INITIAL CONSULTATION POLICIES

Free, brief initial consultation

When a new, prospective client finds or is referred to the Law Office of Michael L. Rich (LOMLR), s/he will either hear back from the attorney or his assistant to determine if a more detailed consultation is required or if the matter might be able to be processed by a simple answer or referral. Answers will not be given and referrals will not be made without disclosure to LOMLR of the full names of all parties to the legal dispute and the full address and telephone number of the caller/correspondent.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is intended to be established by the free, brief initial consultation. Legal opinions provided on the spur of the moment, with limited background information exchanged and without specific, fact-based research should not be relied upon for non-trivial legal matters. You are strongly advised to seek a complete, detailed consultation with Atty. Rich or the attorney(s) to whom he refers you rather than relying on the general concepts presented and discussed during a brief, initial consultation.

Within the bounds set forth above, LOMLR offers up to 15 minutes of telephone or email consultation and referral services without charge for new matters. If more time is required, make arrangements for an additional consultation at LOMLR’s initial consultation rate.

Initial office consultation

Upon reaching the conclusion that a new, prospective client needs an attorney, an initial office consultation should be scheduled in order to determine if the client wishes to retain Atty. Rich and if LOMLR is the appropriate legal resource for the particular matter. The initial office consultation includes the following: Getting to know each other, case background, fee and retainer negotiations and, often, advice and discussion of next steps.

The initial office consultation is billed at the rate of $120.00 per hour / $60.00 per half hour. That is lower than the lowest rate in LOMLR's sliding scale fee schedule and gives the prospective client valuable attorney time while discounting for the off-the-cuff nature of the information that will be provided.

It has generally been our experience that initial consultations in Children’s and Family Law matters take about one and one-half hours. Therefore, the cost will be approximately $180.00. That fee is to be paid at the time of the initial consultation. In some limited circumstances the consultation may be conducted over the telephone or by email. The same hourly rate applies and payment must be made in advance for the estimated one and one-half hour consultation.

In most cases it will be worthwhile to have the attorney review documents and become familiar with the issues before the initial consultation. If requested be sure to send the relevant documents to LOMLR in advance of your consultation. You also might find it helpful both in preparation for your initial consultation and in preparation of your case to keep a journal, write a chronology or prepare a summary of the events and contacts with the relevant people involved in your case. If you have done so or can do so in advance of the initial consultation, send those documents as well. Note that time spent reviewing documents in preparation for the initial consultation will be billed at the initial consultation rate and will be expected to be paid for at the time of the initial office consultation or in advance of the telephone or email consultation. A minimum of one-half hour will be billed for advance document review. An average of one and one-half hours should be expected for more than a few pages of advance document review.

There will be a charge of $30.00 for appointments that are not kept without being cancelled before the close of the preceding business day.

Extended Case Evaluation

The initial consultation may result in the signing of a representation agreement, but it is more often followed by a period of investigation and case evaluation. This may be necessary in order for Atty. Rich to determine if or under what conditions he wishes to accept the request for his representation or other legal services. Neither Atty. Rich nor the prospective client is under any obligation to enter into a representation agreement at the initial office consultation. Concluding the initial consultation with a request for representation will obligate the prospective client to compensate LOMLR at the agreed upon rate for the time spent on investigation and case evaluation. Advance payment of the expected amount may be requested and will need to be paid before the investigation and case evaluation will proceed.

As Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, "A lawyer's time and advice are his stock in trade."

I look forward to meeting with you.

Michael L. Rich, Esq.

 
 
 
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