The initial consultation with a lawyer is a discovery meeting for both parties. The lawyer will use the meeting to better understand your legal issue(s) and determine if he or she can help you. You should use the meeting to determine whether he or she is someone you trust and whose experience and professionalism can help you with your legal needs.

How do you know when you need a lawyer? The role of a lawyer goes beyond the courtroom. An attorney can offer an advisory and supporting role in times of grief or upheaval, such as accidents or the loss of a loved one. It is important to be thorough in your vetting.

What to Do When Meeting with a Lawyer for the First Time

Organize Key Facts

You should expect the lawyer to ask you to recount the facts surrounding the event you are there to see him or her about. In anticipation of meeting with your lawyer, you may find it helpful to take notes, either on paper or on your phone, to help make sure you remember to tell him or her as much as possible.

Finally, be sure to provide the lawyer your objectives and expectations in hiring them. An experienced lawyer will appreciate you doing this as it will provide them the opportunity to clear-up any misconceptions, while also helping him or her determine if they can help you achieve your objectives.

Collect Documents and Evidence

The lawyer will also ask you for any documents, reports, statements, photographs and/or videos you have related to the event, so be prepared to share those. The attorney will peruse any documents and evidence you may have on hand to better understand your case and assess its strength. Examples of relevant documents may include police reports, witness statements, contracts, financial documents, written or electronic correspondence, photographs, and videos.

Do not worry about making copies of the documents before the meeting, as the lawyer will be able to make copies during the initial consultation. You can also email copies of what you want the attorney to review before the initial meeting. This provides the attorney time to review and digest the information before the meeting, which may allow him or her to provide clearer guidance about your legal issue during the initial consultation.

Does the Attorney Provide Free Consultations?

The answer often depends on the specialty. Established legal practices with experienced lawyers tend to charge for the initial consultation, particularly in areas of estate planning, corporate and banking representation and tax-related issues. However, even established legal practices with experienced lawyers may not charge for an initial consultation in practice areas such as personal injury or wrongful death.

It often varies from firm to firm, which is why you should never hesitate to ask before arriving for your initial consultation.

What to Ask a Lawyer in a Consultation

Prior to the initial consultation, you may consider writing down your questions so you do not forget to ask them during the meeting. Here are some questions that clients often ask during the first visit:

  1. How many similar cases have you handled and what were the results?
  2. What problems do you foresee in the case?
  3. How long will it take to conclude the case?
  4. How long will it take to conclude the case?
  5. What are the legal fees and how would they be billed (for example, flat fee or hourly)?

Lawyers in Gainesville, Ga

Local referrals from people you trust are a good way to find an attorney. You can also search online, locally, for highly qualified attorneys who can assist you with your legal need. If you or your business is in need of trusted lawyers in Gainesville GA,, Stewart Melvin & Frost is a highly respected regional firm in Northeast Georgia, with the depth of a full team of experienced attorneys in a wide range of highly specialized areas of law.