorney and rest assured that the attorney will only use that information to better and more accurately assess your situation.
What Do I Need for a Consultation?
When consulting with a new attorney, bring any paperwork related to the occurrence or incident. This documentation may include disputed contracts, insurance policies, prior court orders, police reports, photographs, medical bills, or witness information.
It is also helpful to sit down and write out a timeline and your present recollection of events. Bring that with you to help tell your attorney what happened.
Lastly, if you’re unsure what to bring, do not hesitate to call the office before your meeting. You won’t inconvenience anyone by calling. Our office particularly prefers to have more information or documentation relevant to your matter to get a better handle on your potential case or claim.
How to Choose Your Attorney
As we said previously, the initial consultation is a chance for you to explore your options; to find an attorney that can meet your needs and one you feel comfortable working with for the foreseeable future. Sometimes, the connection with your attorney is the best asset.
Some key factors to consider before deciding include:
- Ensure your attorney has experience where it matters, such as personal injury, car accidents,or business disputes.
- Ensure you felt comfortable talking to your attorney. You’ll share intimate matters, including injuries and emotions, so choose someone you can trust and someone you feel like you can be open and honest with.
- You’ll want an honest attorney who is upfront about your prospects, fees, and the realities of your situation. Do not hire an attorney who will gladly overpromise and under deliver.