You’ve decided who you want to hire to handle your Illinois legal issue (hopefully someone with solid experience and a good track record). At your first appointment, most attorneys will do the following:
Gather basic information. Your attorney will want to know your full name, address, phone number, email address and maybe some additional information depending on what type of issue they’re handling for you.
Learn about your situation. You’ll have a chance to tell them what legal issue you’re facing, including the details and background. They might ask you questions that seem irrelevant but the answers are probably needed to help them determine if you have a case or what strategy they might take. Be honest.
Ask about your goals. Your attorney should not only ask what happened, but they also should be interested in your goals. For many types of cases, there are different approaches that they can take depending on what you think is an ideal outcome. It’s not usually black and white.
Establish the first or next step. While they might not be able to tell you every step they’ll take in your case, they should explain what they’ll do first. Ask what you can do to help. This can save time and money.
Talk about their fee agreement. This is something that should be handled at the start of a case. Be sure to ask any questions about what the fee is or how it’s earned, and get the agreement in writing.
Tell you how to reach them. It’s a good sign if your lawyer tells you how to get a hold of them in case you have additional questions. Ask whether phone or email is better. And ask when you can expect to hear from them next so you’re not left wondering.
This is a general outline. In a bankruptcy case, for example, your attorney might have you bring very specific information to the first meeting. If you have a potential negligence case, you might just be going over what happened. In any type of case, going to your first meeting prepared with relevant documents and a list of your questions is a good start.
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