You’ve just received a summons or complaint, you have to appear in court, you called around and were referred to a local lawyer. He tells you to come by his office for a meeting. Now what do you do?
Meeting with an attorney can be a nerve wracking experience. You are putting your faith and trust into someone that you may or may not know very well, with high expectations that they will deliver you results. Here are a few tips and things to make sure you bring to your meeting with your lawyer.
1. Tell the whole story. Your lawyer is there to help you and fight for you. Explain your situation as clearly as possible. The lawyer will not judge you. Your lawyer is there to support you and make sure that your rights are represented. Give him or her the entire story, every little detail, no matter how bad you make think it is. I assure you they have seen worse. They will be able to deliver much better results the more forthcoming you are.
2. Know what you want, then listen to your attorney’s advice. Your minor car accident may seem like it’s worth millions of dollars in damages to you, but your lawyer will know how to get you the proper value you deserve. Listen to his or her advice. Know what you want to get out of hiring a lawyer and communicate this to him or her as well.
3. Ask questions! If you aren’t clear about what your attorney is talking about, if the process seems confusing and slow, that’s because it is and attorneys are used to talking with other attorneys. Ask questions, clarify everything you don’t understand. The more questions you ask, the better your lawyer can clarify the details for you. Read through everything your lawyer puts in front of you, carefully examine it and make sure that you understand what you’re signing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Lastly, here is a nice comprehensive list of items to bring with you when you meet your attorney.
- Summons and Complaint from the other side, if any
- ALL your files regarding the other party
- ALL your correspondence with or regarding the other party
- ALL insurance policies relevant to the matter
- Calendars or day-timers if they refer to the other party
- Phone logs and message pads if they refer to the other party
- Contracts with the other party, if any
- E-mails communications
- Tax Returns
- Financial statements
- Canceled checks
- Bills or invoices
- Files from previous litigation
- Files from previous attorneys
Remember, lawyers are people too. There is no reason to be nervous when meeting with your lawyer. They are on your side. We are here to help protect your rights and serve your needs, often in your greatest time of need. Asking questions, being forthcoming and listening carefully to the advice of your attorney will ensure much better results for you and your case.