• Does the lawyer charges for an initial interview
and, if so, how much?
• If your problem is routine, does the attorney
have a standard fee? What does it cover?
• If your problem appears more complicated,
ask about how fee work. Does the attorney
charge by the hour or for what you need is
there a standard flat fee?
• Does the lawyer have a written document
describing fees and services provided?
Write down the information and compare
the answers you receive to other Elder Law
Attorneys. After you have reviewed your list,
call back for an appointment to interview
the attorney or attorneys whose answers
satisfied you the most. Most of these “initial
consultations” are free or provided at a nominal
cost. Go to the first interview with an open
mind. You don’t have to decide to employ the
lawyer you are interviewing until you have had
time to think about it.
Consultation/Interview - Be Organized
Be organized when you first meet with the
lawyer. It is important to have with you a written
summary and/or detailed notes outlining your
problem. Have the names, addresses, phone
numbers, documents, paperwork and all other
pertinent information that you need so the
lawyer can review them if needed at the time
of your appointment. You may need to drop off
the information in advance so that the lawyer
can review them before your appointment.
Questions to Ask At Visit
Prepare to ask questions before you visit
• Have you had experience with this type of
problem before? How recently? How often?
What was involved?
• What percentage of your practice is devoted
to this kind of problem?
• Will you personally be working on my case?
• Do you have an estimate of the cost to resolve
• How do you handle payment for services?
And for expenses?
When you hire a lawyer, the lawyer will be
working for you. He or she should be genuinely
interested in your problem and in giving you
the best possible advice. The lawyer may not
be able to accomplish everything you wish
because of the facts or the law that apply in your
case. Many times a good lawyer will advise you
to avoid court action. A lawyer should be able
to explain, in terms you can understand, what
he or she hopes to accomplish for you and how
he or she plans to do it.
Think about how the lawyer responded
to your questions, his or her experience and
whether you will be able to work with the lawyer.
Roberta J. Creighton
Board Certified Elder Law Attorney
• Elder Law
• Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts,
Durable Power of Attorney,
Special Needs Trusts, Health
Care Surrogate Designations
& Living Wills
• Medicaid Planning
• Probate Administration
• Trust Administration
Putnam, Creighton & Airth, P.A.
500 S. Florida Avenue, Suite 300
Lakeland, FL 33801