Before meeting with a lawyer, it is helpful to prepare a summary of the facts about your situation. In many cases, it is helpful to create a chronology of events, which can be sent to the lawyer prior to the first meeting so that legal issues can be identified and more meaningful questions can be explored at the meeting. It is also critical that your lawyer knows any particular facts or unique circumstances about either the matter or your business or personal situation that might affect the case. Sometimes this is difficult to determine in advance. If you are in doubt, raise it with your lawyer. The information you give to your lawyer will be privileged. This means that it cannot and will not be disclosed to anyone without your consent.
Most often, fees are charged according to the amount of time the lawyer spends on a matter. However, there are many billing options available for clients and you should discuss these options with your lawyer at the outset of the lawyer-client relationship.
In addition to fees charged for your lawyer’s work, you should also expect to incur other expenses such as court filing fees, courier fees, and printing expenses. You can ask for the amount of fees and expenses to be estimated at the outset of your lawyer’s engagement.
It is important to remember that your lawyer is working for you. While your lawyer provides advice and makes recommendations, it is your legal interests at stake. It is important that you remain closely and fully involved. In many cases, much of the work on a legal file can be done by the client. This can both significantly reduce the legal fees and ensure your involvement.
Every matter is unique. Some disputes may take years to resolve whereas others can be settled quickly with a single telephone call or letter. Talk to your lawyer at the outset about what a realistic timeline is for your particular matter, and what factors might affect or alter that estimated timeline.