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What You Need Before a Free Consultation

Posted December 13, 2018 | Personal Injury,Texas Blog

A consultation with a Dallas accident attorney is an important step in securing legal representation. Attorneys offer free consultations to attract new clients and offer potential clients the opportunity to learn more about their legal rights and options in civil and criminal matters.

Keep a few things in mind about free consultations offered by attorneys. First, these meetings do not count as actual legal representation, and whatever the attorney tells a potential client during a consultation does not constitute legal advice. The client relays facts about his or her issue to the attorney, and the attorney interprets those facts and provides his or her professional insight into the client’s case. Legal representation does not officially begin until the client and attorney sign a contract agreeing to representation.

If you plan to take advantage of an attorney’s offer for a free consultation, you should bring several items to the meeting.

What to Bring to Your Free Consultation

Even seemingly straightforward civil claims can become very complex, and it is important to provide a potential attorney with as much information as possible so he or she can give you an accurate interpretation of your situation. For civil claims, bring the following items to your consultation:

  • Your personal identification, such as your driver’s license and proof of residence. This helps the attorney check for potential conflicts of interest with existing or past clients.
  • The police report from the incident in question, if applicable.
  • All documentation related to your damages. This may include hospital bills, repair invoices, and any other documents that help you prove the extent of your damages in a civil claim.
  • The names and contact information of witnesses or other parties involved in your claim. This information also helps the attorney identify potential conflicts of interest.

If you are looking for representation in a criminal case, you will need additional documentation:

  • All of your documents from the court referring to the charges against you and your next required court appearance.
  • All bail documents.
  • The names and contact information of any other parties involved in the case, including victims, witnesses, and other defendants.

It is also a good idea to develop a list of questions for a potential attorney. Hiring an attorney is usually expensive; therefore, you need to know that you will get your money’s worth from his or her representation.

Questions to Ask During Your Consultation

The primary goal of a free consultation is for the lawyer to assess the facts of your situation and inform you of the best possible legal remedies to the situation. However, you should also take this time to ask several questions so you can hire an attorney with greater confidence. You should ask these questions during your free consultation:

  • How long have you practiced law? Make sure the attorney’s experience level inspires confidence before agreeing to representation.
  • How many cases have you handled similar to mine? You want assurance that the attorney has handled cases like yours.
  • What were the outcomes of those cases? Try to get a feel for the attorney’s track record in cases similar to your own.
  • Do you plan to settle or take my case to trial? The settlement value and trial value of a claim can be vastly different, so find out what the attorney’s typical approach is in these cases.
  • What are my odds of success with this case? Attorneys rarely want to take losing cases, so be straightforward and ask the attorney if he or she thinks you can win.
  • How do you bill your time? Make sure you are certain about your billing obligations before signing a contract for representation.

Fielding Law accepts clients in civil cases throughout Texas, so contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Once we know more details about your legal matter, we can let you know how our firm can help.