Get The Most out of a Legal Consultation
Many (though not all) lawyers will give legal consultations for free. This initial period, involving an assessment of your case, may be the only significant service that your lawyer provides for free, so it is important to try to get the most out of this opportunity.
Once you have decided that you need to consult with a lawyer, you should collect all of the documents that might be relevant to your case. Depending on the type of case, these might include copies of contracts, deeds, or timesheets. Don’t worry if you think something might be irrelevant. Let your lawyer make this determination. It is better to have too much information than too little.
A legal consultation does not, by itself, create an attorney/client relationship. However, everything you say to your lawyer will be privileged and confidential, as if such a relationship existed. Therefore, it is in your interest to be completely honest. If there are facts which are harmful to your case, they will probably be found out one way or another. You do yourself no favors by keeping them from your lawyer at the outset. Without all of the relevant information, a lawyer cannot represent you effectively.
This initial consultation is a good chance to ask your lawyer some questions, and you shouldn’t hold back. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. You should feel free to ask the lawyer how much experience they have with your type of case, where they went to law school, and the like. More prying questions, such as whether or not the lawyer has ever been sued for malpractice or subject to discipline should also be considered fair game. If the lawyer’s answers are evasive or defensive, this should raise a serious red flag.
Finally, you should not be afraid to ask about the likely outcome of your case. While there are no guarantees, an experienced attorney should be able to give you a good idea of your chances of success, and your likely recovery.
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Last Modified: 08-06-2012 04:34 PM PDT
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