What happens during an initial consultation?
An initial consultation is a first meeting between a lawyer and a potential client. It has multiple purposes. First, the lawyer and client are both attempting to see if they will be able to work together. Second, the lawyer obtains some facts about the case to determine if there is a potential conflict of interest and to see if it is the type of case the lawyer might accept. Third, it is an opportunity for the client to learn a little of the law that relates to their case and to ask questions.
After introducing herself, the lawyer will give you an opportunity to tell her about your legal problem. It may be difficult to talk about your legal problem, but it is important for the lawyer to know the relevant facts. It is normal to feel angry, sad or have other strong emotions while talking about a legal problem. This is nothing to be embarrassed about.
Remember, everything you tell your attorney is confidential. He cannot tell others what you talked about. This is called the attorney-client privilege. It encourages people to talk about their legal problems freely with their attorneys. Thus, it is safe for you to speak frankly with your attorney about your problem and you should do so.
After you have told the attorney about your legal problem, she will likely ask you some questions then discuss your legal options and her estimation of the legal fees and costs for your case. Afterward, you may have some questions for your attorney such as
(1) where was your attorney educated
(2) how long has she been an attorney
(3) has she handled many other cases similar to your case
(4) what is her professional opinion about your case
If you do not understand the proposed fee arrangement, be sure to ask questions about that, too.
At the end of the consultation you might hire the attorney, decide not to hire the attorney, or decide you want to think about it or interview one or more other attorneys.