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What to Expect When Meeting With Your Lawyer

The information contained on this website is designed to educate and inform service members and their families on their personal legal affairs. Nothing contained in the website is a substitute for the competent legal advice of a licensed attorney. Service members and their families seeking legal advice should consult the staff of the nearest installation Legal Assistance Office.

Knowing what to expect when you meet with an attorney can make your meeting more productive and efficient. Get the most out of your time together by following these tips before and during your meeting.

  • Come prepared. Bring all papers and documents related to your situation. If you aren’t sure whether or not to bring something, bring it just in case.
  • Be honest. Speak openly to your lawyer about your situation, and tell him or her everything you know. The only way you can get accurate legal advice is if you tell the full story to the best of your knowledge.
  • Understand privileged communications. Any information you provide to your attorney is private and privileged under law. This is in accordance with professional guidelines and rules of conduct. Your lawyer can’t disclose the contents of your meeting to anyone. If you give your lawyer specific permission to tell someone, then he or she may do so. However, there are a few exceptions to privileged communication. For instance, if the information you reveal suggests that harm could come to you or someone else.
  • Expect advice and discussions only in person. Your attorney likely won’t discuss cases or give advice over the phone or by email. This is for your privacy and protection.
  • Seek advice before you have a problem. It can sometimes be easier to prevent a legal problem before it happens than to solve an existing one. Don’t hesitate to seek legal advice before you act.
  • Understand that some legal services may not be available. Attorneys at a legal assistance office may not be able to help with your particular situation. Their services are intended to address personal, civil and consumer matters. Some issues are outside the scope of legal assistance. However, a legal assistance attorney can refer you to civilian counsel to handle those matters.
  • Be aware of potential costs. Although most services within a legal assistance office are provided at no cost to service members, you’ll have to pay any court or agency fees. You may also need private civilian counsel. If so, ask your legal assistance attorney if your case qualifies for pro bono representation under the American Bar Association’s Legal Assistance for Military Personnel.
  • Know your attorney. Your legal assistance attorney will be either a military judge advocate or a civilian attorney authorized by the judge advocate general to provide legal assistance, such as advising clients on personal legal affairs.

Where to find legal assistance

  • Legal assistance offices — These are located on almost every installation and ship. Use the Armed Forces Legal Services locator to search by branch of service, state or ZIP code.
  • MilitaryINSTALLATIONS — Search for a “Program or service.” Choose from “Legal Services/JAG.” Find your installation, and select “Legal.”

The information contained on this website is designed to educate and inform service members and their families on their personal legal affairs. Nothing contained in the website is a substitute for the competent legal advice of a licensed attorney. Service members and their families seeking legal advice should consult the staff of the nearest installation Legal Assistance Office.

Installation Program Directory

Find programs and services at your local installation.