An article in the form of questions and answers adapted from a discussion that I had a while ago with a surfer and who shows a little how to correctly apprehend the first appointment with a lawyer.
In italics, the questions of the user:
I am entitled to legal aid and following my dismissal, I wish to meet a lawyer to know if I must put my employer before the prudhommes and what I can ask. Will the lawyer’s consultation be billed to me and if so how many? Otherwise, who can I consult to obtain information on the opportunity to go before the prudhommes and what I could ask?
Let’s be clear to avoid disappointment.
All consultations with a lawyer are, in principle, paid, which is normal (with the exception of consultations that are only intended to inform the client about the cost of the intervention of the lawyer). Each lawyer does as he wishes regarding the invoicing or not of the first consultation but few work for free.
We spend time on a file to assess whether our client is in his right or not: examine his pieces, listen to what he has to tell us about his situation, what he wants to do in the future, the advise on this and consider with him the opportunity to initiate a procedure or rather to try to amicably settle his dispute.
A lawyer may well refuse to take a person to legal aid. In fact, the lawyer, like any other person, has to support himself and the AJ allows him to collect on average a fee three to five times less than his usual fee.
To avoid paying for the consultation, you must already file your AJ file and a lawyer must be appointed. The latter will not be able to ask you any fee, provided that it is designated to the total legal aid. Unfortunately, it will only be paid at the end of the journey if there is legal proceedings. Thus, even if initiating a procedure is not the best option, it will be much more likely to proceed as if it had not been designated under the AJ.
You can also go to a lawyer, pay for the consultation, see with him if your case is solid and then agree that he will assist you to start the procedure at the AJ if he accepts. It is a good solution.
Regarding the cost of consulting outside AJ, the lawyer’s fees are free and depend on several criteria such as the difficulty of the case, the reputation and specialization of the lawyer. Competence has a price, in any case.
In addition, we can not compare a quick consultation to give “basic” information with a close consultation of nearly three hours that require prior research.
Thus, few lawyers do not charge the first consultation.
I totally agree with you that a lawyer must be paid for his work but in fact my main concern is that my financial means are weak and I hesitate to spend money if it’s for nothing and I I do not have the slightest idea of a simple consultation with a lawyer. I also think that with the legal aid, the lawyer should be paid from the beginning of the case that he must defend and proportionally to the complexity of it, you make a difficult job that must be recognized.
The state is unfortunately not of your opinion. To give you an idea, we receive less than 800 euros for a labor tribunal file at AJ, which corresponds to about six hours of work on the file.
Imagine, therefore, already a first meeting of two hours. As a rule, on labor court files, it is more like 15 to 20 hours of processing on small files and sometimes more than 100 hours on very large files.
A starting idea would be to go to the free legal consultations organized by the Orders in the Courthouses or also in some town halls. The consultation will last about twenty minutes but it can already give you a starting idea for free. Be careful to try to find a lawyer practicing labor law, this is not always the case.
If the file seems interesting, you can try a paid appointment with a lawyer practicing the subject (ask for the directory of the Order and look for lawyers specialized in social law or those whose labor law is the area of activity ). The appointment will be billed generally between 60 euros minimum (for a short period of time) up to 300 euros (long appointment and study of the file).
It should be kept in mind that the lawyer is an investment in the future: his intervention relieves you of some of the stress due to the dispute and greatly increases your chances of success and especially your chances of obtaining a much more satisfactory for you.