Meeting with a lawyer can be intimidating. Coming prepared with a list of questions to ask can help and create a productive conversation.
Questions To Ask When Meeting With A Lawyer For The First Time
If you have never hired a lawyer before, the legal process can seem daunting. That is why the Guardian Legal Network is here to help. The first step to beginning the legal process is identifying legitimate legal help. The next step is scheduling an initial consultation with a lawyer. This meeting is often referred to as a “discovery meeting” with a lawyer.
If you are meeting with a lawyer for the first time, you should come to the meeting prepared. For most people, being prepared means writing down questions to ask a lawyer before the meeting and having relevant documents on hand. Luckily, you don’t have to think of those questions on your own. Here, we go over questions to ask personal injury lawyers during your first meeting.
What is a Discovery Meeting?
First off, a discovery meeting with a lawyer is nothing to be nervous about.
The meeting is for both you and the lawyer to learn more about each other. During the discovery meeting, the lawyer will be evaluating your case. They will ask you questions to try to understand the parties involved and the issues at hand. They will also go over payment and explain the next steps for filing a tort claim. Keep in mind that most personal injury lawyers do not charge for the initial consultation. However, you should confirm whether the initial consultation is free before the meeting.
During the discovery meeting, you will provide information about your potential claim. This involves going over the facts of what happened to you and the resulting illness or injury. It’s also a time to ask the lawyer questions. Brainstorm questions ahead of time. Write down questions that you have about your case and questions that you have about the attorney.
Not all meetings move forward. A lawyer may decide that they can’t or won’t represent you. Similarly, you may decide that you don’t want to move forward with the lawyer. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the lawyer that you hire. If you don’t feel comfortable trusting the lawyer, you don’t have to hire the lawyer. Initial consultations are not binding on either party.
What Should I Bring to a Discovery Meeting?
You should come prepared for your discovery meeting. You don’t need to bring every single document or piece of evidence that you have. However, you should bring enough information so that your discovery meeting can be informative for both you and the lawyer.
If you have it, you should bring information and supporting documents related to your case. You don’t need to bring everything with you, but you should have an idea of what documents you possess and the information they contain. If possible, make a copy of all relevant documents to bring with you.
Relevant documents can include the following:
- Information regarding your injury or illness. This can include medical records, photographs, or your own personal record.
- Documentation of your exposure to the harmful chemical (or similar, given the circumstances). For example, if you claim that Roundup caused your illness, you may want to bring supporting documentation of your Roundup use. If you claim an illness related to Camp Lejeune water contamination, you may want to bring documentation of living on the base. Documentation can include photographs, videos, employment records, or receipts.
Meeting with a lawyer for the first time can be difficult. The meeting can bring up a lot of emotions and may be the first time you are discussing a very difficult and personal experience. You don’t have to go through the experience alone. You can bring a trusted friend or family member to make the process easier.
Questions to Ask Your Lawyer
We highly recommend writing down questions to ask a lawyer before your first meeting. You don’t have to have a lot prepared ahead of time, but even coming to the meeting prepared with a couple of questions to ask a personal injury lawyer ensures that you don’t forget anything important.
The following are questions to ask your lawyer during your initial meeting:
- What is your experience with this tort? Lawyers specialize in different areas of law. Your lawyer should be experienced at handling (and winning) cases similar to yours.
- What is your legal background? Your attorney should explain how long they have been practicing law and their areas of focus.
- How often do you win for your clients? You want a lawyer who wins for their clients. Ask your lawyer about their track record for cases similar to yours.
- Do I pay even if we lose? This is an important question. Most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. This means that the lawyer’s payment comes out of whatever the lawyer can recover for you. Understand what fees you are and are not responsible for paying.
- What do you need me to do? The lawyer should provide the next steps for you.
- What issues do you foresee in this case? The lawyer should have an idea about what obstacles your case may face.
- How long will this case take? The lawyers should provide a rough timeline of how the case will progress and the next steps.
- What kind of settlement can I expect? The lawyer should be able to provide an estimate depending on the information you provide and the lawyer’s first-hand experience with similar cases. However, it is also common for lawyers to be reluctant to provide exact numbers because it’s so early in the process, and they do not have all the information and would rather be accurate than assuring.
- What are your legal fees? Fee structures vary from attorney to attorney. If the case is on contingency, ask what percentage the lawyer expects.
- What are our next steps? The lawyer should give you an idea of what is needed to move the case forward, including additional information from you.
Connect With a Lawyer Today
The Guardian Legal Network is here to help when you are ready to take the first steps in the legal process. Contact Guardian Legal Network today to connect with an experienced lawyer.
- Turk, Jordan. “Improve Your Client Intake: 10 Steps to Seal the Deal.” ABA Journal, 8 March 2021, https://www.abajournal.com/advertising/article/improve-your-client-intake-10-steps-to-seal-the-deal. Accessed November 10, 2022.
- “Do You Know Our Tips for Your First Meeting With a Personal Injury Lawyer?” Anthem Injury Lawyers, 3 March 2021, https://www.antheminjurylaw.com/do-you-know-our-tips-for-your-first-meeting-with-a-personal-injury-lawyer/. Accessed November 10, 2022.