What aspects, other than actual legal issues, do most attorneys consider when consulting with a potential/new client for the first time?

I ask this question in order to find the right attorney for my case. I’ve wasted a lot of time myself and perhaps of those I have already consulted with unintentionally simply by not considering and/or knowing what matters in the first consultation for attorneys who meet with potential clients. For the kind of answer I seek by asking this question, lets assume that a new client has cause and legal facts are just for a lawsuit.
Thank you.

Asked on March 11, 2018 under Personal Injury, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The economics of the case are a large part of it. If the attorney commonly works on a contingency basis (i.e. where the lawyer gets a share of the recovery, and so is only paid if the client gets paid) and/or the client asks for the case to be taken on a contingency basis, then 1) does the harm or loss suffered by the client support a large enough recovery to make taking the case--that is, will the lawyer's share be worthwhile? and 2) does the defendant have insurance to pay any awards against it, and/or is a "deep pocketed" enough defendant to pay the award without insurance? If you can't collect the money, after all, it doesn't matter what in theory you won.
If the case will be taken on an hourly basis, the issue is, does the client appear to be able to pay? Will he or she provide a large-enough retainer?
Another issue is, does this client appear to be difficult? I have turned down potential clients who, even during the initial consultation, look like they will require excessive hand holding, will be constantly bothering me, will not understand if something doesn't work out for them (since not case can be guaranteed, this is always a possibility), etc.--needy and emotionally volitile clients can make a case simply not worthwhile, given the amount of stress and distraction they will cause.
Related to the above: will the client be a good witness? If the client will not present will on the witness stand or during a deposition, that can drastically weaken a case.
Related to this last point: even if the facts appear to support the case, is there documentary, etc. evidence to support those facts? Facts must be provable in court; if they can't be proven, it does not matter how favorable they are in theory.

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