It can be a big waste of time for both you and the lawyer if you aren't prepared for your first meeting. Being unprepared may also end up costing you money because it'll take longer for the lawyer you hire to get up to speed on your legal matter.
The lawyer will want to know who you are and how to contact you. Be sure the lawyer has your:
You'll want to prepare a chronological summary of the facts leading up to your decision to meet with a lawyer. Important facts include:
Dates are very important. You must be accurate. Get a calendar and mark down dates of when things happened and when you received any notices or other documents. Bring the calendar to your meeting to use as a reference.
Gather all of the documents you have that relate to your legal matter. These can include:
Spend some time thinking about what you may have on hand. Try to organize the documents in a logical manner before you meet with the lawyer.
Sometimes, a lawyer may also try to speed the information gathering process by sending you a questionnaire to fill out in advance of any meeting. If this happens, be sure to fill out the questionnaire and send it in to the lawyer's office before the meeting. Also send along copies of any available documents that may be requested in the questionnaire.
Before you get too far into a meeting or conversation, the lawyer will want to know about possible conflicts of interest. You should bring a list of people who may be witnesses or defendants. If the lawyer or the lawyer's firm represents anyone on the other side of the fence, he or she will have a conflict and probably won't be able to represent you. The sooner you learn this, the better.
Prepare a list of goals that you want the lawyer to help you achieve. Typical goals might include:
You'll want to prepare questions to ask the lawyer. These will usually be related to achieving your goals, since a primary goal of obtaining legal advice is to understand your rights. In theory, no question is too silly to ask. Keep in mind, though, that you don't want to scare a lawyer out of representing you. Questions you might ask a lawyer include:
Putting a little time into preparing to meet with your attorney could save you a lot of time and money later on.