When you are looking to hire a lawyer for a legal matter, you typically will sit down with prospective attorneys in an initial consultation. The initial consultation is both an opportunity for you to ask questions and get to know the attorney so that you can decide whether you may want to hire that attorney or firm. However, attorneys will also have questions for prospective clients during initial consultations. These questions will help the attorney learn more about the client’s case, determine whether the attorney is capable of helping the client, and also decide whether they are the right lawyer for that attorney. Here are some questions you should expect to be asked by a lawyer during an initial consultation.
What is Your Case About?
Most importantly, a lawyer will want to spend the initial consultation learning more about your case so that they can determine if they have the experience, knowledge, resources, and time necessary to provide you with the quality of legal representation required by ethics rules. It is important to be truthful when discussing your case with the lawyer and to not withhold any details even if you think they are not relevant. Remember that anything you discuss with an attorney, even in an initial consultation, can be protected as confidential by the attorney-client privilege.
What Are Your Goals in Your Case?
A lawyer will also want to know what your goals are or what result you want in your legal matter. This can help them begin to formulate a legal strategy aimed at achieving your goals and needs. If you have unrealistic expectations about what you can achieve in your legal matter, the lawyer can also take the opportunity to explain your legal rights and options to you and help you begin to focus on what is possible in your case.
How Do You Want to Communicate With Me and My Firm?
A lawyer may ask you this question to understand what kind of working relationship you will expect to have with the attorney and their firm. This can include the mode or modes of compensation that you are most comfortable with. For example, do you prefer to speak with your attorney over the phone, or do you prefer emails or letters? A lawyer will also want to know if you expect regular updates on your case and how frequently you will expect to hear from the attorney and their firm. The lawyer may also explain their communication policy, such as a policy of responding to your calls and emails within 24 hours.
Why Did You Contact Me?
A lawyer may also want to know why you chose to have an initial consultation with them specifically, especially if you have many other lawyers and law firms to choose from. This can help the lawyer gain some insight into what is important to you and better understand how you think.
Are You Okay with My Fee Structure?
Finally, a lawyer will also want to discuss the fee structure that would apply to your case and ensure that you understand how much it will cost to hire the lawyer. For lawyers who work on a contingency fee basis, they will want to ensure you know how these fees work and that you are comfortable with the percentage of your financial recovery that the lawyer will be entitled to at the end of the case. For lawyers who work on an hourly fee basis, they will also want to make sure that a client is comfortable with the rates and can afford them.
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The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.