The decision to hire an attorney is a major one that requires preparation and quite a bit of forethought. It is important to know what to bring to a consultation and what to expect from a first meeting with an attorney. Additionally, different requirements exist, depending on whether you need civil or criminal legal counsel.
Remember, not all Las Vegas personal injury attorneys are under no obligation to provide free consultations. Some charge small fees for consultations, but attorneys generally offer consultations to attract new clients. The consultation is important for all parties involved as it helps potential clients understand their legal rights and options while allowing attorneys to pick the cases most likely to succeed. It is also important to remember that a consultation does not count as official legal representation, nor does it equate to actual legal advice.
What to Bring With You to Your Consultation
You should bring several items if you intend to discuss a civil claim with an attorney.
- Personal identification such as your driver’s license and proof of residency. This helps the attorney positively identify you and helps reduce the chance of potential conflicts of interest.
- All documentation related to your damages. If you intend to pursue a civil claim, you must be able to prove your damages. This may include hospital invoices, repair bills, correspondence with insurance claims adjusters, and any other documentation related to your damages.
- Insurance information. Many civil matters involve insurance companies in some capacity, so your attorney will want to know what type of insurance coverage you carry, which carrier you use, and the scope of your coverage that may apply in your case.
- A copy of the police report for the incident in question, if one exists.
- A list of witnesses and other related parties involved in your claim. This is another way to help the attorney identify and prevent potential conflicts of interest.
If you plan to meet with an attorney for help with a criminal case, you may not have the option of securing the necessary documentation if you are incarcerated and awaiting arraignment. However, if you post bail, it is a good idea to find a defense attorney as soon as possible. You should provide this additional information to your defense attorney:
- All of your bail documents.
- All court documents related to the charges against you and your next required court date.
- A list of witnesses, victims, and other defendants related to your case. This helps the attorney prevent conflicts of interest.
- Paperwork from any police searches of your property.
It is also vital to have some questions prepared for your attorney. Consider asking these questions during your free consultation:
- How long have you practiced law? Find an attorney with a level of experience that inspires confidence.
- How much experience do you have with cases similar to mine? Make sure the lawyer understands the practice area of law that pertains to your case.
- What are my odds of success in this case? Most attorneys do not like to take losing cases, so a good attorney will likely offer a realistic interpretation and prediction of your outcome.
- Will you pursue a settlement or take my case to trial? The settlement value and trial value of your case may be very different, and it is vital to know your attorney’s approach to your case.
- How do you bill for your services? Legal services are not cheap, and it is important to be very clear on your financial obligations before agreeing to representation.
If you are in need of legal counsel for a civil claim in Las Vegas, contact Claggett & Sykes law firm today to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys. Once we know the details of your claim, we can let you know how our firm can help.