(Transcribed from Audio Recording.)
Typically when you contact a law firm for a free consultation you will speak with a paralegal or secretary who will gather some basic facts about your case. They are acting as a screening mechanism for the attorney so the attorney only has to spend his valuable time with prospects that are qualified. We all know how valuable our time is and how it is in such short supply these days. Imagine if the attorney had to field calls from everyone who called a law firm and screen out all the people who didn’t have a case. This could take an hour or more every day depending on the volume of calls and emails at the law firm, which he could be spending working on your case.
Once it is determined that there is something of merit, as they say, then a meeting will be scheduled between you and the attorney at most firms. In some types of practices, these meetings will be done in person, typically at the lawyers office. In other types of practices, the meetings can be done over the phone instead if both parties agree.
It is best to have as much information about your case as possible in front of you at the meeting because the lawyer will be asking you questions about what happened. In a lemon case, the most important documents are the repair orders or receipts from when your vehicle was in the shop. He needs every detail you can provide as some details you may not think are significant could be important to your case. You should be comfortable telling the lawyer everything, good and bad about you and your case, as the information you give him at the meeting is completely confidential and the rules of ethics prohibit lawyers from revealing client confidences and secrets.
Do not be afraid of anything at this meeting. This is just a chance for the lawyer to meet you and for you to meet the lawyer. You are not under any kind of cross examination. The worst thing that can happen at this meeting is that the lawyer declines your case. You are free to talk to another lawyer when that happens and you are usually wise to do so. Do not take only one lawyers opinion, the same as with a doctor.
When the lawyer is done with his questions, do not forget to ask your questions. Some of the basic questions you will want to ask are about what your case is worth, what experience and success has your attorney had, how are fees and costs determined. I have also outlined a long list of questions in my book which I won’t repeat here but you should reference before your meeting.
So that is basically what happens at the free consultation. These normally last an hour or less. Remember, it doesn’t hurt to talk to someone – its free an there is no obligation. Don’t be afraid, you can start the conversation by email or phone and schedule something that is convenient for you. Good luck.