The consultation may be free but it will cost you plenty down the road if you don’t go into the meeting prepared.  This post will help you be ready:

Make sure the attorney is experienced. You don’t want someone learning how to do their job on your case.

  • Where did you attend law school?
  • When did you graduate?
  • How long have you been practicing criminal law?
  • How often do you appear in the courthouse where my case will be handled?
  • Do you frequently negotiate plea agreements with the prosecutor’s office?
  • How would you describe your relationship with the prosecutor’s office?
  • How familiar are you with the charges against me?
  • What percentage of your practice is in representing clients with similar charges?

Make sure the attorney you are talking to is the attorney that will actually handle your case.

  • Will you be the primary attorney handling my case?
  • If not can I meet the primary attorney?
  • Will anyone else work on my case?
  • Will you be personally representing me in court, or will that responsibility go to someone else?
  • If I have any questions, do I call you, or someone else?

Make sure the attorney can explain the process to you and will keep you informed. You deserve to know what is going on with your case.

Make sure the attorney explains what it will cost to represent you. You definitely don’t want any surprises here to add to your stress.

  • Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat fee?
  • If you charge by the hour, what is your rate?
  • Will I have to pay a retainer fee?
  • How will that work?
  • If you charge a flat fee, what is it?
  • Is the fee refundable?
  • Do I have to pay the fee all up front?
  • What is the scope of representation?
  • What is not included in the scope of representation?
  • What other expenses are not covered by the fee?
  • Can you give me an estimate for them?

See also: 10 Things to Consider in Choosing a Criminal Defense Attorney