As an attorney, I often talk to potential clients regarding a variety of issues. Regardless of what the issue may be, a potential client can do a number of things in preparation for a successful first meeting or phone call with an attorney. The following are just some of the tips that I have found to be most helpful:
1. Contact information – Have your contact information ready to provide to the attorney. Your name, address and all phone numbers at which you can be reached. Also, make sure that when you provide this information that you specify whether the attorney is permitted to leave a message with anyone else in the household. I often ask this question, but it can helpful for a client to let the attorney know, as well.
2. Have a summary of your issue(s) – Before contacting or meeting with an attorney, give some thought to your issue and summarize the key aspects of your problem. I often find that when people call me to discuss an issue they are nervous and forget details. By jotting down some notes and summarizing your issue(s), this can alleviate some of the nervousness and help you express more clearly why you feel you need an attorney.
3. Have important dates and names handy – Always have any dates and names handy, so that you can provide them to the attorney. One of the first things an attorney may ask you after your name are the names of anyone else involved so that they can determine if there are any conflicts. Also, dates are very important because the attorney has to determine if there are any statute of limitations issues.
4. Have all related documents in front of you – Make sure that all related documents are in front of you when contacting an attorney, as much of the pertinent information will often be contained in those documents. For example, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, having the accident report, hospital records and insurance declaration page, can be very helpful, as it will contain most of the information an attorney will need to determine if they can assist you or not.
Hopefully, if you follow these tips it will help make your first meeting and/or phone call with an attorney a success!