There are countless reasons you may need to work with an attorney: employment law issues, business disputes, traffic accidents and personal injuries, criminal charges, violations of your civil rights, and scores of other legal challenges may result in you seeking legal representation.
When facing a legal challenge, working closely – and efficiently – with the right lawyer can ensure the best outcome.
The first step is to understand the legal issue you are facing followed by thorough research to identify an attorney or law firm that has extensive experience handling similar cases.
Does the law firm you are looking at routinely handle the type of problem you are facing? Do they regularly practice in the court where your case will be heard?
It’s also important to decide what type of firm is the best fit for you. As an individual or small business, you may be more comfortable with a smaller law firm as you’ll be more of a priority than you would be with a mega firm churning through a high volume of cases and clients.
Once you have landed on a lawyer or firm you’re comfortable with, up front preparation for your first meeting will put you on a path to an efficient and effective working relationship.
Key steps in preparing for your first meeting with an attorney include:
Gather All Relevant Documents
This will vary from case to case. For example, disputes involving severance agreements may include signed contracts or communications with your employer such as emails and texts.
In a personal injury case, your lawyer should have any police reports, medical bills, evaluations of necessary long-term treatment, etc.
Create A Written Record Of The Facts Of The Case
By writing a timeline of events related to the case (descriptions of precisely what happened, who said what and when they said it, etc.), you will reduce your lawyer’s need – and time – to take extensive notes during your meeting.
In addition, by compiling this information in advance of your meeting, you’ll be less likely to overlook something that may eventually prove to be key in your lawyer successfully serving you.
Bring A List Of Questions
With the goal of being efficient, thorough, and well-informed, write a list of questions for your lawyer in advance.
This may include questions about the case, such as how long will it take to resolve? Is there an estimate of total costs? What are the likely outcomes? Are my objectives realistic?
Follow The Directions Of The Lawyer’s Paralegal Or Legal Assistant
In most cases, key support staff will have the experience necessary to know what your lawyer will need to provide an effective consultation and begin work on your case.
Listen to their suggestions and ask for a checklist if one is available.
Finally, commit to being as open, honest, thorough and communicative as possible with your lawyer. Remember, communications with your attorney are private.
Your attorney should be an exceptionally knowledgeable professional who is committed to representing you as successfully as possible.
It is extremely important to provide your lawyer with the necessary information he or she will need to be efficient and effective in handling your case. In the end, you’re more likely to see a better result and potentially lower costs by acting as “a member of the team” with your attorney.
At Newton Barth, our lawyers are focused on providing clients with exceptional service, including regular, transparent, detailed communication and dedicated representation.
We are experienced trial attorneys with a track record of reaching extremely satisfactory settlements on behalf of our clients.
Please contact us today for an in-depth, complimentary assessment of your legal needs and how we can assist you.