A consultation with an attorney can be stressful for those seeking legal assistance. If you're looking for an attorney, chances are you are facing serious legal issues. Many people looking for help with immigration law and criminal law may be seeking legal help for the first time. if you are not used to hiring and working with lawyers, you may want to know what to expect and not to expect in a consultation. You are investing time, money, trust and confidence in the consultation process and you need to get the most out of it.
You may be worrying about whether you can trust a lawyer, and you probably are worried you will pay a lot of money and you may not get anything out of it.
We understand that our clients need a professional they can trust. Our attorneys enjoy meeting with potential clients and helping them to identify their goals, and then provide them with real options they can consider. Our attorneys never tell our clients what to do, rather we work with our clients to make informed decisions about their legal strategies.
Countless times we see clients visibly become relieved after hearing our advice. When they feel that they are talking to knowledgeable attorneys that are giving them honest advice, it is extremely comforting to them.
For us, we strive to help those who come for a consultation, regardless of whether they decide to retain us for future services, to feel satisfied with the advice given to them. A successful consultation should result in the potential client understanding their options, an estimated cost of the different options, and our legal opinion with respect to each option.
This blog post is intended to answer some frequently asked questions.
How do I prepare for a consultation with an attorney?
- Be prepared to be open, thorough and honest with the attorney. Prepare yourself to answer all of the attorneys questions in as much detail as possible.
- Be prepared to divulge all of the information (even information that might be hard to talk about) requested by the attorney and not be selective - Do not try to conceal any information. What you tell your attorney is confidential. Your attorney is not going to judge your actions - but needs to know the details in order to give you the best advice.
- Write down all of your questions before you come and bring that with you so you remember to ask everything and all of your questions are answered.
- Fill out all the intake forms requested by the law office as soon as you can prior to your consultation. The attorney will review this in advance if you give them enough time, and they will be better prepared to give you advice.
- Submit in advance all of the documents that are relevant to your case. Below we will discuss how to do this, and what documents you will need to submit.
- Being prompt and on time to your appointment, whether it's by phone or in a Zoom meeting. If it is by phone, you will need to call the office at (801) 374-5336 a few minutes before your appointment is about to start.
What documents do I need to bring or submit beforehand?
The types of documents we may need depends on the issues in your case. The list below is not exhaustive but is an example of what you can provide in advance. You do not have to provide everything but the more you submit in advance, the better the consultation and advice will be.
- Any documents they may have
- Passports (including expired)
- I-94, Arrival-Departure Record, copy of green card, front and back, travel documents
- Work permits, i.e., Employment Authorization Document (EAD) cards
- Letters to/from USCIS such as receipt notices, approval notices, denials
- Copies of immigration applications
- Immigration Judge orders
- Notices of Immigration Court hearings
- Notice to Appear in Immigration Court, i.e., NTA
- Any documents issued by ICE such as bond documents, requests to appear, etc.
- A list of all entries into and exits out of the US with dates and places of entry and departure as specific as possible
- A copy of your client file from any previous attorney
- Any documentation related to each arrest or criminal court appearance
- Citation from the police
- Documents from the jail for bail or bond if went to jail
- Court documents
- A copy of your client file from any previous attorney
What should I expect in a consultation with an attorney?
- Every question you have will be responded to and explained.
- You will be advised as to the possible options along with our opinion as to possible outcomes of those options.
- You will be advised of the estimated cost of the case.
- You will be advised as to the estimated time the case may take, if possible.
- Note that more often than not, the timeframe for a case is out of our control. It may depend on courts, government agencies, other parties, and external events. We will not guarantee you any amount of time that the case will take. We can present to you current normal processing times, but that is no guarantee your case will be processed in that amount of time.
By having a consultation with an attorney, does that mean I have an attorney representing me?
- No. No legal representation is created by having a consultation with an attorney. While the attorney has ethical duties to safeguard your confidential information, the attorney will not be representing you until an agreement has been signed and a retainer has been paid.
Is a consultation confidential?
Yes, definitely! The attorney/client privilege makes everything you tell the attorney 100% confidential. It cannot be revealed by the attorney. Please be as open and honest with the attorney so the advice may be the most accurate and useful.
Do you have experience in my particular case?
- We can well advise on immigration matters, and criminal matters involving immigration issues. We can help in Utah law cases and can analyze any case nationwide for immigration matters. If you have questions about other areas of law, you will be referred to find another attorney better suited for your legal issue. We only want to do what we know and do well.
How much will my case cost?
There are many factors that determine the cost of a case. The difficulty, the urgency, and the amount of work are some of the most important factors. The only way to give an estimate of the cost of the case is to have a consultation with an attorney who can review your case, ask questions, and identify strategies.
Do you have payment plans?
Payment is due before the work is completed. The attorney will give a cost estimate at the consultation, and explain any available payment options.
