INITIAL CONSULTATION POLICIES

Free, brief initial consultation

The Law Office of Michael L. Rich (LOMLR) offers a free, brief initial consultation to new, prospective clients on cases within the areas of concentration listed on the home page. People seeking a consultation, either by phone or email, must provide LOMLR with their full name, postal address, email address, and telephone number, a few essential details about the case, and the full names of all parties to the legal dispute.

If the inquirer is seeking an answer to a process question or to figure out if they want a more detailed consultation with Attorney Rich, a 20-minute telephone consultation will be scheduled or LOMLR will respond by email. If more time is taken, the excess will be billed at LOMLR’s initial consultation rate. (See Initial Office Consultation page.)

Disclaimers: 1) The free, brief initial consultation is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. LOMLR does not become your attorney except by expressly entering into a representation agreement. 2) 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. LOMLR urges you to seek a complete, detailed consultation with Attorney 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.

Initial office consultation

Upon reaching the conclusion that a new, prospective client needs an attorney or a more detailed consultation, an initial office consultation should be scheduled.. The initial office consultation includes:

• Determining if LOMLR is the appropriate legal resource for the particular matter,
• Attorney Rich and Client getting to know each other,
• Discussing case background,
• Deciding whether the Client and Attorney Rich wish to work together,
• Negotiating the hourly rate and initial and ongoing retainer requirements, and
• Often preliminary advice and discussion of next steps.

The charge for the initial office consultation is $150.00 per hour, $75.00 per half hour. That is the lowest rate on LOMLR's sliding scale fee schedule. (See it here: sliding scale fees.) It gives the prospective client valuable attorney time while discounting for the off-the-cuff nature of the information that will be provided. And it averages out the time spent on substantive discussions with the time spent negotiating financial matters.

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 $225.00. That fee is to be paid at the time of the initial consultation. In some cases the initial 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. Fees for advance preparation must also be paid at the time of the initial office consultation or in advance of any telephone or email consultations.

Disclaimers: 1) The initial office consultation is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. LOMLR does not become your attorney except by expressly entering into a representation agreement. 2) 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. LOMLR urges you to retain Attorney Rich or the attorney(s) to whom he refers you, so that you may have fully researched and considered legal advice, tailored to your situation, and counsel to carry out the representation.

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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