Preparing for Your First Meeting with Your Family Law Lawyer | LMR
How to Date a Lawyer. Lawyers have their own way of doing things, and if you're dating (or plan to date) one, you'll need to make some adjustments in your life. Obvious advice of the day: If you care about your job, don't date in the office. You never have the chance to meet anyone if you don't date. In any of these situations, you may consider hiring a lawyer to advise you or represent your interests. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers the following.
By doing so, you will be able to keep your discussion with your lawyer focused and directed. Prepare a summary outlining your family history for the benefit of your lawyer. It is helpful for the lawyer to receive from you details such as the date you began living with your partner, the date of your marriage, the date you separated and details concerning your children names and dates of birth.
Outline the history of employment for both you and your partner as well as details as to your current income levels, should you know that. Prepare a summary of your assets and debts if you can.
Think about what your concerns are and what your objectives are.
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If you are presently a stay at home parent, do you have any aspirations or plans to return to school or to seek out employment at some point down the road? Do you have concerns about how you will be able to meet your expenses? These concerns will likely be reflected in the list of questions you prepare — or should be! Bring a friend or family member along with you. There is a lot of information that will be provided to you during the course of your initial interview.
What Is an Initial Consultation Fee? An initial consultation fee is the fee the lawyer charges for your first meeting. Do not expect to get legal advice during this first meeting. Some lawyers charge their usual hourly rate for an initial consultation; some charge a reduced rate; and others offer free initial consultations.
Be sure to ask about the initial consultation fee when you make an appointment. Fees for private lawyers vary and are negotiable. Three types of fee arrangements are common: Hourly Fee Hourly rates depend on the city or town, the type of cases they work on, and the amount of experience the lawyer has. People often underestimate what their case will cost.
If the lawyer charges an hourly fee, the lawyer will bill you for small tasks like writing emails to you and answering your telephone calls. Some lawyers charge for their time in six-minute increments, and will round up. The lawyer may be able to estimate at the first meeting the number of hours it will take to finish the case. But often unexpected things happen and the lawyer will spend more time on your case than she estimated.I WANNA BECOME A LAWYER,CAN WE GO ON A DATE NOW EPS 2 SOCIAL EXPERIMENT
So you should regularly ask about the legal costs. You can also ask for an itemized bill every month. This will help you understand what you owe.
Ask the lawyer whether itemized billing would increase her charges. Some lawyers will consider reduced rates if you are low-income. They may decide to lower their fees based on your financial situation and their current caseload. This kind of fee is often used for cases that are not complicated, like reviewing real estate sales documents, drafting a will, drawing up a contract, or handling a divorce that is uncontested.
You and your lawyer should agree on the flat fee in advance. Be sure to ask if the flat fee could change if your case becomes more difficult than expected. The lawyer may ask for thirty percent of the amount you are awarded, calculated after the lawyer deducts costs.
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Usually, you will have to pay the costs as they come up. But your lawyer may agree to pay the costs herself and deduct that amount from the money you are awarded.
You may still have to pay costs even if you lose your case. A lawyer cannot represent you in a criminal case on a contingency fee. The rules that all lawyers must follow do not let them charge a contingent fee for a divorce case.
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But after a divorce has been granted, a lawyer is allowed to help you collect overdue child support or maintenance alimony on a contingent fee basis. You should ask your lawyer for a written fee agreement. Make sure you understand the agreement before you sign it. The agreement should be clear about what the lawyer will do for you and how and when you will pay her. The lawyer should give you with an itemized bill regularly.
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Usually, lawyers send bills monthly. But bills can be sent on any schedule that you and the lawyer agree to. An itemized bill will give you a better understanding of the work the lawyer is doing and how much that work costs.
What Is a Fee Payment Schedule? A fee payment schedule is a monthly payment plan that lets you pay a certain amount every month.
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Many lawyers will agree to a fee payment schedule after they have been paid the advance fee deposit. Usually, interest will be charged on the amount owed. If you have not arranged a payment plan, you may have to pay the full amount you owe each month.
Consider taking out a loan, borrowing from friends or family, or using a credit card. If you are low-income and have a certain type of case, you may be eligible for free legal help. See Resources at the end of this memo for more information.
Generally, a lawyer should give you a written agreement describing exactly what the lawyer will do for you. Most lawyers will ask you to pay for this limited service up front.
When you call for an appointment, tell the lawyer that you are calling for limited services, so that the lawyer gives you the right information about her fees. Ask if your first meeting will just be an initial consultation or if she can do the limited service right then. It is helpful to have a list of questions written out and space to write notes. Your notes will be helpful if you are comparing lawyers.
Bring documents related to your case. Explain your legal problem — share all the facts, both good and bad, about your situation. Tell the lawyer what you want to happen with your case. This information is important for the lawyer to know.
Initial consultations are confidential. Meaning everything said and written between you and the lawyer at this meeting cannot be shared without your permission.
How long will it take to complete the case? What role do I have as a client in making decisions about the case? How will you tell me about plans and problems as the case goes along? Will you answer all of my questions even when they seem unimportant or difficult? What is your experience with cases like this?
Do you have the time to work on my case? How long have you practiced law?