Do you have flat or hourly fees?
Depending on the type of case, you may be offered a flat fee or an hourly fee. If the case work is predictable and clearly definable, a flat fee may be quoted. If your case is unpredictable, like immigration court cases, you may be quoted an advanced retainer amount that you would need to pay in advance, and you would be responsible for the work depending on the amount of time your case will take to complete.
Are the attorney's bilingual?
Yes! Our attorneys are bilingual in English and Spanish.
What if I don't speak English or Spanish?
If you don't speak English or Spanish you will need to have someone with you who can translate.
Why isn't the consultation free?
Our consultations are designed to be valuable to our clients. We give accurate and honest answers to your questions. With more than twenty years of experience, we can offer you real solutions to your problems. The attorneys prepare in advance for your case by reviewing any submitted documentation as time permits and reviewing your intake submission. When you finish your consultation, you should have all your questions addressed and wherever possible you will be presented with legal options. These complex areas of law require a vast amount of experience and knowledge in order to assess properly, and we are proud to offer this valuable service to those who pay $350 for a consultation. Our time is limited since we are already busy helping our current clients, so this time is valuable to our clients and to our attorneys. Those who come in for consultations are typically very satisfied with the experience.
How do I give documents in advance of the consultation?
For one or two pages, you may text the images to (801) 374-5336. You may fax them to (801) 374-0047. However it is always preferable to email pdf files of your documents to [email protected]. For files larger than 25 MB please contact the office at (801) 374-5336.
Will the consultation be in person at Keen Law Offices?
Consultations are currently available in person, by phone or by Zoom or other video meeting platform.
If I have a phone appointment: Will they call me when it's time or do I have to call in?
If you have a phone appointment scheduled, you are responsible to call into the office at (801) 374-5336 a few minutes before your appointment start time. If you have a Zoom meeting, be available and logged in shortly before the start of your meeting.
How long will the consultation be?
Most consultations last thirty minutes. Some are shorter and some take longer. We take the time to ensure that our experienced attorney has evaluated your case, answered all your questions, and presented you with the next steps in your case.
What if I have a question after my consultation?
We understand that sometimes a question may occur after your consultation. If you have a short question within a day or two of your consultation, you are free to send an e-mail or text to the attorney and they will respond to your question. You may be asked to set up another appointment if the question is more demanding than a quick response would permit. If you have a separate issue you need examined after your consultation you may be asked to set up an additional consultation.
What are the next steps after my consultation?
The attorney will clearly present to you the options. If you decide to hire our firm, you will need to sign a written agreement and pay the attorney fee prior to beginning your representation.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule my consultation?
Please plan on coming to your appointments when you schedule them.
If something arises you may reschedule your appointment without penalty prior to 48 hours of the scheduled appointment. You may notify us by email, text or by talking with our receptionist. A no-show or request to reschedule within the 48 hours may result in a $45 fee. If you need to reschedule, please, let us know as soon as possible so we can help get you on the calendar.
If you need to cancel your appointment you will be subject to a $45 cancellation fee.
What if the attorney has to reschedule the consultation?
If for some reason the attorney is unable to attend the appointment, the consultation will be rescheduled to a mutually agreeable date and time.
Can I ask about my relative's case?
Consultations are limited in time and scope. There is only sufficient time to explore and discuss the situation and legal topic for one person.
We would love to speak to and about your friends and relatives but they will need to schedule a time with us so we can give it the attention it deserves.
Who can accompany me in the consultation?
Generally you may have family members participate in the consultation. However some issues require that the attorney speak alone with the potential client in order to preserve the attorney client privilege.
What you should NOT expect at a consultation:
The attorney will not be able to read through voluminous records right then. Note that our attorneys are experienced and can likely quickly identify the relevant documents in a group of files. However the consultation does not include time consuming, detailed review of documents. Submit documents in advance of the consultation to give the attorney time to review them.
The attorney will not review forms you have produced and give a stamp of approval for you to file them on your own. If the attorney has not prepared the forms, they cannot be responsible. Form review is a service that may be available for a separate fee. However if you have specific questions about the legal process the attorney can definitely assist you in answering your questions.
The attorney may not be able to offer you the solution you would like. In this type of law, sometimes there are simply no good options. The value lies in the attorney's honest opinion that would potentially save you thousands of dollars and other severe consequences had you gone ahead with a case that was not viable. We have seen people come to us who have lost large amounts of money and ended up deported for having followed the wrong legal advice, and we will give you honest advice even if that means you do not have a good option to pursue.
The attorney is not obligated to accept your case, even if you pay for a consultation. The attorney may have a conflict, may not have time in the schedule, or may not feel they are the right fit to pursue your particular case. If this is so, you may be given a referral to other attorneys.
What if I have questions before the consultation?
If you still have questions after reviewing this article, feel free to call our receptionist at (801) 374-5336!