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.
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.