Be Prepared when Going in Search of a Lawyer

Before meeting with a lawyer, the person shopping for an attorney should collect and put in order the pertinent documents and information. This makes for an organized presentation, and it permits the client to focus on evaluating the lawyer's responses. Some lawyers charge for a first consultation, some don't. But neither the client nor the lawyer wants to waste time.

On Going in the Door

At the first meeting the client should:

  • ask the amount of experience the attorney has in handling a particular type of litigation, i.e., divorce;
  • discuss a preliminary outline of how the lawyer believes the case should be handled and the time frame for its completion;
  • learn whether or not the lawyer carries malpractice insurance;
  • discuss how the client participates in the case;
  • become acquainted with how the lawyer keeps the client informed;
  • understand how the lawyer bills the client; the lawyer's hourly fee (if applicable); and
  • estimate of the lawyer's total fee.
On Going Out the Door

After interviewing the lawyer, the client should consider:

  • the comfort level between client and lawyer;
  • the skill and experience level of the attorney;
  • how clearly understand the lawyer's explanation of what the case involves; and
  • the lawyer’s billing and fee arrangements.

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