When my office staff knows who is coming to the office on any given day, then the staff will greet the client by name when they enter.
We do not expect a client to wait but 3 to 4 minutes for me. We offer the client something to drink and try to have a number of options to satisfy their tastes.
We do not push a bunch of forms in front of my new clients to sign and complete that are on a clip board (like in all doctor offices). I have an intake sheet and I fill it out as we progress through the interview.
We do not ask for dates of birth and social security numbers, and other highly private personal data up front in the initial interview process. Certainly, if I am going to represent someone, the client will need to give us some sensitive information but this is not needed up front in the interview.
I want to know what is on your mind. Why did you decide to come and see me? I want you to talk about what your needs are. Yes, I would like to gently move the interview in the direction that is productive, that helps me get the big picture, but I also need details to determine if I can genuinely provide quality legal services.
In the highly contentious area of job injuries, at time I advise whom I talk with NOT to hire me at that moment. The reason is that some employers regretfully believe that if the worker/employee “lawyers up” then it is time for the employer to resist everything at every turn that the employee needs. This is sad but it is a reality more often than one would think.
It will take me a minimum of 45 minutes to one hour to complete an interview. By this time I put everything that is relevant to their case and claim. Then it is time for me to give my legal advice. That takes about 15 minutes.
If the client decides not to hire me or I advise the client not to hire a lawyer at that moment, I will ALWAYS write a letter to them summarizing the case and state that I am NOT their lawyer. That is called a “letter of non-engagement”. This is so I don't wake up in the middle of the night 3 months down the road wondering why I have not performed any legal work in this case!
More to come on the client experience in my office in another writing soon.