Working with an Attorney
For Professional Advisors
Our firm endeavors to work with our clients and their professional advisors as a collective team.
Asking our clients to work independently with their professional advisors (without cooperation) is like asking our client to put together a jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box.
Team members may include the client and the client's family, employees, investment advisor, CPA, insurance agent, attorney, banker, and other trusted advisors.
We recognize that each member of the client's professional team is an independent professional with valuable knowledge and expertise in their respective fields.
A good professional team will work collaboratively to develop a unified understanding of the client's situation, goals and objectives, and to present the client an integrated evaluation of various options, resulting in the creation of a final product which accounts for the complete client situation, goals and objectives in all areas of the client's life, rather than a series of singular solutions presented only from each professional's own understanding and perspective, without coordination with the client's other professional advisors.
For Our Clients and Friends
Our general business hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, although different members of our office may maintain other business hours. We often make appointments outside of regular business hours, as we are available. Please let our staff know what times may work best for you.
If it is helpful to you, you are welcome to bring a friend, family member, or trusted advisor with you to your appointment. However, there may be times when the attorney asks to speak privately with you.
Sometimes attorneys are called into court on short notice, required to deal with an immediate emergency, or required to stay longer than they expected at an appointment or court appearance. We will generally contact you the day before to confirm your appointment, and make every effort to provide you with as much notice as possible if there is a last minute change to your previously scheduled appointment.
We apologize if your appointment must be postponed on short notice because of an unexpected event. If should be necessary, we will make every effort to reschedule your appointment as quickly as possible, at a time that is most convenient to you.
Good communication is one of the most important requirements for our success in helping you. Technology often allows us to communicate more efficiently. Although we enjoy meeting in person, it is often not necessary for our clients to make frequent visits to our office, and we try to minimize the number of appointments and the corresponding cost to you.
We encourage you to use our private voicemail and email to communicate with us as much as possible. We check our messages frequently, and respond when we are available, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
In any telephone message or email, it is very helpful to us if you provide us with us the purpose of your message, any deadlines, your availability to receive a return message, and the best telephone number to reach you This will help us respond to your message as efficiently as possible.
We also encourage you to be sure to contact a member of our staff in person by telephone if you have sent an urgent message, or if you have not heard back regarding a previous message.
Sometimes we are required to focus on urgent matters, such as court appearances or closing transactions. If you have not heard back regarding your previous message to an attorney, a legal assistant may be able to assist you in obtaining the information you need, or in scheduling a time when the attorney who is helping you can be available. There also may be another attorney who can help.
Our legal assistants deal with as many telephone calls, emails and other matters as possible, so that our attorneys may focus on the work that only the lawyers can do. This is in your financial interest, as it helps keep your legal fees as reasonable as possible. However, our legal assistants are not lawyers, and cannot give legal advice. The legal assistant will make sure an attorney is available to answer your legal questions when necessary.
Our staff charges for the time we spend on your matter. We do not charge you for the time we may spend catching up with you, but unless you have been given a flat fee for your matter, you will be charged for all of your contact with us relating to your legal matter, including meetings, telephone calls, voicemail and email. Your call may be directed to a legal assistant if your call is to obtain or provide information, coordinate scheduling, or if the attorney cannot immediately respond.
Because there is a cost to you for the contact you have with our office, it is in your financial interest to make your contact with us valuable to both you and our firm. You should try to think of your interactions with us as long distance telephone calls, for which you are billed by the minute. Where possible, it will reduce your costs if you can minimize the contact you have with the attorney who is helping you to legal issues, and work with legal assistants for administrative help.
We suggest you organize your thoughts before you call or email, and make sure you have all of the information you need ready before your call. Also consider taking notes.
From time to time you may be asked to provide certain information or materials in the course of our work for you. This information is often very important to our work, and it will save you money if the information you provide is accurate and complete. If some of the information is missing or not available, it is very important that you explain this to the attorney helping you.
With very limited exceptions, the information you provide our office is private, confidential, and protected by the attorney-client privilege. All of the details of your matter will be handled with the utmost discretion and respect for your privacy and confidentiality.
The attorney-client privilege is primarily a protection which belongs to the client. Therefore, it is up to you to decide with whom to share this information.
Please remember this when your family members or friends request information directly from our office. We must have your specific consent to permit any such discussions. Also, as the time spent by our office will be time worked on your matter, you will be billed for any time spent discussing your matter with anyone you request, or as is required by your situation.
However, to be kept confidential, you cannot share your conversations with us, or any specific legal advice we may give you, with anyone else (other than certain people, such as your spouse and your other professional advisors). If you share this information with other people, the information may no longer be protected by the attorney-client privilege. If you have questions about keeping information confidential, please discuss them with the attorney who is helping you.
We will work to keep you informed about the cost of our services anytime you ask for our help.
It is our goal to provide clear and concise detailed statements of the work we perform for you. If you have questions about your bill or your account, please let us know. Please direct your inquiries first to the legal assistant who works primarily with the attorney who is helping you, or to our office administrator.
The more work you do for yourself, the less work that will need to be done by our staff. If you can save time for the attorney and staff who are helping you, it will save you money in fees and costs.
Anytime you provide a set of documents or other information, (such as court documents, tax returns, etc.) it can save you money if the documents are put into order, and if you can present a list or index of the materials you are giving us. If you do this, it will reduce the work needed to be done by us to organize the material. It is the first thing we will do when we receive the information.
Please come to your meetings and any telephone calls prepared, possibly with a list of questions or subject areas you would like to review. It may be helpful to keep an ongoing list of questions and concerns that you can review with the attorney helping you.
In some cases our work will be focused on a specific task (such as preparing an estate plan). In other times we will help you by providing you guidance in a difficult time or with unfamiliar events or circumstances. This means our job is to provide you with direction, to help you understand your options and evaluate your opportunities. It means working with you to design a plan to help you make progress and achieve success in the areas of your life where you are looking for, or may need, legal and professional advice.
You will be the one making the decisions. Our goal is to help you make the best choices available, and to help you experience ever-increasing confidence and independence, so that you may look more optimistically at the path that you will take through any personal difficulties, to a more positive future.
We ask that you be open and honest with us, and that you let us know of any questions or concerns you may have at any time. We ask that you listen, consult with us before you act on matters of importance, and consider our discussions and advice as you make your decisions.