Checklist for initial meeting with client

The following is a checklist of the basic issues that should be covered in an initial meeting with a new business client. Since the checklist is general in nature, it does not cover the specific issues that should be covered in connection with any particular type of matter. The transaction and document drafting checklists that appear in later chapters may provide guidance as to some of the issues to consider in a meeting dealing with a particular type of transaction or matter.


1. □ Goals and Expectations. Determine and clarify what the client’s goals and expectations are and what the client expects of the attorney. This analysis should consider both the result sought and the timetable for completion of the work. These goals and expectations may need to be adjusted to the extent they are unrealistic.

2. □ Desirability of Work. Determine whether the attorney is competent to handle the work and whether the attorney wants to take on the work.

3. □ Conflicts of Interest. Determine whether there are conflicts of interest with either existing or former clients of the attorney or with the attorney himself or herself that would prevent the attorney from accepting the work.

4. □ Timetable for Completion. Agree with the client on a timetable for completion of the work and for completion of one or more identifiable steps.

5. □ Allocation of Responsibility. Agree with the client upon an allocation of responsibility. It should be clear to the client what the next step will be and who (attorney or client) is responsible for completing this step.

6. □ Fees and Billing. Discuss fees and billing. There should be a clear understanding of the economic arrangements, including the fee that will be charged or the means of computing that fee, the timing of statements, and the attorney’s expectations regarding payment.

7. □ Written Confirmation. Send the client an engagement letter outlining the nature of the work, the timetable for completion, and arrangements regarding fees and billing. Also consider preparing a written fee agreement with the client.