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How to Get the Most out of an Initial Consultation with a Lawyer

If you’re contemplating legal action, have been sued, are unsure of your legal standing in a particular situation, or need advice on an issue that has potential legal ramifications, your first port of call should be to seek proper legal advice from a lawyer.

You probably have questions at this point, like:

  • Why seek a lawyer’s advice?
  • Which lawyer do you choose?
  • How do you go about procuring the services of a lawyer?
  • What are the steps to securing an initial consultation with a lawyer?
  • How do you make that initial legal consult, your first meeting with a lawyer, count?

At Michael’s Law Firm, we take all the guesswork out of the equation with all your questions about consulting with a lawyer – and more you have not even thought of – answered here.

Why Seek Out an Initial Consultation with a Lawyer?

Firstly, a lawyer offers immediate peace of mind with the assurance that you’re not alone. An experienced lawyer knows the law, and no matter the legal issue, your lawyer can help.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, good lawyers are both detached and objective. They can be trusted to give you the right advice, regardless of your emotions or the situation.

Thirdly, it’s important to remember that in any legal dispute, there are at least two parties (both of whom will presumably seek legal advice), only one of whom will ultimately be ‘right.’ At best, with a good lawyer helping you, you’re facing 50/50 odds. Without one, that statistic skews considerably less favourable for you.

Why Are You Calling a Lawyer?

Like a visit to an emergency room, the central question is this: Why have you come to see me? What is the problem you’ve called my office about?

To help you simplify your answer to this question and get the most out of your initial consultation with me (or any lawyer), the rule of thumb is to start with a short explanation – a one-liner even – leaving out any nitty gritty details.

Some examples:

  • A borrower failed to repay a loan
  • A supplier failed to deliver
  • I am being sued for [insert reason here]
  • I am contemplating suing someone for [insert reason here]

This is the best possible place to start, before getting into all the details, documents, and backstory, to make the most of an initial legal consultation. And remember, at this point it is best to keep it really simple and skip the legal terminology. A good lawyer will try to do the same – keeping it simple, free of any scary legalese to start, and building from there.

What Does an Initial Legal Consultation Include?

What is the format of an initial consultation with a lawyer? What does it look like?

We will start our initial consultation with a discussion. It’s important to give the big picture reason for your call at the beginning. Once we understand that, we can then drill down into some of the details, backstory, and documents.

In some cases, specifically small ones, it may be possible to find a resolution to your issue during this first visit. However, in most larger cases, an initial consultation will only provide sufficient time to get a general overview, along with an idea as to the next steps required to advance your claim or defence.

Once the initial discussion and understanding of the issue has been established, our legal team will review documents and/or do some brief legal research. We will then reach out to you again and provide you with their advice on how to move forward with your legal issue, along with the required retainer amount.

How Long Will an Initial Consultation Be?

The standard length of an initial consultation with Michael’s Law Firm is 1 hour, which is inclusive of both discussing your matter with you and reviewing any documents provided.During that time, we will review the big picture – why you’re talking to us, what your issue is in its simplest terms, and review a few documents to get a sense of the scope of the problem.

How Should Documents Be Provided?

In many legal cases, especially contract-based cases, documents are key. However, within the time limits of an initial consultation, we will, in all likelihood, only have a chance to briefly review a handful of documents pertaining to your legal issue. So, while you can send us 50 documents, I will not have a chance to review all of them within the time provided. This will, however, happen once the initial consultation has been completed if we are retained, and an understanding of the big picture legal issue has been established.

Generally speaking, documents should be provided, where possible, in PDF format. For an overview of how best to provide us with documents, please review our in-depth tips here.

Tips to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation with Michael’s Law Firm

To make the most of your initial consultation with Michael’s Law Firm we have the following tips:

  1. Write down some simple bullet points outlining your legal issue/s. All information is important; no information is too trivial, too big, too embarrassing, or too small for us to help you with. And rest assured that any information you share with us is confidential (unless required to share it with a court because it is relevant to the legal matter).
  2. If you have them, write down full names and contact details of all those involved in your legal dispute.
  3. Bring your government-issued ID with you (passport or driver’s license.)
  4. Write down any questions you may have. Leave space to make notes of the answers after each question. We may not get to each question during the initial consultation, but you can also leave questions with us to review once you’ve retained our firm.
  5. Gather any and all documents that may be relevant to your legal issue and bring them with you to the initial consultation with your lawyer, or provide them electronically as directed if your consultation is virtual. Again, we may not be able to get through them all during the first visit, and we may request them in PDF form as well, but it helps to clarify the situation in your own mind as well as ours.
  6. By all means bring moral support – a friend or family member – with you to your initial consult but remember that while everything you tell a lawyer is confidential, others in the room are not bound by that confidentiality. It is perhaps best for them to wait in the waiting room while you consult privately with our lawyers.
  7. Remember to remain focused during the initial consultation. Turn off cell phones or pagers, no electronics, no other notes and documents not related to your legal concern. We are here to help support you in every possible way and the best way to do that is for both parties to focus solely on you and the issue you are trying to deal with.
  8. For the convenience of clients and to allow for faster scheduling, our law firm is happy to schedule virtual consultations, either via Zoom or phone. To provide effective legal advice, we simply need to speak with you and review the documents you are able to provide.

How do I schedule an initial consultation?

As our office hears from a lot of people, to separate those interested in proceeding with initial consultations from the rest, we have adopted a simple two-step process as follows:

Step 1: Send an e-transfer for the current consult fee ($400.00) to Michael’s email,

Step 2: Send an email to Michael ( with your contact information, after which he will touch base to schedule a mutually convenient time.

For more information, please contact Michael Lesage of Michael’s Law Firm in Hamilton and Toronto ON at 647-495-8995.

The power of excellent legal representation is within your reach and at Michael’s Law Firm we aim to give you the help you need when you need it. From the very first consultation to resolution of your legal issue, we are here to advise, help, and make your life easier every step of the way.

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