There are a lot of things that happen in an initial consultation with an attorney: meeting and deciding whether you want to hire an attorney, having the attorney decide if they want to take on your case, and asking any important questions that are crucial to the details of your case. No matter how complex or simple these things seem, it’s important to know how to prepare for an initial consult.
The Initial Consult from an Attorney’s Perspective
Here at the Colorado Lawyer Team, along with many other law firms, we understand that choosing an attorney is a big decision. We may not be the right fit for you, and there are times when you may not be the right fit for us. That’s why we are more than okay with you consulting other lawyers, and we can even give you some hard-hitting questions to ask other lawyers in an attempt to help you find the best one.
We also won’t try to “sell you” on our firm during your initial consultation: this is the time for us to get to know you while learning about your situation and the details of your case. We never want to scare you with jail or losing your kids or some other horrific consequences as threats if you don’t hire us–to the extent that other attorneys try to do so, we’ll tell you if that is baloney. We’ll ask you some questions, and we expect you to ask important questions as well. There’s a lot that factors into deciding for a firm to represent you. Some of these things include:
- Pricing and financing options
- Location and distance, and
- The experience of the attorneys at the firm
Although we cannot guarantee results (due to it being unethical and often an empty promise), we understand that every case is different. In family law, it’s typically dependent on the facts of the case, the judge, and the experiences that he or she brings to the decision. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t work our hardest and provide our clients with dedication, compassion, and hard work in order to achieve the best results that we can.
Preparing for an Initial Consult
Before you even schedule an initial consult with an attorney, it’s important to first find one that you believe best suits you and your case. Use helpful resources like your local bar association or ask any lawyers you may have worked with in the past for recommendations. Even friends and family may have good recommendations for attorneys.
After you’ve chosen an attorney to consult with, the next step is gather some background knowledge about the firm. Most of the time, this can be found on their website, but if there’s anything you can’t find, be sure to make a note to ask the attorney at the consultation. It’s also important to ask the lawyer how much experience they have in this particular area (i.e. divorce or child custody), and what the outcomes of their previous cases have been. This will give you a good idea of their experience level and how well they will be able to handle your case.
Another important piece of advice is to bring any documents you have with you to your consultation–or even better scan them in and email them to us in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org). This includes anything you feel is important to your case like orders, receipts, and previous documents from another attorney.
It’s also crucial to ask about financing options. Every firm is different with regards to how their legal costs stack up. For example, here at the Colorado Lawyer Team, we have a variety of different financing options, all in an effort to help you receive legal representation. These types include:
- Classic Retainer Model: paying up front with a retainer (family law is billed at an hourly rate rather than a flat fee)
- Internal Financing Option: interest-free internal financing over a period of several months using recurring payments on a debit/credit card of ACH
- Long-Term Financing Option: low, affordable, monthly payments through a third-party vendor
- Third Party Help With Payment: friends and family members can help clients pay for their legal costs
No matter what issues may arise with things like choosing the right attorney and financing your case, we (and many other firms) will do our best to help set you on a path towards success.
What Not To Do at a Consultation
While the attorney is there to help you, don’t treat them as if they are expendable and don’t deserve your patience and respect. Remember that they have just as much of a right to refuse service as you do. Be kind, respectful, and willing to listen to what they have to say. And whatever you do, don’t badmouth staff or other attorneys if you weren’t seriously wronged by them.
Another thing that divorcing spouses should avoid, generally because it’s a low thing to do, is to consult with all of the best attorneys in town just so their spouse cannot hire them (due to a conflict of interest). There’s nothing wrong with both spouses hiring great attorneys, and this can create an extremely difficult situation for the spouse who can no longer find a good attorney in the area. Similar to the last point, just be a good person to both your spouse and the attorneys you consider working with.
Overall, preparing for an initial consultation with an attorney is not a difficult and daunting task, it should still be given your full attention and preparation. From an attorney’s perspective, we know that choosing an attorney is a big decision. We won’t try to sell you on our firm or guarantee results, but we will bring dedication, experience, and hard work to your legal case in an effort to succeed.
From the client’s perspective, it’s important to gather any necessary background information about the firm, ask questions, bring documents, and discuss financing options. If you do all of these things, then an initial consult will involve less stress, worry, and indecision.
Need Legal Help?
If you are in need of criminal defense or family law help, consider reaching out to Colorado Lawyer Team for a free 30-minute consultation. Find more information at https://CoLawTeam.com or call 970.670.0378.
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).
If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and the Colorado Lawyer Team, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.