If you need a lawyer, you might feel a bit lost. For instance, maybe you don’t know what kind of attorney you need. You’ll have to locate one who practices a particular type of law.
After you’ve found one, you can contact their office and ask to meet with them. Most lawyers will let you set up a free consultation with no issues.
You might not know what to expect during that free consultation. We’ll talk about that right now.
Setting Up the Meeting
According to usalaw.com “ask lawyers about their experience with cases that are similar to yours. This discussion will help you determine whether the lawyer has handled cases involving the same legal issues you may face. It also tells you what kinds of outcomes the lawyer has obtained in the past.”
Before you do any of that, though, you need to determine whether this lawyer will work for you based on their office’s physical location.
Simply put, if you have to travel too far to meet with a lawyer, they’re probably not the best fit for you. You might hear that this attorney can work miracles, but if you can’t get to them via public transportation or a short drive, you’ll need to find someone else to represent you.
If you have to travel for more than one hour to get to your lawyer, find someone else. You can also hire your attorney if you just meet with them via Zoom or Skype. However, most people want to meet with an attorney face to face before they hire them.
Are These Meetings Always Free?
You might also hear the term “free consultation,” and maybe you feel skeptical. You may feel like attorneys always charge for just about everything.
If an attorney says, “free consultation,” you can take them at their word. This first meeting will simply determine whether the lawyer wants to represent you. They’re usually willing to take some time to meet with you so they can figure out whether they’re a good candidate based on your particular need or legal trouble.
If you want to make sure that free means free, you can contact their office staff. They can reassure you that you don’t have to pay anything for this initial meeting.
The Meeting’s Structure
Once you set up a time and meet with the lawyer, you can tell them everything about your case. If it’s something like a personal injury lawsuit, they’ll want to know all about the details. Whatever you can think of to tell them that is relevant to the situation, they’ll want to hear about it.
Then, they will probably have some questions for you. They’re likely still trying to figure out whether they’re the best choice to represent you. They’ll want to know what evidence you have to back up your assertions.
You might bring any evidence that you feel proves your claim, though you don’t necessarily need to. You may just keep it in reserve, and you can show it to the attorney later if they decide to take you on as a client.
What Comes Next?
After you’ve talked to the lawyer about your case, they will decide whether they can accept you as a client. They might turn you down if they’re very busy and they feel like this case will take up a lot of their time. They may also say no if they feel like you don’t have enough evidence to support your claim.
If they agree to accept you as a client, you will need to talk to them about payment at that point. You might hire them at an hourly rate. If you’re the defendant, that’s fairly likely.
You may know about contingency payment plans as well. If you are the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you can likely set up one of these fee structures. If you do, you don’t need to pay the lawyer anything unless they successfully win your case. Then, you will pay them with part of your winnings.
With contingency payment plans, expect to pay about 30-40% of your winnings to the lawyer in most instances. That might sound like a lot but remember they’re probably putting in a lot of time and energy to help you win. They will expect fair compensation if they can get you a successful outcome.
You will likely need to meet with your lawyer many times after that first one. The first meeting might last for a longer or shorter time but expect to get to know your lawyer very well in the weeks and months to come.
In later meetings, you’ll talk to them about your strategy as you approach a possible trial date. Maybe you can avoid a trial if you show the defendant and their legal team that you have plenty of evidence backing up your assertion. With personal injury cases, the more evidence you have, the better.
You might meet with your lawyer many times after that first consultation, or you could meet with individuals who work for your attorney instead. Your lawyer may have expert witnesses on the payroll who want to meet with you. They may have investigators who need additional information from you as they try to win your case before it ever goes to trial.
If you can’t secure a settlement offer from the defendant that seems appropriate, you may have to face off with them in court. That’s not ideal since these trials can last for days, weeks, months, or even years in certain rare instances.
It all starts when you get the right lawyer, though, and the first meeting can reveal whether you’ve located a good one or not. They’ll want to learn about your case, but you can take that time to find out about them as well. You want a competent lawyer, but also a sympathetic one who will support you during this challenging time.