Your First Attorney Meeting
What to Expect
In most cases, our first meeting will be a consultation. (If you’d like to discuss retirement division, we may be able begin the process with a telephone call instead of an in-person meeting.) You’ll have a chance to explain your whole situation. That’s important for both of us. I need to know your whole story so I know how to advise you. Then you’ll be able to ask questions and consider your options.
You’ll start the process by calling my office. Maybe you are gathering information and preparing to file a complaint or motion, or perhaps you’ve been formally served with court papers. Whenever you’re ready, you can call to set up an appointment. We’ll meet for up to an hour for a flat fee of $75.00.
When you come, it will help if you bring some documents with you. If you’ve been served, please bring copies of those documents. If financial issues are involved, please bring income information for you and your partner, information about daycare costs, medical insurance and any other extraordinary expenses you or your children may have (like private school, braces, etc.) If you are divorcing, we should also discuss assets and their values, so information about bank accounts, retirement, real estate and vehicles, as well as any mortgages, liens or other debts will be helpful.
What comes next:
Having a consultation doesn’t automatically mean I am your lawyer. If you decide you would like me to represent you, you can refer to me as your attorney once you sign a fee agreement and provide your retainer, if yours is a case where a retainer is required. (Some work is billed on a flat fee basis and you’ll need to pay that fee to start representation.) I’ll hold your retainer funds in my trust account, and I’ll send you bills monthly so you can see the work I’ve done and keep track of how much of your retainer I’ve used. Sometimes your case will be completed and you’ll still have money left in trust. I’ll refund that (see below). Other times, I’ll ask you to refresh your retainer funds while representation is ongoing.
During your case, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Once you’ve retained me, it is usually easiest for us to communicate by email. If you prefer the phone, I’ll make every effort to return your call in 24 hours.
Representation is concluded when:
- Your QDRO is approved by the plan administrator
- You receive a final judgment (or perhaps a signed agreement)
- You sign and receive your estate planning documents
- You receive an opinion from the appeals court
When that happens, I’ll provide you copies of your final documents with a letter noting the conclusion of representation and the status of your fee balance. If you have funds remaining in trust, I’ll refund them on the next billing cycle. I’ll also purge my file and shred documents about 90 days later, so if there are any original documents you’d like returned to you, please let me know. You should also be aware that the Court will terminate my appearance as your attorney in their system 30 days after any final order is filed; after that I will not receive notices of any renewed litigation unless you contact me.