If you are looking for a personal injury attorney, you have likely been offered more than one free consultation to discuss your case. But how do you prepare for a free consultation with a lawyer? Keep reading to find out!
1. Don’t Accept Every Offer
Before you accept a free consultation, do some research to make sure you would want to work with the lawyer offering it. Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, so you should only schedule appointments with lawyers you are seriously considering.
Potential clients usually meet with 1-3 lawyers before making a decision.
2. Ask About the Attorney’s Background
Consultations can be compared to job interviews. The attorney wants to represent you, and you want to make sure they are qualified to do so (and that they’re a good fit). Ask about your lawyer’s education and legal experience as it applies to your case.
Usually, you can get the basics from the law firm’s website and save your consultation for specifics. For example, ask how many personal injury claims your attorney has handled in the past 2 years and how long they have been practicing in your area.
Ideally, you want to hire someone with plenty of experience handling cases like yours and knowledge of local judges and procedures.
3. Request a Sample Strategy
Sometimes, consultations are called case evaluations. During your free consultation, your potential lawyer should evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your case and begin thinking about case strategies and potential results. Ask your lawyer for a sample strategy or come up with specific questions to find out how they would handle your case.
Good questions to ask include:
- What legal procedures should I expect?
- How long will my case take?
- Will you attempt to settle?
- Can we use mediation or arbitration?
- Will I have to go to court?
Pay attention to the answers your get. If your potential attorney is ready for litigation, and you want to settle quietly and avoid going to court, they may not be the right lawyer for you.
4. Find Out Who Will Be Working on Your Case
Some firms prioritize personal attention and one-on-one time with your attorney, so the person you meet with during your free consultation will be the person working on your case. Other firms take a more collaborative approach, and each lawyer at the firm is a member of your legal team.
Almost all firms have paralegals and legal assistants who will help out on your case, but larger firms may pass off the majority of your casework to these individuals.
During your consultation, find out who will be working on your case, how often you can expect updates, and how your attorney will handle questions, emails, phone calls, and more.
Take the time to get to know your potential attorney and ask yourself whether the law firm and the lawyer are a good fit. If you feel rushed or uncomfortable, consider going somewhere else – or at least scheduling another free consultation to fully understand your options.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk Money
In personal injury cases, lawyers often work on contingency, which means they take their legal fees out of your final settlement or verdict. Find out what percentage of your settlement your lawyer will take and be sure to ask about other costs and fees, so you’re not surprised down the line.
You can also use your consultation to find out how much your case could be worth. Although an attorney should never guarantee results or promise you a specific dollar amount, they can give you an estimate based on the information you share with them.
Personal injury claims are primarily about compensation, so it only makes sense to discuss these factors during your consultation.
Does Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. Offer Free Consultations?
Yes, Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. offers free consultations for personal injury claims. Our team has been fighting for clients like you since 1997, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. We prioritize our clients and offer personalized legal services, so taking the time to get to know you during a free consultation is valuable for both of us.