Maddox & Gerock

703-883-8035

A reputation for being strong advocates, striving to achieve the best possible results for our clients.

How to prepare for your first meeting with a new attorney

For most people who schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney it is their first time meeting with an attorney. Often people are nervous and not sure how to proceed. Others may have an ongoing case with one attorney but are considering hiring a different attorney for the duration of their case. In both situations the client is best served by being prepared for their first meeting with the new attorney.

It is helpful to think about what you want the attorney to know before coming in for the initial consultation. Specifically, why are you seeking advice of counsel? Do you want a divorce? Do you simply want to know what your rights are should you decide to seek a divorce in the future? Are the issues limited to specific issues such as support, property division or custody, or are they more all-encompassing in nature? If the new client can tell the new attorney what type of advice they seek, it will help ensure that the attorney will be able to effectively address the client's concerns during the consultation. Otherwise a client may forget to bring up certain issues during the consultation only to remember later after they have already left the attorney's office.

For most people who schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney it is their first time meeting with an attorney. Often people are nervous and not sure how to proceed. Others may have an ongoing case with one attorney but are considering hiring a different attorney for the duration of their case. In both situations the client is best served by being prepared for their first meeting with the new attorney.

It is helpful to think about what you want the attorney to know before coming in for the initial consultation. Specifically, why are you seeking advice of counsel? Do you want a divorce? Do you simply want to know what your rights are should you decide to seek a divorce in the future? Are the issues limited to specific issues such as support, property division or custody, or are they more all-encompassing in nature? If the new client can tell the new attorney what type of advice they seek, it will help ensure that the attorney will be able to effectively address the client's concerns during the consultation. Otherwise a client may forget to bring up certain issues during the consultation only to remember later after they have already left the attorney's office.

If a client has a case pending when they meet with a new attorney (whether they represent themselves pro se or have a current attorney), the new client should bring all pleadings and orders with them to the consultation. In order to be able to give effective on-point legal advice, the attorney must know with specificity the current status of case vis-a-vis court orders and pleadings.

If there are any outstanding settlement offers, the client should also bring such offers with them to the consultation. No one should ever sign a settlement agreement without the advice of counsel. There have been several occasions when clients have scheduled a consultation with an attorney at this firm and have brought in a settlement agreement to find out whether the attorney thinks the agreement if fair. However, if the agreement is already signed by both parties, absent very unusual circumstances, the agreement is binding. Therefore, even if the attorney reviews the agreement and determines that is not fair to the client, it is usually too late to make any changes to the agreement because the client signed it prior to seeking legal advice.

Finally, it is helpful for the attorney if the client brings in a prepared history of the marriage. If the client provides the attorney with a history of the marriage, and what the client believes led to the current legal troubles, it will help the attorney to understand that background of the case which may impact the advice the attorney provides during a consultation.

In sum, the more prepared a client is for an initial consultation with an attorney, the better equipped the attorney will be to provide sou nd legal advice to the client.

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Maddox & Gerock, P.C.
8111 Gatehouse Road
Suite 410
Falls Church, VA 22042
Phone: 703-883-8035
Fax: 703-356-6120
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