You may have noticed advertisements or sign-up forms on websites for free consultations if you have ever found yourself looking for a Kansas City personal injury lawyer. Many attorneys offer potential new clients free consultations, and it’s important to know what this type of meeting entails if you ever need an attorney. Remember that attorneys have no obligation to offer free consultations, and many do it simply as a courtesy and a way to attract new clients. You should be clear about any additional fees when you make your appointment if an attorney offers free consultations.
What Is a Consultation?
During a consultation, an attorney essentially reviews your claim and listens to your story to determine several things. First is whether you have grounds for a legal claim against another party. Next is the strength or merit of that claim. Many attorneys who offer contingency-fee billing use this system because it helps them narrow down potential clients to those most likely to succeed with their claims. Consultations also help potential plaintiffs better understand their positions and the types of compensation they may secure from a successful lawsuit.
The potential client explains the facts of his or her claim to the attorney and the attorney interprets the legal implications of those facts. This helps the attorney estimate how likely the client is to win, and the attorney will also break down the damages potentially available to the client. An attorney will also likely provide the potential client with an idea of his or her chances of success.
It’s important to remember that a consultation does not count as official representation; it is merely an interview during which a potential client can decide whether to hire an attorney. After the consultation, the attorney will likely offer to represent the client if his or her claim has merit; the client may then decide to form an official attorney-client relationship. This is a great opportunity for the potential client to ask questions, so it’s a good idea to know how to prepare for a consultation with an attorney.
Preparing for Your Legal Consultation
If you are looking for an attorney to handle a legal matter, it’s best to start by providing a potential attorney with as much information as possible about the facts of your claim. Gather all documentation related to your incident before your consultation. This could include photos of a recent car accident, copies of your hospital bills, emails between you and other parties related to your case, or countless other possible items of evidence. The more you offer an attorney to review during a consultation, the more likely you will be to receive an accurate interpretation of your legal position.
You should also prepare several questions for the attorney if he or she offers to represent you in your claim. You should confirm the attorney has the required licenses and certifications to practice in your area, and you should ask about specific examples of successful past cases similar to your own. For example, if you are looking for representation in a medical malpractice claim, then you wouldn’t want to hire an attorney who mostly handles car accident or employment-related claims. Look for a strong track record of successful cases like yours and look for online reviews to see what past clients have to say about working with the attorney.
Most attorneys will offer consultations in person at their offices, over the phone, or they may even offer to visit you at home or in the hospital, depending on your situation. Once you agree to representation, the attorney will draw up a contract and start building your case.