Preparing for your First Meeting
Once you’ve confirmed a first meeting with us, there are few things to you can do and think about beforehand that will make the meeting smoother and more productive. The more preparation you do before our first meeting, the more you’ll get out of it.
Confirmation of your ID – Please bring with you:
- Photo ID e.g. driving licence or passport – do not worry if you do not have this – we will still see you!
- Evidence of your address – again do not worry if there are reasons why you do not have this.
If you are seeking legal aid for family matters
If you are intending to apply for legal aid – please bring
- your last 3 months bank statements
- your last 3 months’ salary slips
- a letter confirming evidence of the welfare benefits you are receiving.
- If you are receiving Income Support, Income based Jobseekers Allowance, Income Related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Guarantee Pension Credit – this letter should be no more than 1 month old.
Please check you are eligible –
- For many clients legal aid is no longer available. To see if you meet the criteria see http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid-for-private-family-matters
- To see if you might be financially eligible, you can use this official government calculator
Note that if you are seeking legal aid and you do not bring the relevant documents with you to the first meeting then we will be unable to see you.
- If you are intending to apply for a divorce you need to bring your original marriage certificate or a certified copy.
- Write down all your questions, and bring the list along to the meeting.
- Get together all the paperwork that may be relevant. We will need to see it. Put it in order, for example, by organising the letters or documents by date. This will make it easier for us to understand them and advise you more quickly. Bring everything that we might need, you never know what will be important.
- If the problem has a history write a chronology or list of important things in order, to help us understand quickly, and so you don’t forget to mention them.
- If you have any special needs, like avoiding stairs, or an interpreter let us know when you make the appointment. If necessary we will come to see you at home or a neutral venue.
- Make sure you ask all your questions and that you fully understand the answers you’re given. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask us to explain – that’s what we are here to do.
- We will ask you questions. Try to answer briefly, clearly and accurately. If we need to know more we will ask you.
- After the meeting we will send you a letter summarising the advice you’ve been given.
- If you are not eligible for legal aid you will need to bring some method of payment. If we have agreed a fixed fee you will need to make payment prior to the meeting.
If you want more information, have a read through the SRA’s brief guides to using a solicitor.