Checklist for the First Meeting with a Lawyer
make your Checklist for the first meeting with a lawyer and then Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with zinda law personal injury lawyers
The law and lawsuits can be overwhelming topics for people without legal experience. An educated and experienced personal injury attorney is your resource; he or she can help you navigate the legal system.
You may wonder what to do when meeting with a lawyer for the first time and may want to know how you can prepare to make the most of your initial meeting. This checklist for the first meeting with a lawyer can serve as a guide to you the next time you meet with a lawyer. For example, when first meeting with a lawyer, prepare a few documents and write down any questions for the lawyer in advance.
checklist for the first meeting with a lawyer
Meeting with a lawyer to discuss your legal issues may seem overwhelming at first. A good, compassionate lawyer is there to help you by walking you through the legal process, answering your questions, and advocating for your rights. While experienced lawyers have helped people at all stages of a claim or lawsuit, it may be helpful for you to have a plan in place before first meeting with a lawyer so that you are well prepared to help them help you. Consider the following checklist for the first meeting with a lawyer.
Locate an Attorney
Do some research and look for an attorney who focuses his or her legal practice on your type of legal issue. Scheduling a meeting with an attorney who has already settled cases of your type will ensure that they are experienced. If you already have a lawyer that you have worked with in the past, it may be helpful to ask them for a recommendation if they do not practice personal injury.
First impressions are important, so when first meeting with a lawyer, make sure to dress appropriately and professionally. Formal attire is not necessary, but dress respectfully, as you would if you were going to court or a business meeting. Looking presentable can help boost self confidence and will make the impression that you are serious about your case.
Arrive on Time
Attorneys want to help you, but they have limited time. Be respectful and arrive on time. If you cannot make your appointment, call their office to let them know you are running late or to reschedule.
Be Prepared to Share Information
Be ready to give your attorney some important information about yourself. You may have to start with sharing basic information such as your name, physical address, and contact information. Your attorney may also ask you details regarding your employment; this information is for client intake and is a basic screening to make sure there are no conflicts of interest for your attorney.
Once the attorney has confirmed that there are no conflicts of interest, he or she may then ask you to share more details about what happened and why you are there. Be prepared to share details about your injury and how it happened, where, and how long ago. Share as much detail with the attorney as possible; the more honest and candid you can be with your attorney, the better he or she can help you.
Ask Background Questions of the Attorney
When you are at your first meeting with your potential attorney, consider asking about their background; not only do you want to get a good idea of whether they are experienced in this area of law, but you want to make sure that you can work together with the attorney. The lawyer should be honest about their skill level and whether they have handled cases similar to yours. Forming and maintaining a strong, professional relationship with your attorney will make it easier for both you and the attorney to handle your case.
Gather Any Evidence You Already Have
If you have any evidence, be sure to bring copies of everything for your attorney to review. Do not worry if you do not have any evidence yet; part of the process your attorney will walk you through is investigating what happened. Relevant evidence includes:
- Doctor’s bills
- Documents from insurance companies
- Medical records
- Police reports
- Statements from yourself or others
Recall the Events and Facts from the Date of the Injury
It is important that you are able to tell the attorney the details of your case as accurately as you can. If you cannot remember, try thinking about what happened for a few days and make a list or take notes. Write everything down that you can remember and go over any evidence you may have to help jog your memory; this will ensure that you are able to recount the event to your attorney correctly without having to pause and remember what happened.
You will need to include details such as the names of anyone or any business involved, the exact dates the accident occurred, and the sequence of the events. It will save both you and the attorney time if you have this information ready at your initial meeting.
Write Down Any Questions You May Have
Think about any questions you may have and write them down in advance. This will help you make the most of your meeting and ensure you do not forget to ask a question. Asking questions you have upfront will save you time.
Bring a notebook with you to write down the answers to your questions. The attorney may also ask you to bring other documents if you decide to hire them. Take note of any advice the attorney gives you.
Meet with the Attorney Alone
While you may feel more comfortable bringing a friend or relative to the first meeting with a lawyer, a third party compromises the attorney-client privilege confidentiality. Your attorney is required to keep everything you say confidential, but the presence of a third party means that what you share would no longer be confidential between just you and the attorney. If you do bring someone with you who is not part of your case, have them wait outside or in the lobby until you are finished.
Try to Remain Positive and Hopeful
Speaking with an attorney about your case may reawaken negative emotions; furthermore, it may be difficult to remember details of an accident or a painful event. You may feel angry about the accident, depressed, or worried; this is normal. Remember that the attorney wants to help you through this difficult time.
Working with your attorney
These tips will help you have a more productive first meeting with the attorney and will be the basis of a respectful working relationship should you decide to hire that attorney. Remember that the attorney works for you and is there to assist with anything regarding your case.
It will also be helpful to you to understand how the firm or particular attorney works when handling your case. Some attorneys will have assistants that handle all of the paperwork, while other attorneys may prefer that you come to them directly with your documents. Be sure to know who to contact if you need to reschedule something and know the best way to contact the lawyer working on your case. Ask when you can expect updates and be sure to follow up with your attorney with any documents they request as soon as possible.
understanding legal costs and fees
A personal injury claim is a type of lawsuit that is usually taken on a contingency fee basis; this means that the lawyer will get their pay from the settlement you receive. You will only have to pay your lawyer if you win your case. If your case is not successful, the attorney will not receive any payment; this means that you will not have to pay anything upfront for retaining and having an attorney.
If you decide to hire the attorney, you will have to sign a written fee agreement that provides details about the compensation and representation. You and your lawyer can discuss how other costs, such as court filing fees and expenses for witnesses, will be paid. If your case must be tried again or if you appeal your case, you and your attorney will discuss any additional compensation.
Get Help from personal injury lawyers
At Zinda Law Group, our personal injury lawyers are experienced and have handled many cases involving victims of a wide variety of personal injury cases. We have personal injury attorneys ready to assist you. Every one of them have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you determine what to do next and to help recover the best possible outcome for your case.
Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys and to locate a lawyer near you. You will pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.