The more prepared you are before you meet with the attorney you have selected as your top “candidate” the more productive your first meeting with the attorney will be. Your initial consultation is the time to ask questions you have about the “nuts and bolts” of the attorney’s law practice.
• Will the attorney handle your case personally or will another attorney in the office handle the case?
• Will a paralegal be working on part of the case?
• What percentage of the attorney’s practice involves representing divorce clients? How long has the attorney been practicing law?
• Has the attorney handled cases other than divorce cases, and if so what type of cases?
• If the case cannot be settled, is the attorney comfortable with going to court?
• What is the attorney’s hourly rate?
• Does the attorney require a retainer, which is an initial deposit towards costs and legal fees?
Some attorneys will apply the retainer to the monthly invoice. Other attorneys will keep the retainer on deposit as a form of security for legal fees and will require the client to pay the monthly bill out of pocket. It is important for a client to have a good understanding of the attorney’s policy regarding retainers, including whether the attorney refunds the unused portion of the retainer.
• In addition to legal fees for the attorney’s services, what other types of costs should you anticipate?
By the end of your initial consultation, you may have obtained enough information to decide whether you feel comfortable about working with the attorney on your case. However, if there are any doubts in your mind, you might want to interview a second attorney so that you at least have a point of reference before you make your final decision.