Prepare, prepare, prepare: your questions and answers
Once you’ve reviewed the client’s file, prepare your questions for the client, and take some time to anticipate questions that the client may have for you. We’ll discuss more on what answers (for clients) lawyers should prep for before the interview below.
Remember: Your goal is to have the client fill in blanks, reveal their goals and expectations, and tell you about the case. Because of this, you should ask open-ended questions to encourage them to share more details.
Have you worked with a lawyer before? Have you worked with another lawyer on this specific matter already?
If the client has worked with another lawyer (whether on this case or a previous matter), the way that they answer this question can give you insights into their expectations of a lawyer. This way, you can gauge if you’ll be able to meet them. This can also help you know how familiar (or unfamiliar) the client is with the legal system and its processes. Additionally, if they have worked with another lawyer on this matter, you’ll want to know why they’re coming to you now.
What answers to client questions should lawyers prepare for?
The meeting isn’t just about you interviewing a potential client—the client will have questions for you, too. Being prepared for the common questions that clients have is key. Here are four common questions you should prepare to answer:
How do you prepare for a lawyer-client interview?
No matter how many lawyer-client interviews you’ve conducted, it’s still important to prepare by reviewing the client’s file. You’ll also need to plan the interview structure and prepare attorney-client interview questions. You’ll also want to be ready with a strategy to manage expectations (we’ll go into more detail below).
At the pre-interview stage, consider your goals and let them guide your preparations. This means considering what you want to get out of the interview, including learning about the legal issue at hand, establishing a positive client experience, and winning the client.
What is the process for my case?
While you may not be able to predict specifics, be prepared to lay out the general process and approximate timelines for the client. This way, they will have a better idea of what to expect.
What is your goal for your case?
While you may have already formed ideas for how you want to handle a case, it’s important to clarify what result your potential client wants to see.
What lawyer-client interview questions should you ask potential clients?
While the exact questions you’ll ask should be customized to each potential client’s specific situation, these lawyer-client interview questions are a good starting point:
#1: Why did you come in today?
Of the hundreds (or even thousands) of attorneys in your area, this potential client chose to contact you. Find out why they chose you, what about your firm attracted them to you. This can help clarify their expectations and confirm that your firm’s expertise is indeed the right fit for them.
From a marketing standpoint, you need to know how this client was attracted to your firm so that you can do more of this type of promotion. If they were referred to you, you’ll want to thank the referral source. Their answer could also provide valuable insight into what is important to this person, where they go for answers, and how they approach problem solving.