Tips on How to Prepare for Your First Meeting with a Lawyer
Winnipeg lawyers at Saheel Zaman Law Corporation help clients navigate the criminal justice system, which can be extremely overwhelming for a person facing criminal charges to try to handle alone. For some people, the first steps of reaching out to contact a lawyer and meeting with the lawyer for the first time also seem daunting. Here are tips from our team of Winnipeg lawyers on how to prepare for your first consultation with a lawyer, which should help to take some of the stress out of the experience and ensure that you get the most benefit from your time with the lawyer.
The purpose of an “initial consultation” with a lawyer
The first meeting with a lawyer, which is also known as an initial consultation, is an opportunity for both you and the lawyer to decide if you want to work together by establishing a lawyer-client relationship. It is a chance for both you and the lawyer to exchange information and discuss your case, and the first thing you need to know is that you do not have to hire that lawyer after the initial consultation. You are in control of who you want to represent you, and you are not obligated to retain a lawyer after the first meeting if you do not think it is a good fit. Whether or not you decide to hire the lawyer to represent you after the initial consultation, it is important to do some preparation in advance so that you can make the most of the meeting.
How to prepare for your first meeting with a lawyer
A productive first meeting will help you decide if you want to hire that lawyer to defend you. Here are our Winnipeg lawyers’ tips for preparing for your initial consultation with a lawyer:
- Make a list of your questions for the lawyer so that you don’t forget to ask them at the meeting. Common topics to ask about at the first meeting include steps in the legal process, potential outcomes of your case, and possible defence strategies. Questions about practical matters such as anticipated costs and the retainer fee or fee arrangements should also be asked.
- Write down a brief summary of the important facts of your case, including dates and names. You can then refer to this at the meeting to aid your memory. Writing down the narrative of your case in advance will help you give the lawyer a clear picture of the sequence of events and the key issues in your case. Don’t withhold information because you think it embarrassing or not important.
- Consider the result you hope to achieve at the resolution of your case. While the outcome will depend on the facts and the law, it is a good idea to think about your objectives and needs, and then discuss your expectations with the lawyer to determine if they are realistic and achievable given the charges you are facing.
- Gather and copy any documents that you think may be relevant and bring them to the meeting (or even better, ask the lawyer if he or she wants you to send copies in advance of the meeting). Examples of documents that may be relevant to your case include letters, emails, texts, photographs, witness statements, charging documents, and police reports.
- Bring paper and a pen to the meeting so you can jot down answers to your questions, important information, or a list of things you need to do. Turn your cell phone off in advance of the meeting so you can focus and avoid interruption. If you are planning to bring a friend or family member to the meeting for support, be aware that the person may be asked to wait in the lobby for some or all of the meeting to allow you to speak freely and to preserve solicitor-client privilege.
Advance preparation for the meeting will take a bit of time and effort but will ensure that you get the most out of your initial consultation with the lawyer.
Experienced Winnipeg lawyers are available to discuss your case
If you are facing criminal charges, don't try to navigate the criminal justice system on your own. Winnipeg lawyers at Saheel Zaman Law Corporation are here to ensure that your rights are fully protected and that you have a strong legal ally in your corner to navigate the judicial process. We have been providing quality legal services to our clients for over 25 years, representing clients charged with all types of criminal offences, including robberies, thefts, and break-and-enters; domestic and sexual assaults; drug offences including possession and sales; driving offences including traffic offences, licence suspensions, and impaired driving; computer offences and youth offences including thefts, drug possession, traffic offences, and more. We take pride in standing up for people charged with criminal offences who require strong advocacy. Contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss your case by filling out our contact form or by calling our Winnipeg law offices at 204-943-9922.