Lawyers are often willing to speak to you (either for free or for a fixed fee) before you ask them to carry out work for you. This might happen either in person or over the phone.
Before the meeting, make sure you:
When you first meet with your lawyer, make sure you find out:
Ask questions and be open and honest about what you want to understand.
Below are some questions you might ask (select “+” to expand).
Lawyers work in different ways. There are many reasons for this such as the type of legal work or service offered.
It is best not to assume that you will be able to meet with your lawyer whenever you want to. Find out how many times you can I have a face-to-face meeting with them and how else you can contact them.
Alternatively, you might not be expecting to meet your lawyer face-to-face. Find out if they will need to meet with them in person and where.
You might like the lawyer that you meet and be confident that they can work well on your case. But sometimes other members of staff will also work on a case, and this might include junior staff.
Find out if:
Lawyers communicate with their clients in different ways. If several people will work on your case, ask for the name of the person you should contact.
Find out how:
People sometimes say that they would like to hear more often from their lawyer. But it can take time for a case to progress.
Most legal work includes some documents. The type and number of documents will depend on the kind of legal work.
You may be asked to read or fill in some documents.
Legal costs are charged in different ways.
Some firms set a fixed fee for a specific service.
Other legal services may be charged on an hourly basis.
For some legal work, a no-win-no-fee arrangement can be offered.
Legal Aid might be available for limited types of work
Occasionally work may be offered pro bono, and there will be no costs or minimal costs.
Understandably you will want reassurance that the lawyer has experience with your type of legal problem.
Find out about this – hearing from an experienced lawyer can put your mind at ease.
You think you might have a case, but you should check your lawyer’s opinion.
Most legal work has a number of steps and timescales for each step.
Find out what will happen and when, so you can get an idea of what to expect and how long it will take.
If your case might go to court, or tribunal, there are rules that set out what should happen and when. Find out what will happen, when and what you will have to do.
There are different types of court and tribunal hearings, and your lawyer may represent you at them. But sometimes your lawyer may ask another member of staff or a barrister from outside the firm to represent you.
Find out who will go to court, or a tribunal with you.
Legal words and phrases can often sound like a different language. Lawyers who use these every day sometimes forget this.
The Legal Choices Law Dictionary provides easy to understand definitions of legal phrases and jargon.
Always ask your lawyer if you do not understand – a good lawyer will be happy to explain.
And finally, if you do not know what will happen next, make sure you ask.