Not many professions offer free work. When is the last time you saw a doctor for 30 minutes for free? What about an auto mechanic? An accountant? So take advantage of the fact that most attorneys are available for free consultations on your case, usually up to about 30 minutes. Here's a few tips to make the most of this great opportunity.
1. Come prepared. I've met with dozens of potential clients who show up at their consultation without any of the documents regarding their claim. If I know nothing about your work injury or claim status, I can't really tell you what I can do for you. Bring all documents, including letters from the insurance carrier and Industrial Commission. Try to have them organized - throwing them all into a plastic grocery bag doesn't count!
2. Don't bring your children. Don't get me wrong, I love kids. Have five of them myself. But it is difficult to concentrate on this very important matter if we are both being constantly distracted by a child. Plus, kids find law offices boring.
3. Make sure and disclose EVERYTHING about your case to the lawyer. I don't know how many times I've been told negative information about a client or their case the day of their hearing. I usually respond with "It would have nice to know that SIX MONTHS AGO!!!" Remember that your lawyer is on your side. The sooner we know negative information, the quicker we can deal with it.
4. Remember that it's free. Many potential clients unfortunately think that attorneys are social service agencies that are obligated to provide legal services to everyone. That is not the case. We are private businesses. We don't have to take every case. Be grateful. Many times I have taken a case that I would not have otherwise taken simply because the person was pleasant and grateful for the free advice.
5. Come with questions prepared. After the attorney has given you their assessment of your case, ask any questions that have not been answered.
Chad T. Snow is a lawyer with the law firm of Snow, Carpio, & Weekley who limits his practice to representation of injured workers before the Industrial Commission of Arizona. He can be reached at (602) 532-0700, (520) 647-9000, or through visiting the firm's website.