(7) Don’t Sign the Contract During the First Visit
Many attorneys do not quote prices until they hear the facts of the case. The purpose of this is two-fold: first, attorneys are afraid of giving a price or ballpark estimate over the phone and then realizing their estimate is way off when the facts of the case become clear. Second, when an attorney meets with a client the first time, the client will do most of the talking. The attorney will have an opportunity to explain qualifications and experience and otherwise put the client at ease that he/she is the attorney for them. Because going over the facts so in-depth with another person is draining, and trusting someone with facts that are not favorable to you is hard (i.e. facts that may make you look bad), many clients just want to sign up right then and there. Clients do not often want to go through the initial interview process again with another attorney, especially when the attorney encourages the client to sign right then.
Unfortunately, this can lead to making a bad decision. Hiring an attorney is a big decision. It can be more costly than buying a new car. When you are shopping for a new car you probably don’t buy the first one you test drive. Instead, you shop around and when you have determined which one is the best fit for you, you go with it, even if it was the first. Like car buying, shopping for an attorney is tiring but it takes time to make a good choice.
Invest a little time into finding the right attorney. Even if this means simply sleeping on the contract that the first attorney presents you, at least you will have a good opportunity to read through and make sure you understand exactly what it is you are signing and who you are hiring.