Gone are the days when business owners and individuals had to visit a lawyer’s office in person for a consultation. With the rapid advancement in technology and the introduction of online legal consultation services, things have changed.
This blog post mainly discusses the important tips to consider before consulting with an attorney online. But, before exploring the tips, let’s familiarise ourselves with the concept of consulting with an attorney online.
What is Online Legal Consultation?
Like other legal consultations, an online legal consultation is the same thing. However, the difference is that you don’t have to meet the lawyer in person. Online consultation with a lawyer is done via video conferencing, email conversation, text messaging, or on-call communication.
This means you can get in touch with an attorney through a medium of your choice, without travelling anywhere. Moreover, it is a convenience-driven way of connecting with a licensed attorney. From business, immigration and family to intellectual property and criminal law – practitioners from all areas of law can be accessed online.
The main reasons for the popularity of online legal services are:
- Quick and easy access to a legal practitioner
- Vast choices for legal services
- More transparency and accountability
Now that we’ve learnt about what it is to get a legal consultation in an online setting, we will now explore essential tips you can follow to prepare before a consultation.
1- Dress Appropriately
The way you dress up has a huge impact on how you feel and the way you communicate. Clean and appropriate clothing instils a sense of confidence in oneself. It causes you to be less stressed, especially in a formal meeting – like a consultation with a lawyer.
You must be thinking what’s the point of dressing appropriately for an online legal consultation? But remember, good dressing boosts confidence in communication, even if you’re having a video conference.
2- Make an Outline of Your Legal Case
During a legal consultation, you do not want to miss out on any important details about the case. Therefore, you must outline all the important points that need to be discussed.
In the outline, you should highlight all the main agendas or issues in your case that need to be discussed. The main goal here is to have an outline that will act as a guide for you.
3- Keep All the Documents with You
While having a video call or phone call, make sure you have all the relevant documents with you. The lawyer will want to know about certain details written in the document, which ought to be discussed.
By doing so, your attorney will get a clear picture of your case and situation. However, you can also fax or send a soft copy of the documents to the lawyer before the consultation session takes place. This way, both parties can save time.
4- Organise and Note Down Your Thoughts & Questions
You need to jot down any thoughts and concerns about the case. An online consultation, like an in-person consultation, is a short meeting. So, your thoughts and questions should be well-organised.
This is why you should write down any concerns you have about the lawyer and your case. Another useful thing is to also send a picture of the notes to your attorney, so you both can go through the agendas one by one. Doing so makes the consultation meaningful and seamless.
5- Have an Honest Conversation
Lawyers are known for keeping the cases of both clients and prospective clients confidential. Confidentiality is a part of an attorney’s professional ethics – whether it is in-person consultation or online consultation.
Some people are shy about sharing the details of their cases. This is because they do not feel like sharing their personal information with someone they do not know. Some cases are sensitive, and the prospective client may have restrictions about sharing details. However, there’s no need to worry and keeping the conversation honest is essential.
6- Write Down Important Points in the Conversation
Your one-on-one meeting with a lawyer should be one in which you learn something. You would want to keep notes of all the important details a lawyer has to share during the legal advice session.
The attorney will share essential things you need to cater to build your case. Moreover, the lawyer will share with you important tasks that ought to be done from your end. So, this one-time consultation should be taken seriously, and you should take notes.
7- Discuss the Fee Before Taking a Decision
One of the most prominent benefits of hiring a lawyer online is you get to pay a low fee. The fee of an online lawyer is usually lower than the fee of a lawyer whom you reach out to in person – doing things the conventional way.
Also, some attorneys take up a case based on a contingency fee. This means that the lawyer will get a fee based on you getting a court verdict or settlement. However, most attorneys ask for a retainer, which is an upfront payment that’s billed at an hourly rate.
8- Go Through the Documents before Signing Them
Sometimes, a few points in any document or contract can be hard to understand. You need to make sure that the documents a lawyer sends your way should make clear sense to you.
Especially, before you sign a document, ascertain that you understand it properly. In case there are any hard-to-understand points – ask the lawyer to explain those points.
9- Ask About the Background & Experience
You want to be working on your case with someone who has relevant expertise. This means the lawyer should have experience dealing with cases similar to yours.
Asking about a lawyer’s qualifications and past cases is essential in knowing if a particular lawyer is the perfect fit for your case. There’s no need to be shy while asking about the result or outcomes of a lawyer’s past cases.
10- Learn About the Plan for Your Case
An important thing you want to know before making a final decision is knowing how the lawyer will handle the case. You need to ask them about how they plan to tackle the complexities involved in the case.
Knowing about a lawyer’s blueprint for solving your case ahead of time gives you a better idea about their approach. This way, you’re in a position to make an informed decision.
11- Working with Your Lawyer
Another important thing you should know before getting online legal advice is knowing who will work on your case. Some lawyers handle the casework by themselves, whereas other lawyers have their legal assistants handle the case.
In the second case, your case will not be handled by the person with whom you had a consultation session. But, in the background, there would be some other person looking after your case. In this scenario, you need to ask the lawyer about who the contact person is for your case.
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