What Does a “Free Consultation” Really Mean?
You’ve heard it on radio and television ads, and you’ve likely seen it on our own advertisements and web page – FREE CONSULTATIONS! But, what does that really mean?
A free consultation usually starts as a telephone call or a website submission of your question. During this initial consultation, you and the attorney should be able to quickly determine whether we specialize in your particular problem and whether you have a case that we can pursue.
If our initial conversation reveals that we can help you, the next step is to invite you to our offices for a personal consultation appointment. This appointment is included as part of your free consultation, and you will not be charged any fees for this meeting.
To prepare for your consultation appointment you should put together any and all legal documents and court orders that already exist in your case. It is perfectly okay to bring a written list of questions to your appointment so that you get the most out of your consultation. Sometimes this helps us understand what other goals and expectations you might have.
If your consultation is regarding a criminal matter, the first thing that we’ll do is talk about what happened. Your memories about what happened are extremely important to us. Your description of your arrest, and what led up to your arrest, helps us to determine the best course of action to take in your case. Your consultation will also include an overview of the charges against you, what evidence the prosecutor may need to prove their case, and a discussion of the potential penalties that you are facing.
If your consultation is regarding a family law matter, such as divorce or custody, the first thing that we will do is review any existing judgments or court orders that may already exist in your case. If you are starting a new case, then we will talk about what has happened within your family that leads you to the difficult decision of contacting an attorney. We will discuss the process of a divorce or custody case, what the next steps are, and how best to protect you and your family during this difficult process. We may even give you referrals to other professionals who can provide additional assistance, such as financial planners, mortgage consultants, appraisers, family counselors, and even life and career coaches.
Regardless of the type of case that you have, we will also discuss our background so that you can understand how our expertise will help you with your own case. And, we will discuss what it takes to get us hired, including our fees and any foreseeable expenses that we may incur during the course of your case.
Your free consultation appointment may last for 15 minutes, or it may last for an hour or more depending on how long it takes us to determine your needs, to formulate a plan for meeting your needs, and to determine the fee for our future services. You will not pay us any attorney fees until you actually hire us to represent you.
Sometimes we receive questions that we are, unfortunately, not able to help you with. If your case is simply outside the scope of our expertise, we make every effort to put you in touch with another experienced attorney who can help you. If you do not have a case that can be pursued, we make every effort to explain why your case cannot, or should not, be pursued at this time.
We understand that when you contact us for a free consultation, you are probably going through a stressful crisis in your life. Either you have been arrested, are being sought for questioning, have been served with divorce papers, or are being threatened with losing custody of your children. The most important thing to remember during your consultation is to just be honest with us about what happened. The point of your consultation is to determine how we can best help and protect you. You might be surprised to learn that the one thing you are too embarrassed or ashamed to tell us is something that we deal with on a daily basis.