Your reasons for needing a free lawyer consultation will have some impact on what you can expect, but most free consultations do tend to follow a similar pattern. During the consultation, your lawyer will probably want you to briefly explain why you need her services. After hearing your reasons, she will probably tell you whether she thinks she can help you. Your lawyer might then go on to give you a few different options pertaining to your situation. The last thing that will probably be discussed at your free lawyer consultation is payment, including how much is needed upfront, if any, and when the money would be expected.
You should not expect to get any legal advice during your free consultation. Many people mistakenly believe that a free lawyer consultation involves getting some legal advice, but the majority of lawyers will not offer it until they receive some form of compensation. A consultation is normally set up to give a lawyer and a potential client a chance to meet and determine whether the client could benefit from the lawyer's services depending on her situation. Most lawyers spend no more than 30 minutes with a client during a free consultation, and this is normally just enough time to hear the basics of the client's situation, touch on options, and discuss payment.
It is not always necessary to make a decision as to whether you are going to hire a lawyer at a free consultation. Many people choose to speak with different lawyers about their situations because some lawyers may be more qualified than others, and some lawyers might additionally charge less or offer clients payment plans that aren't possible at other legal firms. It might be a good idea for you to shop around and schedule free consultations with multiple lawyers so you can be sure you're hiring the appropriate person to handle your legal situation. Until you have made your decision as to which lawyer to hire, you can thank the different lawyers you meet with for their time, get their contact information, and let them know that you might be back in touch later.
There is usually no reason to worry that any lawyer you meet with will share the details of your situation with anyone else. Lawyers are normally bound by confidentiality laws that forbid them to share personal information of either clients or potential clients. During your free lawyer consultation, you should also not leave feeling pressured to hire a specific lawyer. It is generally best if lawyers are open and upfront during free consultations, explaining exactly how they can help you. If the lawyer you speak with makes you feel uncomfortable by adding lots of extra pressure, it might be best to keep looking until you find a lawyer who doesn't do this because it is typically considered important for clients to feel comfortable with the lawyer they choose.