Preparing for a Legal Consultation
The most important part of a meeting with a lawyer is the exchange of accurate information so the lawyer can better assist you. Tips for making the most out of meeting with your lawyer are as follows:
- Organize any paperwork that pertains to the subject matter. For example, if it is a real estate matter, be sure to organize the names and phone numbers of the other parties you would like your lawyer to contact. Write them down in an organized list and give a copy to your lawyer to keep in your file. For more serious legal matters, keep important papers together. If there are many papers, it might pay to organize them into folders by topic, so you can easily retrieve them and share the appropriate documents with your lawyer.
- Write down the questions you would like to ask your lawyer on a note pad. It is common to forget important questions when meeting with someone and it may not be easy to discuss the topics fully without another appointment. Therefore, it will help to make a note of key items.
- Ask in advance if the consultation is free or at an hourly cost. It pays to know in advance if a consultation will be within your budget or within your reasonable expectations.
- Always compare services, estimated time, along with typical fees associated with such services. Find out if your type of transaction is typically billable by the hour or by a flat fee. Then find out what portion of the fee is due and when it is due. Understanding legal costs can help alleviate concern about budgeting and expenses.
- Ask your attorney how he/she prefers to be contacted. Your attorney may be best reached by email and at certain times of the day.
- Let your attorney know you would like to keep up with the progress of the transaction. Inform your attorney that you may contact him/her weekly or biweekly or more frequently in an emergency situation. This will make it clear that you do not intend to be a pest, but may require updated information on a somewhat regular basis.
By communicating with your attorney better in terms of providing helpful documentation, discussion of timelines and fees, and having a better understanding of appropriate follow up intervals, managing a legal matter will be much easier and less stressful.