Prior to your first meeting with your solicitor, you will probably be asked to provide identification documents, along with any documents that are relevant and necessary for your solicitor to take sight of. Making sure you are organised with respect to paperwork before the meeting will allow it to go as smoothly as possible and provide your solicitor with the information that he/she needs to identify relevant points and formulate possible next steps with you.
Know where to go!
This is certainly something we at Hanne can relate to, given that our Battersea offices are spread across two sites! Every receptionist and solicitor will have had experience of arranging meetings with clients who, on the day itself, do not necessarily know where they are meant to be – sometimes even forgetting the time of the appointment! It goes without saying that once you have set up an appointment, make a note somewhere of the firm’s address and the appointment time, so that you are certain where exactly you are meant to be and at which time.
Know your objective
A meeting should always have a defined purpose. Work should be done on both sides beforehand to ensure that the meeting works effectively. As a prospective client, you should determine beforehand what you want to explore with your solicitor and the questions that you wish to ask as much as possible. It is encouraged for example, to write down and have a list of questions prepared so that you do not forget to ask anything crucial. You can perhaps send these to your solicitor in advance if you wish or create an “agenda” to give structure to the meeting. You are far more likely to get more from your meeting if you do this than by simply turning up without any idea of what it is you are actually looking to achieve.
It never ceases to amaze, especially in this modern age, how a lot of clients feel apprehensive and, sometimes, scared of meeting a solicitor. There is no need for this at all. Solicitors are normal people like anyone else in the general public – just with the benefit of legal training and experience. Do not think you have to approach the meeting with the incorrect belief that your solicitor is there to cross-examine you in some way. To the contrary, we are here to help you. The more relaxed and open you are with your solicitor from the first meeting onwards, the easier it will be to establish a rapport and work together to resolve your legal matter.
Abeer Sharma is a Solicitor in Hanne & Co’s Property Litigation & Dispute Resolution Department.