Initial Consultations with a Smith Rayl Attorney
The purpose of the initial consultation is simple – to help discover whether one of our attorneys is the right choice of representation for you.
What happens in an initial consultation?
In essence, an initial consultation is a private conversation between you and an attorney. Before you speak with an attorney, we will ask you to fill out and sign this form so that we have your contact information and to confirm that you understand the purpose of an initial consultation. We will ask you a variety of questions in order to understand your circumstances, objectives, and other information relevant to your legal issue, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you would like, including questions to help you decide whether or not our firm is the right choice for you. We hope to build a lasting relationship upon the first meeting, and we want you to feel as comfortable as possible.
If I come in for an initial consultation, am I obligated to hire you?
Not at all. In some initial consultations we can give the client all the advice necessary, with no need for our further services, but if your issue requires more work by us, the attorney can outline our services, fees, and expenses, and offer you a written Legal Services Agreement. Then, if you want to hire our firm, we can begin work. Your attorney will lead you through each step of the process.
It is confidential?
Except in rare circumstances that your attorney can explain, your initial consultation is completely confidential, and any information that you share with us during this period will remain private unless you decide otherwise.
So does that mean you're my lawyer?
No. In an initial consultation, you are not our client; you're our prospective client, which means that some of the professional obligations that a lawyer owes a client apply, but not all of them. The distinction is important primarily for determining if and when we have a conflict of interest. Even so, as discussed above, the initial consultation is confidential. You will not be our client, and we will not be your lawyers, until we both sign a legal services agreement that describes the services we will perform for you, the compensation for those services, and other terms and conditions.
How long does it take?
Initial consultations generally take about an hour, and we ask that you schedule an appointment in advance. We prefer to meet with you at our offices, although we can hold a telephone consultation if necessary, and if the situation calls for it, we may be able to meet at another location, as long it is somewhere we can speak privately and in confidence.
It is expensive?
You won’t be paying a small fortune for any initial consultation with our firm. The charge is a flat fee of $150, and we accept cash, checks, money orders, Visa, MasterCard, or Discover – whatever works best for you.
Does an initial consultation mean you will take my case?
Not necessarily. We will not be able to help you if your case falls outside of our areas of practice or if it poses a conflict of interest for us, perhaps because it involves a dispute with one of our existing clients. In addition, we may choose not to accept your case if we do not believe we will be able to offer you the best services we can possibly provide, maybe because your legal matter will require more time and resources than we have available at the moment or maybe because we simply do not believe we are the right lawyers for you or for your particular case.
And, of course, you may decide not to hire us. We offer personal services, and we understand that you may not think our services are the best fit for you, for whatever reason you may have. An initial consultation carries no further obligation to engage our services or to incur any additional cost.
If the attorney you speak with decides not to accept your case, or if you decide we are not the right firm for you, we can often give you the names of other lawyers who may be able to help.
Either way -- whether our services are right for you, or you need the help of a different attorney -- you will never know until you meet with one of our lawyers. So if you are looking for representation, please contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.