Getting the most out of meetings with your Attorney
You should be prepared to ask necessary questions and make notes on what the attorney answers and asks you to do. Write down your questions and concerns ahead of time to discuss with your attorney. This is a stressful time for you and it is easy to forget.
Try using the Consultation Notes Card. The example given is typical for an initial consultation. (This will open a new window in Microsoft Word.)
The Initial Consultation
The initial consultation is a very important part of your relationship with your attorney. It typically lasts between 30 minutes and an hour. You get to know one another and you communicate the facts of your case. An efficient attorney can make good use of this time to give you an overview of the way he/she sees your case and will discuss the legal process with you. Your attorney should discuss the possibility of reconciliation and give you a referral to a marriage guidance counselor if you want one. If this is not something you wish to pursue, move on. Your attorney should talk about mediation and possible parameters for settlement based on the facts as presented by you. Remember that your attorney only has your side of the case and his or her opinion of the strengths of your position may be altered based on discovery of facts from the other side.
Cooperating with your Attorney's Requests of You
Your attorney is only as good as the information you provided to her or him. Although it is very difficult to function during your divorce, it is advisable to respond promptly to attorney requests for information from you. The sooner your attorney has the information the quicker she or he can act. This can help bring matters to a speedy settlement which reduces attorneys' fees.
Listen to Your Attorney
Sometimes clients only accept what they want to hear. Their attorney tries to tell them what the law is, and the client is only interested in what he/she thinks it should be. This can result in a ridiculous situation where the client argues with his or her attorney. Sometimes clients will tell the attorney that that attorney cannot identify with the client's case. This kind of dispute can be a terrible waste of time when the attorney is only trying to help. After all, the client pays the attorney for an expert opinion. If you doubt the correctness of the opinion, the best thing to do is to get a second opinion. Be wary of the fact that another attorney may tell you exactly what it is you want to hear in order to get your business. Remember if you adopt an unreasonable position in your divorce case you can expect the other side to fight you. The end result? More attorneys' fees!