Have a question? Learn the answer below.


Learn the answers to your questions here…

Read on below to learn what to expect at your consultation.

What should I expect? 

Every attorney handles the first meeting with a potential client in his or her own style and way.  Initial consultations may vary depending on the area of law being discussed, the type of dispute and other factors.

We reserve a specific time for you to meet with the attorney.  The attorney will conduct the consultation by asking various questions to determine and clarify your legal needs.  For example, I need a divorce; I have a dispute with my neighbor over the property line or my homeowner’s association says I am violating the rules.

A consultation is not the time for a lengthy discussion of the details.  There will be a time for that later, if you hire the attorney and she accepts the case.  The consultation allows the attorney to determine the legal issues involved, a brief idea of the pertinent facts and your expectations.  She may discuss options with you; provide suggestions and advice; inform you she will need to perform legal research or take additional time to review your documents thoroughly; or let you know she doesn’t believe you have a strong case.

At the conclusion of the consultation, you will need to decide if you want to hire the attorney and she will decide if she wants to take on your case.

How long will the consultation take?

We reserve 30-minutes for your consultation.  Some consultations take less time and some require the full 30 minutes.  Plan on arriving a few minutes early to check-in and complete a consultation form.  If you arrive late, it may impact the amount of time the attorney will have available for you.  Finally, we do our best to stay on track and begin every consultation at the scheduled time; however, sometimes matters arise outside of our control and you may have to wait a bit longer than expected.

How much does a consultation cost?

For a personal injury case or medical malpractice claim, the consultation is free.  Most other consultations cost $150.00.

If I have a consultation with you, may I tell the other side you are my attorney?

No, we do not represent you as a client until you have paid the requested retainer or agreed to the fee and signed a legal services agreement.

What should I bring with me?

Bring any document, photo or video that you think might help the attorney better understand the issue.  For example, if we are discussing a land issue, bring the relevant deeds and plats.

Write down and bring any specific questions you may have.

Bring a notebook to take notes of any suggestions, instructions or advice from the attorney.

If I have another unrelated legal issue, may I discuss it at the consultation?

Consultations are limited in time and scope.  If you schedule an appointment to discuss a commercial lease for your business, but begin discussing your grandmother’s estate, we are likely not going to have time to properly discuss either.

If you have multiple matters, please let us know when you schedule the consultation.  We will either reserve a full hour for the consultation or schedule two separate meetings.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards, cash and check.

If you do not take my case or I choose not to hire you, why do I have to pay the consultation fee?

The consultation fee not only compensates for the attorney’s time, but also takes into consideration that the attorney is now prohibited from representing the opposing party.

What if I need to reschedule or cancel my appointment?

Please call us as soon as you know of the conflict.

What if I am unable to come to your office for the consultation?

We understand that it may not be practical or possible to meet in our office.  Some of our clients are home-bound or reside in another state.  If you are local, we provide home visits with the attorney as an option.  Other options include telephone consultations and video calls using Zoom.

Other tips?

While you may bring a friend or family member with you, it is best he or she wait in the lobby while you meet with the attorney.  Allowing others to be a part of the consultation may defeat the confidentiality you would otherwise expect.

If the attorney is asking lots of questions and limiting your answers, please understand she is not trying to be short or cut you off, but is trying to obtain the information she needs to properly evaluate your case.  There will be ample time later to discuss details and develop witness lists after you have hired the attorney.

Never lie.  The truth always comes out eventually, so be honest with the information you provide, even if it doesn’t shed the best light on your case.

You may send documents in advance of the consultation; however, the attorney does not read, review or revise them in advance of the meeting.  You may bring documents with you and are encouraged to do so; however, understand that reviewing lengthy contracts, trusts or similar documents and rendering legal opinions may exceed the scope, purpose and time available at a consultation.

Even if you feel certain you will not likely be able to afford a legal retainer, it still may benefit you to have the consultation and obtain some direction and advice about your issue.

What if I’ve already been sued?

If you have been served with a lawsuit, you will only have a small window of time to file an answer with the court.  Call as soon as you have been served and inform the person you are speaking with that you have been served with a lawsuit.  It may be several weeks before we have a consultation time available, which would be too late if you have already been sued.   Our staff will do their best to work you in as soon as possible in those situations.

You may have heard the stories of cybercrime and wire fraud being on the rise.  As a result of the ever increasing and sophisticated ways criminals develop to hack our computers, steal our information and commit fraud, we require specific protocols to be followed in the ordering of a wire transfer.  If we are handling your real estate transaction, someone from the firm will contact you and communicate with you closely to ensure proper precautions are taken to minimize the risks of cybercrimes and wire fraud.  Further, our wiring instructions will never change during your real estate closing.  If you receive additional wiring instructions from our firm asking that you wire to a different account or bank, contact us immediately.

We are often asked the question why do I need title insurance if you examined the title?  The short answer is, title insurance covers matters that were not discovered or could not be discovered during the examination.

