Look, I know, that statistically, most people will not read the next five or six pages. The odds are even greater that you won’t read everything, If you are using a smart phone.
But the 5 or 10 or 15 minutes you invest will be well spent. You really owe it to yourself to become an educated consumer. So I will take a leap of faith and count on you reading on. I've been doing matrimonial law for nearly 40 years. My wife, who tells me she is the senior partner, has been practicing for nearly 50 years (reminding me that she was really, really young when she passed the Bar). Our daughter graduated from Northwestern University undergrad; earned an MBA from a top business school and received her law degree from the Marshall–Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, commonly referred to as William & Mary Law School, the oldest law school in the United States – a public Ivy League school.
You're on the Internet looking to hire someone to get you through what could be one of the most terrifying actions that you can think about in your adult life - a divorce or custody case. If you have children, you worry about what it can do to them and how they will deal with not having the other parent in their life, everyday? You have referrals but you real don't have a lot of confidence in the person who referred. Craig’s List seems even a worst choice. Perhaps, you feel a sort of embarrassment that all of this is happening to you. What will your friends and family think? Your terrified of the other side and there has already been: physical or mental abuse; threats about the kids; predictions of you future doom. Am I close?, or maybe . . .
You're already in court and things aren't going well. The other side is crazy. The other side is vindictive. You think your outcome in court was terrible and the judge didn't listen or your current attorney didn't present your case right. A child is in danger. What can you do? How could this be happening? You need a second opinion from a firm that does this kind of work all the time. Sitting across from an experienced lawyer who won't try to hustle you and will give you a frank and honest opinion, could really save a lot of stress. Could be . . .
You just want to get things resolved but the other side won't talk about it or refuses to compromise. You have a child or children together and you need things written down. You've been separated a long time and have realized that things are not going to work out. You want to see your kids! You have to get a divorce or a parenting and support order entered in court. So you can go on with your life and there can be some kind of stability for the kids. You want to be able to count on money coming in or the other parent taking care of the kids every so often so the kids know her or him and you have time to do some things you have to do on your own time. Was it just to clean things up?
Everything is agreed and you want to take the next step without spending a fortune. You may even want to know if you can do it yourself. You have to finish the details. You've been separated for a zillion years and it's time to get things over, just because. Or maybe Ms. or Mr. Right has come along and you can't even find the other Mr. or Ms. Right - who turned out to be wrong. You got divorced and you need: a pension divided by a QDRO or QILDRO; a house sold; or back child support collected. Time for college and you need help. Or some of the above or part of each? Hey, maybe your situation is unique - a one of a kind? It happens.
Why do we even charge $150 for the initial consultation, while other lawyers do free initial consultations?
Here are three or four reasons.
Leaving aside the old bromide, "You get what you pay for!"; someone is going to pay for the lawyer. If a lawyer sees four potential clients for free; it is the fifth one, the one who hires the lawyer, who is going to pay for all five.
The $150 buys up to an hour or a little bit more of attorney time, if necessary. We put a lot of energy and effort into understanding and reviewing your situation. We try very hard to be objective and not pull any punches. More than that, we really work to give you the most effective and practical advise we can - based on the thousands of case we have experienced. If you can do it yourself - we'll tell you. We may be able to give you all the information you need to handle it - in the first hour. If your current lawyer is doing a good job - we will tell you to communicate your concerns and not switch counsel. If mistakes appear to have been made or your position has not been aggressively pursued - we will say so and explain our reasoning. You decide what you will do with our information. Remember - either way we will not contact anyone without your consent. No, on the down low, lawyer to lawyer talks.
150 bucks eliminates the window shoppers. Whether it be lawyers; doctors; or any other profession, there are those individuals who either toy with the idea of doing something forever (this is different than seriously thinking about) or are on a continual quest to find somebody who tells them what they want to hear. The attorneys of Tristano and Tristano, Ltd, myself, my wife, my daughter and associates and staff, put too much into our practice to spend our energy on useless consultations.
There are a whole bunch of other reasons. No one values free advice. The lawyer's stock in trade is his advice. We don't work for free. A stitch in time saves nine . . .oops. It basically gets down to the $150 for the whole deal, means you are basically getting the consultation for half price. We risk half and you risk half. You don’t have to be concerned that your lawyer rushes through it because it is a freebie. Many times a client does not have the information we need and they should have to get their case reviewed. We can and often do break your meeting into two parts so the information can be assembled. Most of the time there is no extra charge.