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Inna and I were about to get married. We were taking our adult children to the Napa Valley for the wedding – their first trip to wine country.

One wasn’t sure he like to drink. One would rather drink beer. One would drinking anything – as long as there was lots to drink.

So what would the trip bring? Would the wine tasting be a complete bust?

The wedding celebration at our favorite winery. You could feel the excitement in the group as the owner of the winery poured the first wine to be tasted.

The one who didn’t think he’d drink – he was totally into wine. The one who’d rather drink beer – not anymore. The one who just wanted to drink alot  – not the quantity but the quality.

Did each of us have a favorite wine –  for sure – but what everyone remembered most was the experience.

Clients who walk into lawyer’s offices often feel the same things that our kids did on the way to wine country. Some are sure they will just hate it – some would rather be doing something else – some want to just dive right in.

Most clients don’t know what to expect at that first meeting. Too many lawyer stories. Too many expectations from television or movies. What’s the experience really going to be like?

Indeed, the experience can vary greatly based upon what brings you to a lawyer’s office. Some visits come during exciting times when new and exciting opportunities are coming to life. Some are painful – extremely painful. Some are just plain scary.

Frequent consumers of legal services may just view the visit as a “normal” part of business.

Whatever the reason for meeting with a lawyer one thing is always true. The experience will be one that is shared – shared by the lawyer and the client. That shared experience is necessary for both the formation of trust and to produce the best possible result for the client.

Your lawyer should listen to you. Your lawyer should care about you and the reason you are there. Your lawyer should work with you to identify your interests and discuss with you the avenues toward the result you seek.

If your first meeting with a lawyer isn’t with a lawyer at all but a staff member who is simply processing intake information. If your first meeting with a lawyer is one where you feel like your concerns were not heard or the lawyer did not really care – DO NOT HIRE THAT LAWYER.

Find one who you can trust, who listens to you, identifies your interests and offers solutions. That’s what you should expect.

You should be able to walk out of meeting knowing not only the reason you needed to talk with a lawyer, but also who will be there to guide you to a solution and there to share your experience.