The Value Of The First Consult

Making that first call to the Attorneys is so hard if your matter is a personal one and not connected to business. However, maybe even more difficult is that first visit – the first consult. We are all so concerned with what others think of us; how others will perceive the way we dress, the way we speak;  that we quite forget that Attorneys are professionals who mostly don’t let things like that register. They are there to listen to your legal problems and help you to the best of their abilities.

Our Clients sometimes draw our attention to the way they are dressed with the intention of saying, we were in a hurry or whatever, but what they don’t realise is that none of this concerns us; we are only interested in how we can assist them. We do not judge.

When you make an appointment to visit our offices for a consult, please don’t hesitate or think twice about what will be thought of you. You don’t have the right suit or jewellery or shoes or whatever? Of course you do! As long as you are dressed and you arrive for your consult that is all that matters.

Please be assured that we are all about assisting you – our Client – nothing else. If you want to cry – then cry. We have tissues and when a matter is sad and personal people do cry and that’s OK. If you want to laugh, then laugh. Just be you and express yourself as you usually would. Feel comfortable and don’t concern yourself with what others may be thinking.

If you’re here for a divorce or something else really personal, you may be daunted at the thought of discussing what happens in the bedroom. Be re-assured that firstly, oddly enough, it’s a lot easier talking to a stranger about these things and secondly the Attorneys listen only with the thought of how these details can assist your matter – they do not listen with ears of censure and criticism.

Other things for your consideration are that we are big on privacy. So although you will speak to our Secretaries and although they will know your matter is a divorce matter (or whatever other personal matter it may be); that is all they know. They have not and will never have the details of your matter. Only our Attorneys have those facts. Our Attorneys the keepers of your confidences; the stronghold of your secrets.

Divorce and other personal legal matters go hand in hand with a lot of emotional turbulence and Clients feel they are taking a beating with their matter. Once again however, it is important to point out that the ‘beating ‘they take is not from the legal process itself but from their Spouse, and the intense life changing situations they encounter in divorce.

Usually one of the Spouses re-locates; one of the Spouses has the Minor Children residing with them and the other Spouse has the Minor Children visiting with them. They both have to deal with their respective family’s input and opinions as well as those of their friends and colleagues.

Unfortunately our Clients fall victim to everyone’s opinions – which can be hurtful and confusing. Alas during that same time they are working with us, their Attorneys, to reach some settlement upon which they can both agree to compromise. Therefore there are some things to remember that will really help you during this process:

  • We are not the enemy; we simply follow your instructions and advise along the way so as to get you the best possible outcome;
  • At the start, or as close to the beginning as possible, please give us your idea of what you want the outcome to be;
  • Don’t leave the final decision to the Attorneys and then blame them when they get that result for you but you didn’t tell us everything.

If you think about a reasonable result and convey that to your Attorneys then they have a target to reach for you and they will move heaven and earth to accomplish that. So, please, guide them in the right direction for you and tell them exactly what you want and if it’s at all legally possible to achieve they will.

Matters such as Divorce are very personal things and Clients who experience this must always remember that their Attorneys – no matter how it may seem to them from time to time – are always on their side.  Sometimes when families, friends and colleagues have their say, they would have you believe they know better than we do. They mean no harm; they are only trying to show how they care for you, but if you’ve instructed an Attorney to handle the matter for you, then let them get on with that instruction. They are the professionals and therefore the best people to carry your matter through to completion.

Make sure you attend that first consult. You don’t have to go through with anything else immediately, but that first consult is of vital importance because your Attorney will explain in detail to you how the Law applies itself to your particular situation and that knowledge will prove invaluable in assisting you to make an informed decision about the way forward.


Patricia Godwin

Practice Manager

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