Here are some tips for having your first appointment with a lawyer.
I want you to be well prepared to not feel overwhelmed.
I also don’t want you to go in thinking that the lawyer’s gonna have all the answers or a magic wand.
Set your expectations.
A lawyer can’t gather all the information from you to give you detailed advice in an initial appointment. It’s gonna be broad brush strokes. They should be able to give you, um, a basic understanding of a couple of different options that you may have and some ideas around costs.
Vet out a whole lot of lawyers, and find two or three that you’re gonna have a first appointment with.
Your first appointment may be half an hour or an hour. It may be free or it may be paid, but it’s worthwhile if you have to pay for an initial appointment to gauge whether this is someone you can work with for months of your life.
There’s a whole course on how to find and hire the right lawyer in our Premium Suite.
But what you wanna do in your first appointment is more about working out whether this is someone you can work with.
How do they communicate, and what is the process going to be like working with them?
Do they prefer phone calls, face-to-face or zoom appointments or emails as communication?
How quickly do they turn a communication around?
How do they charge? How often do they invoice? Do you have payment plans? Do you have the option to pay at the end?
Listen to your intuition
You’re picking someone you’re gonna work with for a fair period of time and they’re doing something fairly important in your life. So really do listen to your intuition and feel as to whether this person is someone who you do trust that actually does make you feel good about the situation, that makes you feel calmer, that makes you feel supported.
You don’t want to work with someone that makes you feel belittled or questioning yourself, or that you are being judged. This person is supposed to be on your side and to walk with you.
They’re not gonna be your puppet. That also shouldn’t take the matter over from you either. They should always get your instructions, but they should guide you and give you advice and give you options to make choices.
So gauging how clearly they can describe what the options are is really important for you as well. That’s why I want you to have two or three first appointments with lawyers so you’ve got something to compare to.
It’s really important because if you do go into the first appointment with a lawyer and you don’t compare it to anything else, you may feel like this person is confident and they know what they’re doing. And yes, of course they do. Most lawyers should present that way because this is their job.
You need to dig in a little bit and actually see if this is someone you can work with over time.