How To Prepare For Your Initial Consultation with a Lawyer


The goal of the initial consultation with a lawyer is to help you both decide whether you want to work together. Taking some time to get ready for your initial consultation can help you feel more comfortable, while also giving the attorney the information they need to assess your situation.

Here at Adam Greenman Law, we want our clients to feel safe and in good hands throughout their consultation and our entire relationship. We offer these tips as a way for you to feel more confident about what to expect during our first meeting.

However, whether or not you prepare for our first call together, we’re here to help guide you through the conversation and are on your side. From start to finish, Adam and his team will help you feel completely at ease.

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Schedule a free initial consultation with Adam Greenman Law.

Get organized


One thing many of our clients find helpful is to gather together all the documents and information relevant to their situation.

These details will help us determine whether or not you have a case and how to proceed. More importantly, having this information organized is for your benefit! You’ll feel less overwhelmed and be able to quickly and easily find key information when you need it.

Information needed may include:

  • Relevant dates and locations

  • Details, including what you said and any actions you took

  • Full names of people involved

  • Court case numbers of any pending litigation or court actions

  • Your own contact information

Gather the following documents (as applicable):

  • Relevant photos

  • Tickets or citations relating to the situation

  • Documents from the court or the other side of the case


Discuss your situation


Your first conversation with an attorney is all about you. This is your chance to explain your situation, outlining what happened and describing the details of the incident. Your attorney will help guide the conversation and give you plenty of time to describe the details.

If you get stuck, don’t worry! Your attorney will be there to ask follow-up questions and help fill in the story as needed.

You may find it helpful to create a written timeline of the events that transpired. As you tell your story or the attorney asks questions, you can easily reference these notes. The attorney may also be interested in having a copy of this timeline.


Be honest

We understand some people feel vulnerable when talking with an attorney. A good lawyer will reassure you and help you feel safe. Even so, some people are nervous about telling the whole story.

We encourage you to avoid withholding information or lying about what happened. Honesty is the only way the lawyer can accurately evaluate your situation, provide the right advice, and plan the best course of action.

Remember: When you’re talking to an attorney, you have the security of client-attorney confidentiality. Don’t be nervous — the lawyer is on your side.


It’s okay to ask about costs


It’s always easier to have clear expectations from the beginning, and cost of services is a big part of that. Avoid surprises by entering the relationship knowing how much your attorney charges, as well as your payment options.

Likely the attorney will explain all this to you during your conversation. But aim to understand how they bill (for example on an hourly, contingency, or flat-fee basis) and how much they charge.

You can also ask about any other expected costs — for example, court fees.


Ask questions

You should always feel comfortable about asking questions. While the conversation is a chance for the attorney to understand your situation and determine whether or not the firm can help you, it’s also time for you to evaluate the attorney. After all, the lawyer will be your legal representation.

It can be helpful to write down your questions ahead of time so you don’t forget. And if you think of a new question during your conversation, feel free to bring it up. Remember: a good lawyer will be happy to answer all your questions and will be focused on helping put you at ease.

In addition to the payment and financing arrangements we mentioned above, here are a few more things you may want to learn during your conversation:

  • How long have you practiced in this area of law?

  • How many cases have you handled like mine? What were the outcomes?

  • What other information do you need in order to evaluate my case?

  • Are there any problems you foresee with my case?

  • How would you go about handling this situation? What is the process?

  • What are my options for going forward?

  • What percent of your practice is in the area of expertise I need?

  • How long does it typically take to resolve cases like mine?


Feel free to take some notes


Many people like to take notes during the conversation. This is because you may find it difficult to remember what was discussed days or weeks later. Jotting down important details can help jog your memory of important information down the line.

However, don’t get too caught up in taking copious notes — especially if it splits your focus from listening to the advice of your attorney.

A few specific things to jot down could include:

  • Answers given to your questions

  • Next steps

  • Fee arrangements & payment options


Read before signing

Even after a consultation, you are not required to hire the attorney to represent you. It’s always within your right to make the decision that’s best for you and your situation.

If you do decide to move forward, there may be some paperwork to sign. Don’t forget to read through the documents and ask for clarification if you have questions or are unsure about what something means. This will help ensure you get off on the right foot.


Make sure the attorney outlines what happens next

Before you get off the call, the attorney will outline next steps. If not, make sure to clarify. This helps eliminate any chance of miscommunication. A successful client-attorney relationship is a partnership. You both have to work together to get the best outcome, including following through with whatever you’re asked to do by the law firm.

A trusted lawyer will help you leave the call with a clear understanding of what you’ve accomplished and what happens next.


Need an attorney? I’m here to help

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Adam Greenman Law is committed to providing personal, one-on-one attention to clients. Here, every client receives undivided focused and personalized support. No matter if you’re prepared for your consultation or not, I’m here to reassure you, help you feel comfortable, and get our relationship off on the right foot.

Contact me today to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

Adam Greenman
Adam Greenman has been a trusted criminal defense and personal injury attorney in Portland for over 15 years. A graduate of Lewis and Clark School of Law and an experienced former prosecutor, Adam is a proud member of the Oregon State Bar Association, Oregon Trial Lawyers Association, and the Oregon Criminal Defense Lawyers Association. He is known for providing personal, one-on-one attention to clients.