Even the most thorough search of the public deed records cannot absolutely assure that no title hazards are present.  In addition to matters shown by public records, other title problems may exist that cannot be disclosed in a search. A few examples of the most common hidden risks that can cause a loss of title or create an encumbrance on title are: false impersonation of the true owner of the property; forged deeds, releases or wills; undisclosed or missing heirs; instruments executed under invalid or expired power of attorney; mistakes in recording legal documents and improperly indexing by the Clerk’s Office; misinterpretations of wills or wills not properly probated; confusion due to similar or identical names; delivery of deeds after the death of former owner; deeds by persons of unsound mind; deeds by minors; liens for unpaid estate, inheritance, income or gift taxes; and fraud.  As a result, it is never advisable to purchase property without both a title examination and an owner’s title insurance policy.

Under Georgia’s Good Funds Law (which is codified at O.C.G.A. § 44-14-13), our firm IS NOT PERMITTED to close and fund a transaction until we have “collected funds” in our trust account. “Collected funds” means funds deposited, finally settled and credited to our trust account. Collected funds does not include certified, personal or cashier’s checks.  If you will be paying money at closing, you must make advance arrangements with your bank to schedule a wire transfer to our trust account. It is highly recommended you speak with your bank well in advance of your expected closing date to understand their requirements for a wire transfer, the time involved and to be sure there are no delays in your wire being processed.  Call us and we will provide you with wiring instructions.

What is a retainer?

A retainer is a down payment for legal representation in your case.  The initial retainer varies from case to case depending on a variety of factors, including the complexity of the case and the expectations of the client.

The retainer paid to the attorney guarantees to you that the attorney is ready, willing and able to accept your case.  It also ensures the attorney will not be permitted to represent the opposing party.  In some instances, acceptance of a retainer from a client means the attorney will have to turn away other cases due to concerns involving ethics and professionalism or time constraints involved in your case. The retainer provides assurance to the attorney that he or she will be compensated for the time and work expended on your case.

Clients will be given a legal services invoice normally on a monthly schedule; although, if the retainer is extinguished quickly, you may receive an invoice more frequently.  A client may call the office anytime to request his or her retainer balance. The client will not be billed for a retainer balance inquiry.  The invoice will outline the time and work spent on your case.  It will also show if you have a balance left on your retainer.  Depending on many factors, including the nature of your case, the opposing party and the opposing attorney, how many parties and attorneys are involved in the matter, you may be requested to replenish your retainer in full from time to time.

In other cases, in addition to the initial retainer or down payment, we will set forth what is often called an evergreen retainer.  This means if your retainer falls below a certain amount, your retainer will need to be replenished.

Why is my case costing more than the retainer the attorney quoted?

A retainer is not a flat fee quote.  While this office does perform certain legal tasks on a flat fee basis, such as drafting a specific legal document, matters involving disputes and litigation are normally accepted only upon payment of an initial retainer.  While we take care to bill our clients fairly and make a strong effort to resolve your case efficiently, rarely are cases involving litigation or other disputes resolved within the initial retainer paid.

Also, keep in mind that a retainer does not include your litigation costs.  The retainer is used to pay the lawyer for the lawyer’s time.  In addition to the lawyer’s time, you may incur additional expenses over and above the retainer for things like photocopy costs, postage and courier fees, expert fees, court reporter fees, transcripts and other costs.

Other times, the initial impression of the case changes after we are retained.  Sometimes, clients only tell us a portion of the entire situation, perhaps, because the client felt the other part of the story was unimportant.  After the attorney begins to investigate the facts and begins developing the case, there is much more involved than was originally expected.  Sometimes, additional legal matters begin to trickle up.  For example, if you hired us to represent you in a case to recover unpaid child support, but you are later sued by your former spouse for interfering with visitation of the children, then the additional issues will likely increase the amount you originally expected to pay.

How can I save money during my case?

While some things are not in your control, such as the behavior of the opposing party, motions and delay tactics that may be made, there other elements of your case you can help with to defray the total cost of litigation.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Unless it is an emergency, do not call your lawyer each time you have a question. As you think of questions, jot them down.  At your next meeting with the attorney, ask all of the questions then or wait until you have several questions and make one telephone call.  Remember, each time you call this office, you will be billed for a call.
  • In divorce and family law cases, clients often spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of extra dollars by simply stopping in the office to speak with the attorney or paralegal, because the other party did this or did that.  If it is urgent or an emergency, of course, you need to contact us; however, simply noting such things and waiting to discuss them all at your next appointment will help reduce your litigation costs.  Remember, we bill hourly for our time.
  • If we send you a letter or request that you provide us with certain answers to a question or produce documents, do so as quickly as you can.  If we have to follow up repeatedly for information, that will cost you more money.
  • Try not to instigate additional trouble with the opposing party during the litigation.  This creates the potential for additional court hearings, motions and correspondence with the opposing attorney and, sometimes, the judge.
  • Be reasonable.  While you may know to the dollar everything that the other party owes you, refusing to negotiate a resolution will cost you more money.  Try to keep yourself open to compromise, mediation and negotiation.

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