Get the Most from Meeting With An Employment Lawyer
By Mark Swartz
Employment lawyers can help you resolve a number of workplace disputes. They specialize in your legal rights as an employee. Also human rights issues related to your job.
You want to help the lawyer fight for your cause. They’ll be asking for information (and evidence) that supports your case. They’re hoping you’ll be realistic about outcomes.
Assisting them properly saves you time and money. It also improves the odds of winning. Knowing how to prepare smooths the path.
Gather the Facts
Before meeting with an employment lawyer, try to get your facts straight. Who said what? When and where did offending events take place? What happened after?
Separate facts from opinion. If your boss made you dress sexy for work, the actions they took in doing so are facts. Keep these details organized. An easy way is just to list what’s happened in chronological order.
Bring Evidence with You
Lawyers love evidence. Relevant documents, emails, texts, recordings…all are welcome. Eyewitness accounts hold a lot of weight. So do “smoking gun” memos showing the employer at fault.
Your lawyer will review the evidence you provide. They’ll let you know what’s acceptable and what to leave out. Expect to be told too what other evidence needs to be acquired.
Be sure to obtain all of this material lawfully though. If not it could cause you legal problems and seriously undermine your case.
Be Ready to Answer Detailed Questions
Go over your facts, opinions and evidence before the meeting. It’s not that different from a job interview. Preparation makes a big difference.
Also like a job interview, you’ll be asked a lot of questions. Be ready to cite specifics. Let the lawyer determine what’s significant.
Keep Chit Chat to A Minimum
Getting charged by the hour adds up fast. And if you’re getting free or low cost legal advice, time is limited. Therefore avoid long-winded explanations or unrelated details.
Ask the lawyer in advance about their first-visit policy. It may be free or at a reduced rate. That’s a good time to get to know each other, without the meter running wild.
Come Prepared With a Synopsis
Give your lawyer a brief overview of the situation. They want to know the essence of this matter quickly.
Condense your facts into a short story. Two minutes or less will do. Start with what you think the main issue is. Then state the key events that have taken place. End with upcoming steps you or the employer plan on taking.
Admit If You’re Partially To Blame
It’s possible your employer is entirely at fault. More probably, you’ve said or done something that’s contributed to the problem.
Don’t hold this back from the lawyer. Their role is to advocate on your behalf. If they push hard the employer may push back. A surprise weakness in your case when that happens can be ruinous.
Ask Questions and Be Realistic
Legal terminology and procedures are confusing. Lawyers know this and are good at explaining matters simply. Feel free to ask them for clarification.
As for your prospects of winning against the employer, your lawyer will advise you realistically. Your case may be perfectly valid. You could be justifiably furious at how your company has treated you. Yet nuances of the law may interfere with securing the results you want.
You might have to gird for battle. If so the lawyer may ask for a retainer. That’s a lump sum of money up front to cover their hourly fee for a fixed amount of time. Weigh that alongside your chances of securing satisfactory results. The expense and effort should be worth your likely outcomes.