WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A CONSULTATION
FIRST STEP: The first step to hiring a lawyer usually begins with an initial consultation. This can be done in person or by telephone. To minimize the stress involved in hiring a lawyer for your situation, we think it is important for you to know exactly what to expect during your initial consultation with our firm. Generally our consultations last no more than one hour. Our goal is to ensure that you leave your consultation feeling empowered with a better understanding of your rights in your particular case.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS: During your consultation, you will get a full explanation of the process you are about to undergo. We will make sure you understand exactly what the legal process is for your case and what the next steps are. You will have all of your questions answered at the consultation and we will make ourselves available for any follow-up questions you may have on the process. You will discuss your goals and how we can achieve them together. Our job is to not necessarily “win” your case but to craft a strategy to produce the best possible outcome.
KNOW YOUR LAWYER: At your initial consultation you will get to know the lawyer you are potentially hiring. You are trusting your lawyer with one of the most significant issues in your life, your legal matter. It is important that you trust your lawyer 100% and have good “chemistry” so that you will genuinely like working together. Whether you hire the lawyer you meet with at your consultation or not, you will receive substantive and useful legal advice that will help you in your case. If there are questions we can’t answer without doing more research, we will advise you immediately. In short, your hour consultation will be well worth your time and money as you will leave better informed and well prepared for the steps you need to take toward closure of your case.
KNOW THE FIRM: You will learn exactly how our firm operates. You will become familiar with our associates and paralegals, when and if they become involved in your case. Our firm does not pass-off cases to associate attorneys for the important points. We may however, have associates make court appearances on routine matters, draft documents, collaborate with you on discovery, and help answer your questions when the lead attorney may not be available. This helps you save costs in the long run. You will also get to know our paralegals who will be there to work with you on things such as scheduling appointments, document retrieval, and assisting you and your attorney to make the process run as smoothly as possible.
CONFIDENTIALITY: You will have complete confidentiality and privilege. Weather you hire us or not, we are bound by law to keep your confidence. Everything discussed about your case will be kept strictly confidential, and in almost every instance is 100% privileged and not subject to disclosure to anyone. Any exceptions to the privilege will be shared with you as appropriate, but you will be able to speak freely with your lawyer in consultation at all times.
FEES: If after your initial consultation, you decide to hire us as your counsel, we will set up a “retainer” for you. A retainer is usually a refundable fee that compensates a lawyer for the use of his or her name, reputation, and expertise. The retainer also compensates the attorney for agreeing to take on representation for you. If there is a positive balance left in your retainer once your case is closed, it will be refunded. Some cases are “flat fee” cases where a retainer is paid up front and no other compensation is due for the case. During your consultation we will review your retainer and educate you as to exactly how our costs and fees work. We will also review your lawyers’ hourly rate and provide you with a general estimate of the costs you can expect. Please note that it is extremely difficult to estimate the total cost of your case when the case is not a flat fee case, but we will be able to give you a good idea of what to expect.
COMMUNICATION: Our law firm is extremely committed to communicating with you. We pride ourselves on being exceptionally responsive to our clients even after hours and/or on weekends. Rest assured you will be heard and treated with respect in every aspect of your case. The purpose of the consultation is to help YOU so we will share good news as well as potentially unwelcoming news at all times, however, it will be done in a professional and honest manner.
Most of all, we hope you will come away from the consultation not only wanting to hire us, but knowing that we care about you, we will work hard on your behalf, and we are very appreciative of you trusting our firm to represent you. Know that you will walk away from your consultation feeling more informed and very confident that Whitbeck, Cisneros, McElroy, P.C. will always have your back.