“Wait…what is a consultation?”
It’s not always clear what happens during a consultation with an attorney. This article covers the nuts and bolts of scheduling a legal consultation, including what to expect and how to prepare. First, let's start with a quick definition of "consultation."
A consultation is more than a meeting. It's part of the process of formally discussing something, and in this case - discussing whether or not to hire an attorney.
What can I expect during a consultation?
During a consultation, you meet with the lawyer who may or may not take your case. As such, =a consultation is not a commitment to hiring an attorney. It is also not a commitment from the attorney to take on your case.
A consultation is mutually beneficial.
At your consultation, you speak with the attorney about the facts surrounding your case. The attorney can then give a brief analysis of your case. They may tell you whether your case looks strong or if they need to do more research.
Be prepared to ask general questions about the law, your case, and what to expect moving forward. The attorney listens to your needs and what you want to do and can help formulate a plan. They may tell you right away that they don’t think you have a strong case. This is better to know sooner rather than later.
If the attorney is unable (or, in some cases, unwilling) to take your case, they may explain why. There are various reasons why an attorney may not be able to take your case. An attorney sometimes does not have the bandwidth or expertise to handle the case.
There could also be a conflict of interest, or your case doesn’t meet the requirements they have to take it. They also might ask for some time to dig a little deeper and look at records to get a better picture of your situation.
Finally, they might give you the necessary advice to help your case move forward. For example, if you are in a disability or personal injury case, it may be recommended to continue treatment. Some people might resist full treatment. An attorney may remind you that it is crucial both for your case and your health to continue.
After the consultation is over, it may be decision time. You have to decide if you want to move forward with your case. The lawyer has to decide if they want to take the case. If both of you feel that you are a good match, you could hire them. From there, fee discussions happen, and contracts are signed.
How much will a consultation cost?
Consultations can range in cost. Many firms provide free consultations. It is a way to get clients into their doors without them feeling apprehensive about paying for someone they might not like. Other firms charge a consultation fee. It can be a fixed consultation fee or an hourly fee that ranges from $100-$400. Ask about the fees before you set up your meeting.
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By: Joanna Smykowski
Thervo, 2020 Attorney Fees | Average Hourly Rates and Standard Costs.