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Meeting with a Lawyer for the First Time: What Do I Need for an Initial Consultation?

Meeting with a lawyer for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you have not had any previous experiences working with an attorney. Untrue stereotypes about lawyers lead to unnecessary apprehension for people who need representation in injury cases.

If you are considering contacting a lawyer for a consultation, read our guide below to prepare.

What is a Legal Consultation?

A legal consultation is the initial meeting between a potential lawyer and client. These meetings allow the client to discuss their case with an attorney. Then, the attorney can give an overview of their recommended course of action.

These meetings are not a commitment. They give the client a chance to decide if they want to choose the lawyer as their representation. The lawyer also determines if they think they can represent the client.

How Much Will a Consultation with a Lawyer Cost?

Many law firms, like Eng & Woods, provide potential clients with a free initial consultation to review the circumstances of your case. There is no charge or commitment for this consultation. It is an opportunity for you to meet and discuss your case, allowing the attorney to determine if they can help and for both of you to decide if the fit is right. 

What Should I Bring to the Legal Consultation?

Once you have set up a consultation with a lawyer, you need to make sure you have the right information and tools to make the most of your meeting.

Useful Information and Documentation

Whenever you have an initial consultation, you are trying to give the lawyer a full picture of your situation. Walk them through your injury, how it occurred and where your injury status is now. Here are a few items that will make the conversation easier:

Detailed injury notes: Detailed notes will help the lawyer see how your injury occurred and what the cause was. A record of events is critical to building a successful case. In your notes, you should include:

  • Date of the injury
  • Time of injury
  • Location of injury
  • Cause of injury
  • Extent of injury 
  • How the injury affects your quality of life

Police or accident reports: Official reports are an excellent way to build credibility for your case.

Witness accounts: Witness accounts will help prove that negligence caused your injury and strengthen your case.

Photographs: Pictures increase the likelihood of success in your case.

Remember, whenever you discuss a case with a potential lawyer, you need to be honest with them about the situation. To represent you to the best of their ability, they need details about every angle of your injury case to address possible litigation complications.

Questions to Ask a Personal Injury Lawyer

During the initial consultation, the lawyer will have several questions about your case. You will also want to ask questions to ensure the relationship will work out for both sides.

What types of cases have you handled in the past?

How long have you practiced in the area?

  • State laws can vary. You should know how long the lawyer has practiced in your state. 

What is their verdict record?

  • You deserve to know what type of results your potential lawyer has produced in the past for their clients.

How aggressive are you in pursuing claims versus settling?

  • Some lawyers are great at negotiating outside of court and delivering strong settlement offers. Others will battle out your case in court for the set amount they’ve determined your case is worth.

What are the legal fees?

  • Legal fees are an essential part of every attorney-client relationship and are charged differently across firms. Some will charge an hourly rate with a retainer, while others may ask for a contingency fee. An excellent lawyer is upfront and transparent about the costs.

What is your communication plan with clients?

Other Items You Will Want to Bring

Bring something for taking notes. Whether paper and pencil or your phone, be ready to write down any details you will need for the case moving forward.

Post Consultation: Considerations for Making Your Decision

After you have your initial consultation with potential representation, you will need to decide if the lawyer-client relationship is right for you and your case. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:

Talk with Others and Do Some Research

Research prospective attorneys before the meeting, see what online reviews say about the law firm. Take a quick look at Google reviews or to see how their other client’s experiences were.

If you have a friend or family member who worked with this law firm before and is willing to share their experience, talk with them to get their opinion.

Trust Your Gut

Your final decision will come down to your experience in the consultation. Were the law team members genuine and friendly? Were they straightforward and realistic about how much they thought your claim was worth? Did they seem to be trustworthy? Whenever you choose your lawyer, you are trusting them to make decisions in your best interest. 

Talk with a Law Firm That Will Fight for You

If you have recently been injured due to someone else’s negligence on the job, in an auto accident or receiving medical treatment, contact Eng and Woods, Attorneys at Law, to set up a free consultation. We pride ourselves on excellent lawyer-client relationships, experienced legal practice and proven results.

For more information about personal injury cases, visit our blog.

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    1000 West Nifong Boulevard, Building 7
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    Columbia, Missouri 65203
    Phone: 573-874-4190
    Fax: 573-874-4192
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