How to approach a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney
If you are looking to hire a bankruptcy attorney then you have likely seen multiple ads that all claim to provide prospective clients with free legal consultations. However, the word consultation means different things to different attorneys and it is, therefore, important to understand what your free bankruptcy consultation will be before you agree to it.
Why is a Free Bankruptcy Consultation Important?
You should think of an initial consultation with a bankruptcy attorney as a job interview with you being the employer. You will, after all, be paying the attorney for a service and you, therefore, have the right to find out if you are comfortable with the attorney and if the attorney has the skills and expertise to get you the best possible outcome in your bankruptcy proceedings.
Many attorneys understand that they are providing you with a service and, accordingly, will not charge you for the initial meeting. This is not only to your benefit but to the attorney’s benefit as well. The attorney needs to conduct an initial case evaluation in order to determine if he or she is qualified to help you and to determine if it is a job that he or she wants.
What Questions Should I Ask If An Attorney Offers a Free Consultation?
While many attorneys realize the importance of providing an initial bankruptcy consultation free of charge, every attorney defines that initial consultation in a different way. There are some questions that you should consider asking any attorney, who is offering a free consultation, including:
- How Long Is the Free Consultation? Attorney consultations can vary widely in duration. Some attorneys offer free 1 hour consultations and charge for any time over 1 hour. Other attorneys do not put a specific time limit on the consultation session.
- Where is the Free Consultation? In an effort to keep consultations short and time efficient, some attorneys will only conduct free consultations over the phone or internet. Some clients and some attorneys prefer face to face meetings, however.
- If I Don’t Retain You, What Happens? The lawyer should be aware that professional responsibility rules in most states limit what the lawyer can do with the knowledge obtained from a prospective client during a consultation meeting.
- Should I Bring Anything to Our First Meeting? Similarly, would you like anything to review prior to our first meeting? These questions will allow you to come to the meeting prepared to answer the attorney’s questions.
A Free Consultation Can Be a Good Start
When an attorney, or his or her office staff, answers your questions about a free bankruptcy consultation, it is important to take note of all of the answers. The way in which the attorney handles your questions and free consultations can be indicative of how the attorney will handle your entire case.
Most clients are looking for an attorney with whom they feel comfortable, and who they trust to do the best job possible in handling their bankruptcy. While this in no way means that an attorney is obligated to give prospective clients free consultations that go on for extraordinary lengths of time, it also means that prospective clients should not full rushed during a free consultation. Rather, each free consultation should be a productive meeting where the attorney and client have a chance to honestly get to know one another and to decide if the attorney is a good match for that particular client.
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