Gather Your Own Information
Thanks to the internet, it is pretty easy to gather basic information about a problem, whether the problem is how to fix a leaky pipe, how to recognize the side effects of too many vitamin supplements, or what to do when you have a dispute with a vendor. Even if your legal problem is complicated, you might benefit from knowing a few basics about your problem or the particular area of law.
Gather and Organize your Facts and Data
Organize any information you have which relates to your problem. This could include documents, court orders, photos, letters, contracts or leases, computer disks, audio or video tapes. Put things in order. Make a timeline of events, if that will help. Make a list of questions that you need to have answered. Once you are able to put your newly found knowledge together with your own particular facts, you will be able to decide if you need to seek a legal opinion.
How to Choose a Lawyer
A good way to choose a lawyer is by getting a personal recommendation from a family member or friend. Or, if you have already had a lawyer in the past, find out if he or she can help you with your new problem, or refer you to someone else. The internet is a valuable research tool as well. Lawyer directories are also available at the Texas state bar website, most other state bar websites, and many local (county or city) bar association websites. You will often be able to choose an attorney by area of law, language ability, and geographic location.
Contact the Lawyer’s Office for Information or an Appointment
When you call or email the law office, you should specify the type of case that you have, and whether you have any pending deadlines. You should also ask if the lawyer accepts clients in your particular area of law. Find out if there is a consultation fee. Since you have done your homework, you will be able to make good use of your time by bringing your summary and questions with you.
Make the Most of Your Consultation
Use the consult to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your position and begin to formulate a plan. Even if you have a problem that you are ultimately able to handle without retaining a lawyer, an early consultation can keep you from making costly mistakes. Taking the time to do your research and gather all information that is available to you is the most efficient way to deal with a legal situation.
WARNING: If you have been served with a lawsuit, time is of the essence and you should contact a lawyer right away. If you fail to file a properly drafted legal answer within the appropriate time you may lose the case and may be giving up some important rights and defenses.