Don't be afraid to call and ask to speak directly with a lawyer.
Verify that the call will be confidential and free of charge.
Ask all your questions.
Call another lawyer and compare answers.
1. Don't be afraid to call and ask to speak directly with a lawyer.
Lawyers are regular people just like you. Because of their education and experience, they have something to offer that you need - knowledge. Most lawyers love their profession. And the key to being a good lawyer is a strong desire to help others. They want to help you. If they are available when you call, most will be very generous with their time and knowledge and actually enjoy answering your questions. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Do not feel intimidated because the person you are talking to knows more about a particular legal issue than do you. That's why your calling.
2. Verify that the call will be confidential and free of charge.
If you don't provide your name and contact information when you call, the conversation may not be confidential. Remaining anonymous is not a guarantee of confidentially. It is not uncommon for people who live in a small town to know every thing about everyone else, or at least think they do. Request that the lawyer affirmatively state that the conversation will be treated as a confidential communication. Also, ask up front if you will be billed for the initial telephone consultation. Don't forget to ask the same question about the initial office consultation.
3. Ask all your questions.
The only limit of your initial telephone call will be if the lawyer tells you there is a limit. At some point, whoever you call will decide when the conversation has lasted long enough. So write down your questions in advance, ask all of your questions, and don't hang up until all your questions are answered, you believe you understand how to proceed, or the lawyer decides to termination the call.
4. Call another lawyer and compare answers.
Call a second, third, or fourth lawyer. What do you have to lose? Compare the content and completeness of the answers offered by each lawyer. Were the answers consistent? If the answers were different, was it because you have more than one option on how to proceed? Were you informed by the lawyers that you had more than one option? And very importantly, ask about fees. The answers to legal questions may sound alike, but estimated fees for similar proposed services may greatly differ. Shop around for a lawyer as you would any other important professional service.
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