Whether you are exploring a personal injury lawsuit or are considering enlisting legal help for the workers’ compensation or Social Security disability process, you could be wondering what the cost of speaking with a lawyer is. Moreover, what responsibilities do you have after speaking with the lawyer? For example, are you obligated to hire that person and not meet with others?
The reality is that while it can seem scary and overwhelming to meet with a lawyer (or to phone or email one), it can also be incredibly empowering.
Many law firms offer free consultations for a wide range of issues, and free for you really does mean free. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that often, these consultations are limited to 30 minutes. To maximize your time, you could type a brief summary of what you want to say and organize all of the documentation relating to your issue that you can, including information on any level of responsibility you bear. Also, prepare a list of questions and special considerations.
One fear you may have is that after the 30 minutes is up, you might feel pressured to retain the lawyer immediately. Any reputable law firm does not do this. You should experience no coercion whatsoever. In fact, the lawyer you speak with may even encourage you to seek other lawyers out for free consultations. It is important that you and your lawyer are a good fit for each other. A free consultation gives the both of you the opportunity to assess factors such as each other’s communication styles. For example, some clients might prefer a lawyer who speaks in legal terms, while another wants a lawyer who can communicate in clear and simple language.
You are under no obligation to hire a lawyer after having a free consultation with him or her. It works the other way around too. A lawyer does not have to take you on as a client. The issue of attorney-client confidentiality persists regardless whether a formal lawyer-client relationship is later established. You can speak freely in consultations without worrying that the lawyer will turn around and talk about delicate information to other parties.