If the time comes to meet with an attorney, it’s in your own best interest to come as prepared as possible. Being prepared saves time and money. Why? The more time an attorney needs to become familiar with your legal issue, the more expensive it is for you.
Frequently, I’ll ask a client for bank statements and other paperwork relating to a bankruptcy or debt issue. They would send back a “document dump”—a banker’s box full of random, disorganized papers. The time it takes for me (or my assistant) to go through the box and get things in order is time charged to the client. Getting organized before the meeting can save hours of an attorney’s billable time.
Here are more tips on how to prepare for a meeting with an attorney:
Documents and Summary
Make copies of everything you plan to take to the meeting. Keep the original documents together and stored in a safe place. Relevant documents might include:
- Legal contracts
- Correspondence (print and email)
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
As best as possible, organize these materials according to date, so the attorney can review a timeline of events. It’s also helpful to prepare a written summary of the facts about whatever issue you plan to discuss. This includes:
- The names and contact information for people involved in the dispute
- Any important background facts
- The day the issue or problem began
- A chronological description of relevant events (including what happened, when it
happened, where it happened and, if applicable, why it happened)
- How things stand right now with this issue
“Bundle” your questions
Many don’t always think to prepare questions ahead of time when seeking the assistance of an attorney and that’s OK . Every time a client calls with a different question that occurs to them – they may be charged an attorney fee for each phone call or email. A more efficient and cost-effective way to get answers in a single phone call is to bundle your questions together in the order of most urgent to least urgent matter.
In summation: a little time spent getting ready will save you time and money if you have to meet with an attorney.