What Should You Bring to Your Initial Consultation?
To better understand what you should bring to your initial consultation, it Is necessary to understand what an initial consultation with an attorney is designed to accomplish. There are several things to consider:
- An initial consultation is not a time when an attorney will be giving direct advice involving your potential case. Instead, it a time for you to present the reasons you need an attorney and for the attorney to listen and make suggestions as to how he or she can be of help in getting you the outcome you hope for. As no one can know the mind of another, it is impossible for an attorney to guarantee a particular outcome; however, he or she can share how best to approach the case.
- You can ask general questions relating to your concerns, such as what the steps are to obtaining a divorce or how child support is determined in your state.
- There is, of course, a cost involved in hiring an attorney, and there are different ways in which fees are handled. During the initial consultation, fees will be discussed.
- Personalities can play a role in how well an attorney and his or her client can work together. During the consultation, you can gain a feel if you will feel comfortable working with the attorney you are consulting with.
- Discussing how you and the attorney will communicate is very important as there will be times when each of you needs to get in touch. Will communication be by phone, text, email, or letters or most likely a combination of all four.
- Will the attorney continue to deal with you directly, or will you be working with one of his or her assistants?
- Will the attorney you are consulting with be the one to represent you in court, or will a colleague likely be the one to go to court?
- Is the attorney familiar with mediation and its benefits? This is most important in situations where mediation is required before a court hearing can be scheduled.
Taking into account the above use of an initial consultation, there are things you should bring with you to make the best use of your time with the attorney:
- Make a list of the questions you want to ask and bring the list with you.
- Bring a notebook and pen to write down information you want to be sure to remember. You are less likely to lose a notebook than loose pieces of paper. Too, you can use the notebook to keep account of the case as it progresses and to record future questions and answers.
- Have an idea of what you need in the way of legal services, including your hoped-for outcome.
- Have an idea of how much money you will be able to spend on your case.
- Be prepared to give your side of your story and what you think is the other party’s view. This can help the attorney get an idea of how complicated the case could become. For example, in a divorce, both you and your spouse have decided to sell the family home and split the profit evenly, or you want to sell the home, and your spouse does not and will fight to keep it. Each scenario brings with it different legal considerations.
- Bring a smile and a willingness to listen to what the attorney will tell you. Cooperation will be a key factor in the successful handling of a case.
An initial consultation is a vital part of planning legal representation for your needs. Many attorneys offer a free, initial, in-office consultation, which can be of great benefit in helping you decide the best attorney for you. If you live in Florida in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange Counties or New York or Washington DC Family Law Attorney Grant Gisondo offers a free, initial, in-office consultation. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and on Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM for new clients. His office phone is (561) 530-4568 to call for an appointment.