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An initial consultation with a lawyer can be an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

Most people don’t know what to expect, or how to prepare. The following tips will help you get ready, making your first meeting less daunting, but also more productive.

1. Send Documents in Advance as Soon as Possible

Providing documents ahead of your first meeting is essential, as it allows your lawyer to prepare as much as possible about the specifics of your file.

Our employment law group’s intake department will ask you to provide certain key documents, such as your employment contract, letter of termination (if applicable), and proof of income such as T4s or pay stubs.   Providing these documents ahead of your first meeting is essential, as it allows your lawyer to prepare as much as possible about the specifics of your file.  The sooner you can provide them, the better.

2. Prepare a Chronology

A chronology is your take on what transpired and what brings you to see a lawyer. This can simply be point form and should include key facts. For example, you will want to include information such as your start date with your employer, your position, your length of service, facts surrounding the issues in question and so on.

3. Ask for Clarifications when Needed

During your initial consultation, your lawyer will explain certain concepts to you, and this may be the very first time you are learning about these legal concepts.  If something is unclear, do not shy away from asking your lawyer to re-explain something. Your lawyer will make sure you understand your options.   That said, questions along the way are welcomed and encouraged.

4. Prepare Questions

Writing down a list of questions you would like to ask your lawyer helps ensure that you don’t forget anything, and helps make best use of your meeting time.    You can always ask questions at anytime, but asking questions one by one over email or phone can take time.    Help us work as efficiently as we can for you.

5. Consider your Desired Outcome and Know Your Bottom Line

Your desired outcome is what you are hoping to get out of your involvement with your lawyer. Depending on your situation, that can range from obtaining a better severance package, knowing whether the employment contract you are about to sign is fair and reasonable, or obtaining general advice about a situation you are facing in your workplace. Having an idea about what your desired outcome is gives a framework for not only your initial meeting, but your long-term involvement with your lawyer.

Implementing the tips suggested above ensures that you and your lawyer spend your consultation as productively as possible. These tools can also carry over to your future involvement with your lawyer, beyond the initial consultation.

If you have any issues related to your employment, contact one of our experienced lawyers in our Employment Law Group.


This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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