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Get Prepared for Your 30-Minute Consultation
Follow these steps to get ready for your free 30-minute consultation with your lawyer.
Ask your self this. Why should you pay any lawyer for a first meeting where you are looking to retain a lawyer?
You are doing the lawyer a favour by giving them a chance to earn your business. Why would you pay for that?
CanLaw advises that you never pay any lawyer for a first meeting and avoid any who try to charge you for what is common practice in the real world.
Organize your case before you meet any lawyer. Figure out what you want and let the lawyer tell you how s/he would get that for you. Get organized and prepare notes outlining the legal questions you may have.
Skip all the gory details. If you want a divorce fine. No need to go into what he or she said or did. Do you want custody, access, is the other side cooperating or fighting., Keep it simple
You would also do well to download the CanLaw Legal Separation Agreement and fill it in and show that to the lawyer. It will organize a lot of the information a lawyer needs and would charge you to get.
The more prepared you are, the less time it will take for the lawyer to understand and help you resolve your legal issue. This could result in savings to you.
The lawyer does not need your life story. Your lawyer needs the basic facts in order to decide what is important and provide you with a good outline of what needs to be done, how long it might take and the possible outcomes.
If the lawyer tells you she charges by the hour, be careful. Most lawyers will negotiate. Ask for a solid estimate of the total costs, including any extras for all the work to get your matter resolved so you get no surprises down the road. If you do retain a lawyer get the estimate in writing.
This is true for all matters, criminal, last will, real estate, malpractice. Organize before you see any lawyer
Make copies and bring all relevant documents regarding your case to your first meeting. Give these copies to the lawyer. Be sure you keep your originals. You are protected by lawyer client privilege at this meeting.
The lawyer you are referred to must have your details in order to decide what is important and how to move forward in your best interests.
Dress for success. You do not want the lawyer to think you are rich, but make sure you look professional, polished and serious. Do NOT chew gum. You want the lawyer to repect you and you want to feel in control, both of which are important.
Be honest. It is very important that you give an honest account of your legal problem. This includes issues that may be sensitive to you or your family. Remember that the conversation your have with your lawyer is private, and cannot be discussed with others without your permission.
Talk about how much this will cost you. Your lawyer will be ready to discuss fees during your first meeting. You should be ready to do the same. It is perfectly okay to discuss payment plans with your lawyer. Get your agreement in writing and keep a copy for your file.
No matter what you and your lawyer determine that your legal expenses will be more you must get a written fee agreement.
Ask your lawyer questions. In order for your lawyer to serve you better, you must understand your case and the legal process. But remember, you are paying for your lawyer’s time. It is more cost effective to ask several questions at once. If you call your lawyer every single time you have a question, you may be charged for each call.
Read all documents carefully before signing. Before you sign a document, ask your lawyer to fully explain to you what exactly it is that you are signing. If you do not understand what the document is about that you are being asked to sign, ask your lawyer to explain it to you again.
Keep your own files. Don’t hesitate to ask for copies of all letters and documents prepared on your case. You should also keep the written fee agreement between you and your lawyer for your records.
Listen to your lawyer. Listen to your lawyer and think about what your lawyer asks you to do. The lawyer’s judgments are based on legal training and experience.
Remember that lawyers cannot work magic. No lawyer wins every case, and sometimes the best legal advice may not be what you want to hear. Your lawyer will provide advice that has your best interests in mind.
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