Employment law attorneys typically work on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee basis means you don’t have to pay an hourly rate for legal services. The attorney takes a percentage of your settlement or award when the case is over. You’re able to get the help you need without needing to have the upfront cash.
With this arrangement, the legal team takes on the risk. If the attorneys don’t win the cash, they don’t get paid. This is why you’re not guaranteed the attorneys you talk to agree to take your case. It’s a selective process. Increase your chances by being prepared. Here are 12 tips that ensure you’re prepared for the free consultation.
Do Your Research
Before you contact an employment law attorney, make sure you’re choosing the right team for the job. Go through client reviews and case results to find the attorneys that match your specific needs. If you have a sexual harassment case, you may not want to choose an attorney who has never had trial experience in sexual harassment cases. It would be best if you made sure the attorney specializes in your specific needs.
Verify That There Are No Conflicts of Interest
Before you schedule a free consultation, ask questions to make sure there are no conflicts of interest. You’re wasting your time if you arrive to learn that the law firm has done work for your employer. That’s an example of a conflict of interest. You don’t want to drive all the way there to learn that the attorney can’t help you. It wastes your time. It’s better to verify that there are no conflicts of interest beforehand.
Schedule the Free Consultation When You’re Certain You’ll Be On Time
Before you confirm a time for the free consultation, make sure you’ll be able to attend the meeting. You can’t schedule a time and then learn you have to work. Once you make the appointment, clear your schedule that day and leave early for the meeting if it’s not a phone conference. It’s better to be early than to waste the attorney’s time and show up 20 minutes late.
Find Out How Much Time You’ll Have
Take note of how much time you get with the attorney. If the free consultation is for 30 minutes, you don’t want to waste time. Be prepared with all forms and questions as soon as you walk in and sit down. Ask if there are any fees involved if you need additional time beyond the initial free consultation.
Come Up With a List of Questions in Advance
As you start preparing to talk to the attorney, create a list of questions that you have. Things you’ll want to discuss include the attorney’s fees or contingency fee percentage. You want to talk about how long the attorney thinks the case will take. You may have other questions involving how much money you might get, what happens if it goes to trial, and whether you’d have to be a witness at that trial.
Gather As Much Information and Paperwork As Possible
Print out any evidence that proves your complaint. If you lost your job for reporting your boss for harassment, you want to have details of the situation, any emails that provide evidence supporting your claim, and dates and times of the harassment.
Create an Outline of Talking Points
Build an outline of the things you need to address during the free consultation. You want to make sure you cover every aspect of your complaint. During this discussion, you can provide vital information as you go by having the outline in hand and ensuring that you’ve brought every form or document needed to go with that talking point.
For example, you bring up that your officemate heard your boss promise you a promotion if you agreed to go on a date. This is essential information that can help your case. Have the contact information for that co-worker in hand and ready to hand to the attorney when you discuss that specific incident.
Tell the Truth and Don’t Overlook Anything
During the conversation with the employment law attorney, don’t exaggerate or tell half of the story. The attorney has to be prepared for the defense team’s response. If you’ve omitted information that you think is embarrassing or makes you look bad, you can catch the attorney by surprise and make it harder for them to win the case.
Go over every detail, omit nothing, and never exaggerate. Stick to the facts and document them as much as you can. If you feel that something you did may have led to your boss getting the wrong idea, it’s better to bring it up and let the attorney develop a strategy if the law firm agrees to take your case.
Bring a notepad and take notes during the meeting. On the off-chance the attorney agrees to take your case, you do not want to waste the attorney’s time by calling multiple times to get a reminder of what else you were supposed to do. Take clear notes of the documents, information, or next steps the attorney requested. Provide them as quickly as possible. If you leave any paycheck stubs, emails from your employer, or conversations with co-workers, ask for copies to be provided to you.
Don’t Hire the Attorney Before You Understand the Fees
If the attorney agrees to take your case, go over the fees. Ensure that you do not have to cover any expenses and can afford to pay up if any cash is needed in advance. It’s unlikely you’ll have to pay anything, but it’s better to ask. Find out what the contingency fee involves. On average, it’s around 35%, but every law firm has its own fee schedule. If you were to win $100,000 in a settlement, you’d receive a payment of $65,000, and the attorney would get $35,000. You must be okay with that before the attorney begins working on your case.
Read Over Any Documents Before Signing Them
Once you’re confident that you want the attorney to proceed, you’ll be asked to sign legal forms. Read them over and make sure you understand what you’re signing. If you’re not sure, ask questions until you are clear. If there are contractual statements that make you uncomfortable, discuss them. There may be reasons for the terms you don’t realize are legally required until you ask for clarification. If you’re not comfortable signing, it’s better to part ways now and find someone else.
Double-Check Contact Information
Always double-check the information you give to the attorney and the contact information you’ve taken in your notes.
Before you leave the office:
- Verify that you have the correct contact information for the attorney, paralegal, and anyone else helping with the case.
- Check that you’ve given them the correct numbers and email information. If you leave a cell phone number and don’t always get service, you must leave a more reliable number.
- Make sure the phone contacts are taken down correctly. The attorneys must be able to reach you without a hassle.
Shegerian Conniff wants one thing, and that’s to get you the best results. Whether you’ve been wrongly fired or were the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, we’ll fight for your rights. Complete our online contact form or call us and let us know how we can help. Initial consultations are free, so there’s no risk to you. We’ll provide you with an expert assessment of your case and let you know how we can help you.