Hiring an attorney is a major decision, and it is important to know that the lawyer you hire can handle your case professionally and at a reasonable price. Free consultations are great ways to determine whether an attorney is a good fit for your needs. Most lawyers and law firms offer free consultations to attract new clients, and these meetings help potential clients understand their legal rights and options in legal matters.
It is important to remember that a consultation does not qualify as official legal advice. During a consultation, the client provides facts to the attorney and the attorney will interpret those facts to the best of his or her ability. A consultation is not official legal representation, either. Legal representation does not begin until the client and the attorney draft and sign a representation contract.
What to Bring to Your Free Consultation
If you decide to take advantage of an attorney’s offer for a free consultation, it is important that you prepare accordingly. You should bring these items to a consultation about a civil claim:
- Your personal identification. The attorney will need to verify your identity and make sure that representing your claim would not create a conflict of interest with a past or current client.
- The police report, if one exists.
- Documentation relating to your damages. This may include vehicle repair bills following a car accident, hospital bills for treating your injuries, and insurance documents from any related claims.
- All insurance paperwork. Ideally, you should not speak with any insurance adjusters until you have legal representation. You will face much less chance of pushback from an adjuster if you have a lawyer.
- The names and contact information of any witnesses and other parties involved in your claim. The attorney will need to verify that representing you will not create a conflict of interest.
If you need representation for a criminal case, you may not have the option of meeting the attorney at his or her office or outside of jail. If you do post bail and have the chance to find a private defense attorney, you should bring:
- Your bail documents.
- All documents from the court relating to the charges you face and the date of your next court appearance.
- The names and contact information of any other parties related to your case, including victims, witnesses, and other defendants.
Questions to Ask During Your Consultation
It is important to know that the attorney you hire has your best interests in mind and the experience and skill necessary to navigate your case to a successful result. You should ask the following questions during your consultation:
- How long have you practiced? Make sure the attorney has enough experience to make you feel confident in your choice.
- How much experience do you have in this area of law? Find out if the attorney is familiar with the practice area of your case.
- How many cases have you handled that have been similar to mine? Ask about past successful cases similar to your own.
- Do you think I can win my case? It is definitely worth asking directly if the attorney thinks you can win.
- Will you try to settle or go to trial? Settlement and trial can lead to vastly different outcomes, so find out the attorney’s preferred approach.
- How much do you think my claim is worth? The attorney should be able to provide a ballpark estimate once he or she has the details of your claim.
- How do you bill your time and expenses? Make sure you are comfortable with the attorney’s billing structure before agreeing to representation.
Hiring a personal injury attorney is a serious decision, so it is vital to take your time and find the right attorney for you. If you or a loved one is in need of legal services in the Denver, Colorado, contact Jordan Law today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.