Understanding the law is no easy task. And it doesn’t matter what legal matter in which you’re involved. Having peace of mind going into the process is elusive, but can be achieved. It all starts with your initial consult.
Sitting down with a legal professional can be daunting, but also reassuring at the same time, especially if your issue is complicated. Coming prepared to the meeting with the right information and questions will help you and your potential lawyer proceed in a more efficient manner.
Katherine Woodard, Partner of Woodard & Ferguson – Attorneys at Law in Ormond Beach, FL, says time is always of the essence in any case, but cautions not to be hasty when choosing your attorney. “The sooner you can find representation, the better. You don’t want to be put in a position where you have to rush. Choosing the wrong lawyer [just because you’re up against a deadline] can be costly now and possibly well down the road.”
First things first. Find an attorney that suits your needs and then inquire about a consult and any related fees. Following the search, the face-to-face meeting is where the rubber meets the road. Normally from that meeting, you will decide whether to move forward or keep your search going.
Like any other first meet-up, nerves can creep in. Level and ease of communication count for a lot. You will be working closely with this person and their staff. Are you comfortable with them advocating on your behalf?
“Ask as many questions as you can in the time you have scheduled,” Woodard adds. “Don’t leave anything on the table before you walk out the door.”
If feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing a legal professional and/or simply don’t know where to begin, there are resources to point you in the right direction. The Florida Bar Association offers a Lawyer Referral Service to the public. You can submit a request online (or call) and get matched — often the same day — with legal options based on the criteria you submit. A reduced-rate consult fee for cases referred by the Florida Bar is a noted perk for using the service.
Regardless of what route you take to find and retain legal representation, the decision with whom you go to battle is ultimately up to you.
Taking the first step can be the hardest. Don’t wait. Get help now.