Finding the right attorney to represent you and handle your case is a big decision. Your initial consultation or first meeting with an attorney is a good way to determine if that lawyer or law firm is the right fit for your case and more importantly, the right fit for you. The purpose of the initial consultation is for both the attorney and the prospective client to obtain and discuss the necessary information to make an informed decision on handling the case moving forward.
The initial consultation is your opportunity to provide the attorney with a better understanding of your case, and what concerns or questions you have about your case. This meeting is about you, the prospective client, and being able to tell the attorney your story. You should be honest and provide the attorney with adequate information so that they can give you reliable advice. Generally, the attorney-client privilege applies to the initial consultation, but there are exceptions to which communications are not protected by the attorney-client privilege. This is designed to help people seek legal advice early and encourage them to provide the lawyer with the essential facts for proper representation of the potential client. You can always ask the attorney what exceptions there are to the rule to ensure that your communications remain confidential. The attorney-client privilege is for the benefit of the client and not the attorney.
What you should bring with you
You should bring with you all relevant documents or paperwork related to the matter you will be discussing with the attorney. This with further help the attorney determine the complexity of your case and the best way to proceed forward with your case. Any accident reports, medical records, pictures, emails and/or text messages, letters, legal documents (if you have any existing documents) should be shared with the attorney.
While not all of the documents or paperwork you bring to the consultation may be used or needed by the attorney in your case, it is always better to share with your attorney in the event those documents or paperwork are needed for your case.
The statute of limitations should be discussed
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum amount of time a party has to initiate their legal proceedings. When you meet with an attorney during your initial consultation, you should always expect the attorney to discuss your case’s statute of limitations. This discussion usually starts with the attorney asking when the event you are meeting about occurred. Depending on the type of case you have, this may be a short discussion, or it may require providing the attorney with more information to properly determine when the statute of limitations may run.
The type of contract and fees should be discussed
Before you sign any retainer contract with an attorney to secure their representation, you should make sure that the type of contract and fees have been discussed. If you have a personal injury or a workers’ compensation claim, you will likely be signing a contingency fee contract. This means you do not owe the attorney any money up front and the attorney’s fees are based on reaching a successful settlement award or jury award. You may have a family law or criminal law matter, where the attorney asks for a retainer payment up front and bills by the hour on your case. There are also flat fee contracts, where an attorney only requires a set amount payment that covers their work for your case. So make sure you discuss the type of contract and fee before you sign any contract with an attorney.
Initial Consultations with Burch Law Firm are free. Whether you have a personal injury claim, a workers’ compensation claim, or even a wills and estate issue. And if your legal needs or claims are not something we can handle or we are unable to help with due to conflict, we will refer you to someone who can.