Lawyers typically offer free consultations, but be sure to ask when scheduling the initial consultation with a lawyer. Most attorneys meet with prospective clients in an initial consultation, which is the first meeting between you and the lawyer.
What is an Initial Consultation With a Lawyer?
The initial consultation with a lawyer helps you decide if you want to work together in an attorney-client relationship. An initial consultation gives time for you to share information and discuss the goals you have. Attorneys can give you helpful advice regardless of whether you hire that lawyer or choose another one. Come prepared to make the best use of the time and get the most out of the meeting.
Have a List of Questions
Write down any questions and concerns you have for the attorney so that you remember to ask them and leave space after each question to write down the attorney’s answers.
Some common questions people ask at the initial consultation with a lawyer:
- How many similar cases have you had, and what were the results?
- What problems do you foresee in my case?
- How long do you estimate it will take to conclude my case?
- What are the legal fees, and are they billed as a flat fee or hourly?
- Is going to court my only option?
- How will we communicate?
- How often will we communicate?
It’s also a very good idea to bring a notepad or tablet to take notes on during your meeting. Attorneys may request additional information if you decide to hire them. It will be difficult to remember everything that is said, so taking good notes is crucial. The attorney is required to keep this information confidential unless legally required to share it with a court because it is relevant to the legal matter or with law enforcement for a public-safety reason.
Be Open and Honest
You may think the information is too trivial or embarrassing to mention and don’t want to bring it up. Still, it may be imperative. Therefore, it’s best to share it with the attorney and give as many details as possible. Being fully transparent with the lawyer about your situation and never keeping details from them is vital.
Documents and Reports
Gather any documents that might be relevant. Documents include anything filed with any court related to the matter you are seeking legal assistance with. Relevant documents may consist of police reports and witness statements.
Other Relevant Items
If there are no court papers yet, you may have other documents that could be helpful such as:
- Marriage certificates
- Financial records
- Birth certificates
- Cell phone texts
- Cell phone records
- Phone logs
- Audio recordings
- Personal calendars
Make copies of all of the documents that you are bringing for the lawyer and give them to the lawyer at the beginning of your meeting. This will allow them to be looked over during the meeting. Some attorneys may not accept original documents, and you can save your valuable time and money by not having copies made at the law office. Documents can also be faxed or emailed to the law office before the initial consultation if you want, but it’s perfectly fine to bring copies of the documents with you to the initial consultation.
If you feel more comfortable and need support by bringing a friend or relative to the initial consultation, it is fine to do so. It is usually in the client’s best interest to meet privately with the attorney, so your friend or family member can wait in the lobby or come back when the meeting is finished.
The attorney-prospective client confidentiality of the meeting is lost if another person, including a friend or relative, is present during the meeting. Third parties can be subpoenaed to testify against you about what is overheard. Most clients are able to share more personal details on a one-on-one basis with a lawyer and can still have support by having a family member or friend close by.
To avoid interruptions during your consultation, please remember to turn off or mute your cell phone before your appointment begins. If at all possible, do not bring children to your appointment. Leave them with a relative or close friend to allow you to speak freely to the attorney.
Hire An Experienced Family Law Attorney
The attorneys at the Lecour Family Law can help you navigate complex and stressful family legal matters, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Contact us online or call (636) 685-0440 to schedule a consultation. We pride ourselves on offering family legal services tailored to your specific needs.
Lecour Family Law is located at 1270 Jungermann Road in St. Peters, Missouri. We serve clients throughout St. Charles, O’Fallon, Troy, Warrenton, and St. Louis.