Before meeting with your lawyer:
· Gather all information together in a logical order;
· Be sure you have current correct telephone numbers and addresses of interested parties and witnesses, if applicable;
· Prepare a written statement of your problems and what you want done;
· Make photocopies of everything and offer originals or photocopies to your lawyer. Let your lawyer decide if originals or the copies are needed.
During your initial consultation:
· Present an overall view of your position.
· Share all relevant information, let your lawyer decide what is not in your favor. It is much better for your lawyer to know, rather than be surprised later.
Discuss legal fees and related costs during your initial consultation:
· There are several ways in which legal fees can be computed. It is not always possible for attorneys to give you an estimate of their fees since they cannot control the other side of an issue. However, you should be prepared to discuss how much you are willing to invest in the resolution of your problem.
· In addition to the fee charged by your lawyer, there will probably be certain associated costs, such as costs paid to the court for filing fees, sheriff fees and costs for a court reporter. Most of these costs cannot be controlled by your lawyer, if the attorney is to be an effective advocate on your behalf.
· If your lawyer requests a fee deposit, sometimes called an "advance" or "retainer," ask whether or not any part of it will be refunded if you do not proceed. Money accepted for the payment of costs will be placed into your lawyer's trust account and any unused portion will be refunded to you. Fee retainers can be refundable or nonrefundable. Be sure you understand this point. On occasion, some lawyers may refund the unused portion of an advance or retainer after reimbursing themselves for any services actually performed.
From: Florida State Bar