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Meeting with an Attorney

Most people who seek legal advice do so in response to a serious problem for which they need immediate help. Seeing an attorney often happens during the most stress-filled time in a person’s life.

To avoid wasted time and added stress, arrive prepared for a productive consultation. Preparation helps you to make a clear presentation of your situation; to focus on the issues and questions that are important to you; and to help the attorney provide specific, useful advice. Here are some suggestions:

  •  Be sure that the attorney with whom you’re meeting is experienced with legal matters such as yours.
  •  In advance of the meeting, make written notes on the specific facts related to your problem. Identify all parties who may be involved. Lay out the facts in an organized fashion, in the order in which they occurred. Don’t omit anything; a good attorney will know which facts are relevant and which aren’t.
  •  Make a list of questions for which you want answers, and arrange them so that you can refer to them quickly.

An initial consultation is a time to exchange information and to determine whether the attorney with whom you’re meeting is right for you. It does not necessarily become the basis for long-term representation. If, after your consultation, you wish to hire that attorney, tell him so. You do not want to leave his office assuming he will be doing work for you, while he leaves the consultation with just the opposite impression, i.e., that there is nothing further to be done.

If you organize your thoughts, are open and concise in explaining your situation, and clearly tell the attorney what you want him to do for you, you will have taken a positive first step toward achieving a productive working relationship with your attorney and resolving your legal problem.