There are a couple of things I commonly hear when speaking with a new client for the first time:
What’s going to happen?
Do we have to go to court?
Can I go to jail for this?
What’s going to happen to the kids?
Also just as important as the questions you ask me are the things you bring to the table during the initial consultation. Thus I want to give some pointers to any potential clients about what to speak with your attorney about.
MOST IMPORTANTLY, if it is a case where you may be painted in a bad light, make sure that you tell your attorney exactly what you think is going to be said about you. If I don’t know about it then I can’t defend you about it. The last thing you ever want as a client or as an attorney is to have something new pop up in the middle of trial. Be explicit, even if it is embarrassing.
When you fill out the client questionnaire form, make sure you fill it out completely. I need that information to make sure I can contact you. Most attorneys will charge for everything so if there is any opportunity for us to save you money (i.e., emailing you instead of snail mailing you) take it.
Start out with the issue that you have. Most attorneys will give you about an hour for a consultation. Don’t tell a long, convoluted story at the beginning and then leave only 10 minutes to actually get to the crux of the issue. This happens because people don’t want to have contact with the legal system, and it is generally very stressful. People then want to vent. But I can’t help you as much as I want to unless I know what the issue is up front. So be concise.
I hope some of these tips help you understand the consultation process better.