Once you’ve called an attorney to represent you in a case, you may be wondering what to bring with you for your first consultation. Of course, the type of case you want representation for will make a difference for what documents you need. We’ve compiled a list of the most helpful information you can bring to your first meeting so that both you and your attorney will get the most out of the time spent together.
A Way to Take Notes
You’re going to be learning a lot of information in this first consultation, so be sure to bring something to take notes with. You can bring your laptop, phone, tablet or whatever is easiest for you.
Summary of the Incident
Because time may have passed between the time you experienced the issue in question and your consultation, it’s best to take time to sit and write down as much as you know and remember about your situation. For example, if you were in a car accident, note important details such as the date of the collision, time, weather, witnesses, and a description of the accident. This will help your attorney become familiar with the incident. If there was an ongoing issue, such as work discrimination, be sure to log these incidents with as much detail as possible.
Be honest in this account, as you don’t want any surprises to appear later down the road that will affect your case in a negative way. There may also be details that could help your case that you don’t realize. This is what you attorney is there for. Telling your attorney as much as you know will help him or her prepare your case in the most effective way possible.
Especially if your case is related to an injury, whether it’s a car accident or personal injury case, you should bring insurance information for you and the other party. In a car accident situation, this is especially important to help your attorney communicate with both insurance companies on your behalf.
If your case is related to workers’ compensation, it is wise to bring any employer workers’ compensation insurance information if you have access to it.
Though this may seem obvious for injury cases, preparing medical documents ahead of time will ensure you get your case started right away. Bring every document possible that relates to medical care or evaluation, including work incident reports.
Your attorney can also help you locate these documents if needed, and you can allow them access to your documents for future medical visits by signing a HIPAA agreement so that you don’t have to manually collect these documents in the future.
Be Prepared to Discuss Payment
You’ll want to take this opportunity to establish a payment agreement between you and your attorney. Different types of cases require different legal and court fees. Your attorney will provide a contract agreement, sometimes called a retainer, which will outline the payment plans and what each party is responsible for.
Prepare Questions for Your AttorneyYour attorney is there to help guide you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions about the legal process. Do your research online to try and learn as much as possible about your type of case so you can prepare the best questions possible.
It’s also wise to write questions to ask your attorney. If you don’t already have a relationship with the attorney, ask questions about his or her experience with your type of case. The more confident you feel in your attorney’s ability to represent you, the better you will feel about the entire process.
Remember, the goal of preparing for this consultation is to make the most of your time (and money).
Request Copies of Your Files
It’s smart to ask for copies of all contracts, letters and other signed documents regarding your case and your relationship with your attorney. This will allow you to reference to your retainer agreement if and when you have questions about your attorney’s roles or expectations. Most likely your attorney is already planning to provide these documents, but be sure to put it on your to do list so you don’t forget.
The more prepared you are ahead of time, the less you’ll have to collect later. Not only will you help your attorney start working on your case earlier, but you will most likely save money on the time you spend with the lawyer.
If you’re ready to schedule your first consultation, contact LHL Law today.