Q: Do I have to pay for an initial consultation?
A: No. All new clients receive a free initial consultation.
Q: Where do your attorneys live and work?
A: Our attorneys are local residents and have deep roots in local communities. In general, the courtroom is the arena where our attorneys spend most of their time; however, when not working we always seek to add value to our communities through religious, social and civic endeavors.
Q: What kind of attorney do I need?
A: Many attorneys specialize in one area of the law. Our attorneys are not so narrowly confined and instead enjoy wide ranging expertises. There are few areas of the law we haven’t experienced.
Q: How much do your attorneys charge?
A: There are several different types of fee arrangements, including hourly fees, flat fees and contingent fees. Hourly fees are calculated by multiplying the amount of hours an attorney works on your case by the attorney’s hourly rate. Contingent fees are fees that allow the attorney to receive a certain agreed-upon percentage of any judgment amounts you receive. A fixed rate places a set price for the services an attorney will provide you with. Attorney fees are usually calculated without including court costs and filing fees that are usually paid upfront by the client. Our attorneys seek to explain our fees and billing practices prior to engaging their services.
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Q: When does an attorney-client relationship begin?
A: In theory, an attorney-client relationship is formed whenever a lawyer gives you legal advice. No papers need to be signed and no money needs to change hands. This is why we insist that no information on this website is meant to be legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed just by reading this site. However, in general, you retain a lawyer by signing a Service or Retainer Agreement, and the lawyer keeps working for you until the case is over, you fire them, or they withdraw. Good legal practice requires all major decisions to be documented in writing and our firm requires the same in each case.
Q: Why won’t my lawyer do what I say all the time?
A: When you hire a lawyer, they work for you; however, a lawyer retains a measure of professional independence (much like a doctor, or any other professional). A lawyer cannot allow a client to make all the decisions about his or her case.
Certain decisions can be made only by a client. These include whether to retain the lawyer; whether or not to initiate or settle a case; and whether the client should testify in court. A lawyer can give advice on these matters, but the final decision is always the client’s.
Other decisions must be made by the lawyer themselves. These include almost all procedural matters, including the type and form of documents presented to a court; the form and manner of legal argument; how to present evidence; and how to communicate with the court and opposing parties. A lawyer who does not retain control of these aspects of a case cannot provide adequate representation, and may have to withdraw if their client refuses to follow their advice.
Q: I think I know the law pretty well. There are just a few things I don’t understand. Can I hire you but do most of the work myself?
A: No. You can hire a attorney whose representation is limited to a particular problem or task, if that limit is specified with particularity at the outset. However, once a attorney undertakes to represent someone on an entire case, they are wholly responsible for it, and must handle the entire matter.