The Importance Of a Free In Person Consultation
Everyone likes to get something for free, but in this case a free, in person consultation means a lot to both the giver, the attorney and the receiver, the potential client. For both parties, making a decision to represent or be represented by someone in a matter, which can often be life changing, is vitally important. Getting to meet someone in person and be able to “get a feeling” for their personality and compatibility as well as if they are good listeners and seem honestly interested in the unique particulars of your case is essential as often a case can last many months and you will be working together many times. The attorney, too, needs to feel he or she can do a good job in representing the individual (or individuals) and be able to bring the issue to a satisfactory outcome. By making the consultation “free” it encourages people to check several attorneys before making a final decision. Again, this is good for both the attorney and the client, as both should be agreed on working together.
Most initial, free, in person consultations last for about 30 minutes so the client needs to come prepared with questions needing answers as well as pen and paper to write answers and important information down. Reading through an attorney’s web page before coming to the consultation will help give an overview of qualifications, areas of practice, years of practice, awards, professional organizations belonged to, mission statement, guiding principles, and client and peer satisfaction reviews. Questions and concerns a potential client may want to consider can include:
- How often does the attorney handle a case involving your particular concerns? In other words, does the attorney feel comfortable representing someone with your needs?
- What particular laws and guidelines will the case be required to follow?
- Best to worse case scenario how long should the case take to a resolution?
- Will the attorney you are meeting with be the one talking with you or will a junior partner or paralegal be your usual contact?
- What is the preferred method of communication, phone, e-mail, text?
- Will the attorney be the legal person to represent you at mediation or in court or will it be another lawyer such as a junior partner?
- Does the attorney have any written materials with helpful information regarding cases similar to yours such as what needs to be included in full, financial disclosure or how best to verify and describe your assets and liabilities?
- Are you able to do some of the work yourself such as filling out forms and researching information needed for testimony?
- What type of fee schedule does the attorney use?
- Is there an up-front retainer required and if so, if it is not all used will the remaining portion be refunded?
And what about the attorney? How is a free, in office consultation helpful to him or her?
- Most importantly it is an opportunity for the attorney to learn the particulars of the individual’s concerns and needs and determine if a viable case can be created to bring about a desirable outcome for the potential client.
- A time to “get acquainted” and sense if working together has real potential.
- Be able to be upfront with practice policies including what monies will need to be paid by the client and when payment is expected.
- Discuss means of communication and how long it usually takes to return queries.
- Elaborate on any special qualifications, which will be helpful to the particular case such as being a certified mediator.
- Being a good listener is important but also determining if the potential client will listen without “having all the answers” or being unnecessarily argumentative.
- Determining if the potential client can accept any of the blame and/or be willing to look at compromise when this would be helpful such as during mediation.
- If representing the potential client seems outside the realm of advisability, having a free, in person consultation gives the attorney a chance to decline taking the case and, if appropriate, suggesting a peer who could better handle the litigation.
As can be seen, much can, and is, accomplished during a free, in person consultation by both the potential client and the attorney. When looking for professional legal counsel, it is wise to look for an attorney who offers a free, in person consultation. If you are looking for a Florida Family Law attorney and live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange county or in Washington DC, attorney Grant Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation. His practice is in Palm Beach Gardens and his office number is (561) 530-4568 to set an appointment. He sees new clients on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm as well as on weekdays.