TERMS FOR IN-PERSON ATTORNEY CONSULTATION
An initial consultation serves three basic purposes: 1) for the lawyer to determine whether he or she can represent the potential client, 2) for the lawyer and potential client to determine whether they want to work together, and 3) for the lawyer to explain how the representation will proceed if the potential client decides to retain the lawyer.
We Follow California and Federal Ethical Rules during the In-Person Attorney Consultation
A lawyer cannot represent every person who calls. Lawyers are required to follow a long list of ethical rules, most of which aren’t particularly intuitive. In fact, we have to pass an entirely separate exam on the ethical rules in order to be licensed. The initial consultation gives the lawyer a chance to determine whether representing the potential client would create an ethical violation like a conflict of interest.
We May Not Represent You After the In-Person Attorney Consultation
A lawyer doesn’t have to represent every person who calls. Because a lawyer and client work closely together for what could be years, the initial consultation presents an opportunity for both to decide whether they want to work together. Personality conflicts should not be ignored, especially if they arise during this first meeting. Lawyers are expensive and heaven knows you don’t want to be shelling out thousands of dollars to someone you can’t stand.
Advice during In-Person Attorney Consultation
Lawyers are not required to provide legal advice during a consultation. People often believe they can have all their legal questions answered at this first meeting, at little or no cost. Lawyers are actually not supposed to give legal advice until they have been formally retained, which usually requires a signed fee agreement and payment. This protects the lawyer from having to decline future clients because of a conflict of interest created by the consultation, and it protects the potential client from being misinformed about a situation the lawyer hasn’t had a chance to thoroughly research.
Lawyers are permitted to provide the potential client with information about the legal process. For example, a lawyer can describe the process of incorporating a startup and the fees involved, but should not discuss whether a company should elect to be an LLC or a corporation until the representation officially begins and the lawyer has had an opportunity to learn enough about the business to make an informed recommendation.
Our representation will only begin after both the Attorney and the Client sign our Attorney-Client Agreement.