by Melinda Gallo

First consultation with a lawyer

In the attempts of trying to get my Italian citizenship here in Italy, I thought I'd see a lawyer who specializes in this. I found two who did and one was in Florence quite close to my apartment. I called on Tuesday and had an appointment for Thursday.

I arrived a bit early for my 50 Euros consultation. I asked her how much she charged an hour and the response was to come in for a consultation, so I did. I have a few discrepancies on the documentation I have to file and since the Comune told me to get that all worked out, I figured that I'd ask for her opinion.

My father's birth certificate spelled his first name "Amilio;" however, he has always used "Emilio" even on his passport. How he changed it no one really knows, but he did. The Italian consulate in the US said that little discrepancies like that are not a big deal since they have all the other documents with his name (spelled correctly), parent's name, etc.

I'd like to file here in Italy only because the wait is about 2 months and not 2 years! I'm supposed to be getting my citizenship by the end of next year, but I filed in June 2004!

She was very vivacious and talked to me about the process. By the end of our discussion, I was very excited and planned to go to the American Consulate the next day to see what they could do for the name discrepancies.

She told me that only foreigners seem to ask the hourly rate. I assumed that's what you do, but I've never been to a lawyer before and I assumed it was the same everywhere. She told me that they can't really do it that way that they have minimums and rates for certain cases, but not just an hourly rate.

I gave her the 50 Euros although I think the rate is much higher as she didn't give me a receipt and told me that her colleagues would be upset if they knew how little the consultation was.

At any rate, I left the office walking on air, excited about maybe getting things cleared up quicker than I had imagined.

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