In this day and age technology is where it’s at. We no longer write letters and go to stores to buy items. Instead, we email and buy what we need online. What about when we are shopping for an attorney?
Most attorneys offer a free consultation where a potential client is able to sit down with an attorney, talk about their circumstances, and get a quote for an initial retainer as well as get an idea of how that particular attorney would proceed with the case. As technology enables people to communicate via smartphones, computers and tablets, some potential clients want to conduct their free consultation through email or phone conference. Most attorneys do initial phone conferences only if the person requesting it is located in another state or they are incapacitated and unable to travel. Most do not do conferences via email at all.
Why would it matter whether you do an initial consultation with an attorney face-to-face? Because the initial interview is where you are able to meet the person who will hold your future life in their hands. They will represent your interests in court, negotiate your position for assets and support, and argue your wishes concerning your children. You want to meet them and get a sense of who they are. They also want to meet you. Through this conversation, an attorney gets to know who you are, what is important to you and can evaluate how you are being affected by the breakup of your marriage. Do you need to be advised to seek support through a therapist? Should you be encouraged to have no communication with your spouse because you are so fragile that it may unduly influence you? Do you need to know about resources available for children going through a family breakup? Is domestic violence involved?
Another very good reason to meet your attorney in person is because this is the time you have to tell what your case is all about. The attorney will be evaluating the case as you give personal information…and I do mean personal. This is an intimate conversation about your relationship, assets and wishes for your future. As you reveal information about you and your spouse, the attorney is noting whether this will likely turn into a custody dispute, whether spousal support is likely, whether the assets will warrant hiring experts to evaluate collections, real estate, or a business. These will become the building blocks the attorney uses to build your case to benefit you the most. It will also be the basis they use to quote a retainer amount and to give you a general idea of how complicated and expensive your divorce might be…information you need to know.
Lastly, if you cannot take the time to come in and meet with the attorney you are calling, they simply figure that you are not really serious about seeking their help. As busy professionals, spending time answering questions for people who have no intention of hiring them just isn’t feasible. They would prefer to spend that time working for their clients and assisting them to reach the life they want.
Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion.
WOTV 4 women’s legal expert Gail Saukas
For more on Gail and her work visit the DAWN site here.