Initial consults can be very helpful for both lawyers and clients, even on what may be thought of as a “simple” matter. The initial consult is a good starting point to set the stage for what a client’s needs are and what a lawyer’s “ground rules” may be. It is at the initial consult where both lawyer and client can ensure that a good fit is achieved.
At the initial consult a lawyer can also provide the client with tips on how to reduce their legal fees and assist the client to know what to expect moving forward. The Law Society of Alberta recommends that an initial consult cover:
- The client’s objectives;
- The lawyer’s role;
- Initial advice;
- General timeframes;
- Communication; and
Some firms (like Vogel LLP) will have a family law checklist to go over with the client in the consult in order to make sure as many things are addressed in the consult as reasonable. The lawyer then meets with their assistant, if the client retains, to go over the same checklist again for points to be further addressed moving forward. This checklist is attached to every file.
While the initial consult may be seen as a formality to some clients, it can be a very helpful meeting that assists with avoiding some difficulties or issues down the line.