When you go in for your first appointment with a lawyer, as well as trying to understand some of your options, you are also assessing whether you can work with this lawyer:
- whether they are clear communicators,
- whether you feel like they empathise with you and understand you,
- whether they try to hurry you along,
- whether they try and brush off your problems.
You really are going to your first appointment with a lawyer to assess whether you can work with this person. You’re not necessarily going there for comprehensive advice.
You should prepare some questions that you want answered. Certainly have some questions read in terms of the process and options. So not necessarily which way you should go, but how this could play out, the number of different ways and what options are open to you.
Now, before an initial assessment, a lot of firms will send you something to prepare yourself. So if there is something that you need to fill in and return, or something that you need to fill in and bring with you, do that as best you can. It prepares your mind as well as making sure that you’re not wasting the time that you have in that first appointment with the solicitor, because they don’t have to go through the form with you if you’ve already done it.
Please prepare some questions, like:
- what are the various ways that this can play out?
- what are my initial options or steps?
- what is each option or step going to cost?
- How does the solicitor charge?
- Do they charge fixed fee at each different step?
- Can they give you an estimate for the overall costs for the various options?
Don’t expect to come out with all the answers to your legal problem, or clear a pathway. You should come out with a number of options so that you can start thinking and assessing those options.
If you come away for a first appointment with a lawyer with some kind of certainty about which way you should go and how everything’s going to proceed, then potentially that lawyer has taken over the matter for you and is taking your responsibility off you. Whereas this is your life, your issue. So just be careful of that.
The more elements and more complexity that is involved in your matter, then the more certainty the lawyer has, the more you should be wary. Because there are multiple decisions that you need to be making, and multiple options, and they shouldn’t all be made in that initial assessment without all the information.