Rockville, MD family law attorney Stuart Knotts Skok explains what happens during her first meeting with a client and how the client can prepare.
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Before the first meeting, there’s an intake call that the client will have with my executive assistant, who will run through the basic facts. She will tell you what to bring to that initial meeting based on your specific case. And then in preparation for the meeting, the best thing that a client can do is put together a timeline; a timeline of their case. And, perhaps, this is a divorce, so timeline of your marriage, perhaps, starting when you met your spouse and when you got married, children. Significant events; moves, changes of jobs, traumatic events, affairs that may have occurred. You know, the things that tell the story of your marriage.
And it’s important to put it in that framework because then you see sort of where the holes might be, and it helps me fill in the blanks and really understand what has happened and what’s brought you to this point. And so at the meeting, I do a lot of listening; listening to what has happened, what the story is. And then at the end, I give the client a plan and a strategy, which may or may not involve hiring my firm. Maybe it’s not the right time to hire a lawyer. Maybe they need to do something first before that, or maybe they need a different kind of professional.
In any event, we come up with a strategy that helps them take their next step, whatever that step is. And if I think they’re a good fit, I’ll give him a retainer agreement. But I never have a client sign a retainer agreement at initial consultation. I think it’s really important that they take the information, they kind of process/digest, and then make a decision about how to move forward. And the consult runs roughly one to two hours.