If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, and you are interested in meeting with an attorney, you are probably seeing a lot of firms in the Houston area offering a “free initial consultation.” But what does this really mean?
It’s not a trick or gimmick. Almost all attorneys will meet with you and evaluate your case free of charge. You should view this meeting like a job interview. You a trying to decide if the attorney you are meeting with is someone you want to work with, and they are trying to figure out if they want to take on your case and have you as a client. In order to make this meeting as productive as possible, you should prepare for it.
Below are five things you should bring to a free initial consultation in order to maximize the value you get from the meeting.
- Your contact information.
Any attorney you meet with is going to want to follow up with you if they agree to take your case. Be prepared to share the following information with each attorney you meet with.
- Full legal name and any nicknames or aliases
- Home address
- Home phone number
- Mobile phone number
- Email address
- Employer’s name and address
- Work phone number
- A summary of the key facts of your case.
The first thing most attorneys want to know is why the person sitting in front of them reached out. What happened? Why do they want to hire an attorney? What do they need help with?
This is your chance to tell your story, so think about what you are going to say ahead of time. Jot down some notes that will help you remember who the people involved are, and in what order things happened.
It can be helpful to pretend like you are an old timey newspaper journalist and sketch out the “Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How” of the accident or situation that inspired you to contact an attorney.
- Some idea of what winning looks like to you.
If you have no done so already, start to think about what you hope to get out of filing a lawsuit. Are you looking for financial compensation? Revenge? Validation?
If you don’t know what you are looking for, you are not going to find it. So, figure out what your goals are and what winning the case would look like to you.
A legal case is only as strong as the evidence it is built upon. So, bring a summary of the evidence you have, or the actual evidence itself to your meeting. This could include medical, financial and insurance records, photos and video of the incident, correspondence between you and the other parties involved in the case, police reports, etc. Anything that helps you tell the story of what happened is useful.
- A list of questions you have for the attorney.
Finally, you should prepare a list of questions you have for the attorney you are meeting with. Remember, you are interviewing them for a job at the same time they are evaluating your case to see if they want to take it, so don’t hesitate to ask any question that will help you decide if they are the right attorney for you.
You may want to ask about the attorney’s prior experience, rates, or opinion of the case. You will not offend your attorney by asking them questions that anyone else might consider rude.
If you keep these tips in mind, you will be able to take full advantage of the free initial consultation most personal injury attorneys offer. If you would like to schedule one of these meetings with the Sherman Law Firm team, please contact us today.