- The facts of the case. Whether the client is looking for advice about a car accident, a dog attack, or a workers’ compensation claim, the attorneys will ask questions to develop a picture of the story behind the potential claim. Attorneys may ask questions that probe into areas that are surprising or unexpected, because the merits of a claim may rest on grounds that a non-lawyer wouldn’t know to expect.
- The client’s goals. An essential feature of a good personal injury law firm is a commitment to the personal needs and goals of each client. In a “litigation shop” the emphasis can be on high volume, cookie-cutter approaches that leave clients out of the loop and feeling pressured to take steps they’d rather not take. At GGRM we take the time to get to know our clients so that we can incorporate the whole picture into our strategy.
- Potential legal options. Filing a lawsuit isn’t always the right solution in every case. After listening to the client’s story an attorney may offer several avenues for addressing the client’s problem. That might mean suggesting a lawsuit, or it might involve other solutions, such as filing a complaint with a regulatory agency, making a claim with an insurer, or opening a negotiation. For each option, the attorney will describe the overall process and the attorney’s opinion about the likelihood of achieving the client’s goals. By discussing options the attorney gives the client an opportunity to understand what he or she will get by working with the firm.
- An explanation of costs and the attorney-client relationship. If it appears that the client will want to engage the attorney to assist with the case the attorney should take the time to explain how the firm makes its money. Many personal injury cases are handled on contingency, which means that the firm gets paid from the compensation award after a successful outcome. If the facts of the client’s case dictate a different approach the attorney will discuss those issues.
At GGRM we offer free initial consultations to potential clients who are looking for help with their cases. A question that many people have is what goes on in a “consultation.” Is it just a sales pitch for the firm? Is it a trick to draw people into paying fees? The truth is that a free consultation is a good way to ensure that the client’s best interests are served, while also giving the law firm an opportunity to examine whether it can offer the kind of help the client really needs. In an initial consultation there are several important things that will be discussed: