Most people have never dealt with a lawyer, which means they don't what to expect. Thankfully, the process of meeting with a lawyer isn't filled with as much fear as going to a dentist. But just because you don't expect physical pain to be inflicted doesn't mean you aren't a little stressed.
Understand what you're there for
It helps to get an understanding of what you are there for in a first meeting. For most lawyers, they want to learn about you and your case. Just because you talk with a lawyer doesn't' mean they are going to want you as a client. You are probably going in with the understanding that you are interviewing them to decide if you want them to represent you. Just be aware that they are probably also interviewing you. Sometimes it's not a good a fit, and the time to learn that is now. Good lawyers don't want every case that comes through the door; and you probably don't want a lawyer who needs businsess so badly that they are willing to take on someone they don't really want to represent.
Also don't expect that you are going to leave with the knowledge of what is going to happen. No one can predict how a case is going to come out, because there are too many unknowns. Handling a criminal case is a process, which starts with gathering basic information about you and your case. The end result is a plea, dismissal or trial, but that isn't reached until a lot of work has been done.
It's not sales pitch
At least in our office, we aren't trying to sell you on hiring us. If you aren't convinced that we are the right lawyer for you, based on our experience and qualifications, we aren't going to try to convince you otherwise. That seldoms ends ell for either of us. You need to have complete trust and confidence in whoever you hire, and that cannot be forced on you.
Be honest - everything you say is confidential
All lawyers will want some basic information about you, as well as your case. In the first meeting we are more interested in getting to know something about you. What your background is, and what is important to you. That includes information about your educational and work history, family and other activities, as well was prior problems with the law - if there were any. Of course, we also need to know about the case, but I want to understand the context. Few people wake up one morning and decide to go commit a crime. There are other factors invovolved, and that's what we are interested in.
It cannot be said often enough that everything you tell a lawyer - even if you don't end hiring them - is confidential. There are a few exceptions, but I haven't have that come up in the last 35 years.
Everyone wants to put the best foot forward, especially with people you don't know. However, we cannot provide an honest assessment unless we know all the facts. The truth is that everything is going to come out at some point, and it might as well be at the beginning.
What to expect when you leave
You should leave the first meeting with a lawyer with a couple of things. The first is basic understanding of the law concerning your charge, and what the State has to prove to obtain a conviction. You should also learn about any defenses that may be available. Finally, you should leave with some understanding about what the possible outcomes are. While we cannot tell you what will happen, we can give you a general idea of the range of outcomes. Sometimes that may be the best thing that could happen, and the worst thing.
In our office we are committed to providing you with as much information as possible about your case. While we can't - and don't want to - make you a lawyer, we will provide you an understanding of how the system operates. When you leave our office you will leave with all the books we have written, which are designed to give you a better understanding of what to expect.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to talk with us about your case, give us a call at 254-781-3588, or fill out the contact form on this page.