1. Talk to the lawyer or paralegal

Before you talk to a lawyer or paralegal, ask if there will be a . Some lawyers don’t charge for the first meeting.

When you meet with a lawyer or paralegal or talk with them on the phone, remember that you’re also interviewing them. They are not just getting information about you. Ask about things like:

  • their experience with similar legal issues
  • how they would handle your case
  • how the law affects your situation
  • your options
  • how long they think your case will take
  • what you should do next
  • community services you can contact for information or help

The lawyer or paralegal may not be able to answer all your questions right away. For example, they may need time to review documents.

Find out about their fees. Ask about:

  • their hourly rate
  • how much your case is likely to cost
  • how often they will bill you for their services
  • what could cause the cost to increase
  • how you can lower the cost
  • if they will work with you to establish a payment plan
  • how much money you need to before they begin work on your case

Tell the lawyer or paralegal about any needs or concerns you have like:

  • for disabilities
  • finding an interpreter
  • safety concerns, for example, you’ve experienced domestic violence
  • immigration concerns

Based on your conversation, decide if you want this person to be your lawyer or paralegal. They should be someone you can work with and trust.

Generally all conversations you have with a lawyer are confidential, even if you decide not to hire them. This means the lawyer can’t talk to others about what you said without your permission.

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