Each case is as unique as you are. You are purchasing a service rather than a product. Following these guidelines will help you get the in the most cost-effective way.
Tell Me All of the Facts Make Appointments Other Forms of Communication Listen to your divorce attorney, not your Friends or Family Pay your Attorneys Fees
You need to tell me the "good, bad, and the ugly". Do not keep secrets hoping that I will not find out, or worse, that the opposing attorney will not find out. The opposing attorney will utilize every bit of damaging information against you and in the worst possible light. We need to know any potentially damaging evidence or facts beforehand so that we may be able to defend you in the courtroom. Please do not think that there is something that is so terrible that we have never heard it before. Assume that everything is important.
This office operates on the "appointment method" as do most doctor's and lawyer's offices. An unexpected interruption in our schedule disrupts our productivity, and decreases our ability to focus on your specific needs. If you have issues that need to be addressed, please contact the office and set up a specific time to talk on the phone or in person. That way, we can give you our full attention without interruption. Either that, or use one of our other forms of communication as set out below.
Please remember that you are charged in .1 hourly increments. The best way to make use of your time is to be sure you have your thoughts and questions organized before talking with me or my staff.
Other Forms of Communication
With new technology, there are additional ways to get our full attention. Make use of email, or the fax machine (817-764-3050), or yes, even the U.S. postal service (304 Harwood Road Bedford, TX 76021).Even when I am in court or in consultation in the office, these methods of communication allow me to read your questions at a time when there are no distractions.
Be Patient with us Returning your Phone Calls and Emails
As a rule, it is next to impossible to get a lawyer on the phone (just like your doctor) unless you have made an appointment to do so. This is understandably a frustrating concept to grasp, but it goes back to the issue of personal attention to your case.
I have a small but very busy office. We are good at what we do and we make every attempt to give each of you personal attention. However, I am often in court, at depositions, researching a case, preparing for trial, at a required continuing legal education seminar, in a Collaborative Law meeting or conferencing with new or current clients. I am not solely in control of my schedule, and am often subject to the Court's docket, or other lawyer's hearing settings.
If you call and I am not available, make a phone appointment with me at that time, do not leave a message for me to return the call. In order to get a quicker response, we suggest that you always leave a detailed message on the answering machine or with Tamra or Brandon as to your questions.
Tamra and Brandon operate under the same rules of confidentiality that I do, and you should feel free to give them specific information.
Please remember, that neither Tamra nor Brandon can give legal advice. They can however, relay a message to me. The only way for that to be effective is for you to leave a specific and detailed message.
Listen to your divorce attorney, not your Friends or Family
You will be faced with outside pressure and opinions from your friends and family. Although they may have good motives, they are not lawyers, and even well-intended advice from a non-lawyer could hurt your case and your relationship with your lawyer.
I often hear a client say that they know someone who "got a better deal" than they are getting. The facts in your case are unique. I carefully consider the individual facts of your case, and make decisions based on those special circumstances. Non-lawyers do not know how to look at your case and apply the law as well. You have to make up your mind that the advice I gives you is sound, even if it is not what you want to hear.
Pay your Attorneys Fees
My hourly fee is competitive with the local standard. It should be understood from the beginning that you will pay as outlined in your contract. If your case is important to you, then you should make sure your lawyer is paid. Your case should be a priority to you and we expect you to take it seriously. If you are not paying attention to paying your bill, that is a signal to the lawyer that you do not take this matter seriously.
You would not continue to work if you did not get your paycheck and you should not expect me to either.
I will ask for your spouse or ex-spouse to pay your attorneys fees in most cases, but experience has taught us that the likelihood of collecting fees from your spouse or ex-spouse is not particularly good. Therefore, you will be responsible for the fees which are incurred by this office on your behalf. If payment is received from your spouse or ex-spouse, then it will be applied to your outstanding balance and the difference will be refunded to you.
I make every attempt to keep your fees as low as possible. Even so, the actions of your spouse, or your spouse's attorney often require action on our part and we must charge you for that. There are no flat fees and although I may give you an estimate, it is just that, an estimate. All work by either me or my staff is charged for, including time spent on the phone.
You may be able to reduce your fees significantly by giving us your full and timely cooperation. Information gathering that can be adequately and timely done by you, the client, saves lawyer time and keeps fees down. A client that carefully follows instructions of the lawyer is likely to reduce the overall cost legal representation.
I know attorney fees are expensive, and in a family law case, it is usually an additional expense at the worst financial time of your life. Even so, the cost of maintaining a law office is significant. We must maintain computers,employees, phone lines, supplies, copiers, fax machines, and other tools of the trade at all times in order to properly represent you. If you do not pay your fees, we cannot adequately maintain the law office, and therefore cannot give you the service you deserve.
Thank you for following these guidelines so that your case proceeds smoothly and efficiently. Diane