We are often asked about how individuals become Severns & Howard, P.C., clients. We have prepared this brief article to explain the initial consultation process so you may better understand what occurs during our initial meeting, what information is necessary for us to properly address your concerns and our charges. If at any time you have questions about becoming a Severns & Howard, P.C., client, please feel free to contact our office.
Scheduling An Appointment
Upon contacting our firm you will first be scheduled with a free 30-minute telephone call with our intake paralegal. Our intake paralegal will take some basic information regarding your situation, contact information, and financial information when necessary.
We will also arrange to send you a questionnaire called the Legal Planning Information Form to complete prior to your appointment along with a list of important documents to bring to that appointment. You may also find this form on the Forms page on our website. Lastly, our intake paralegal will schedule your initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
Preparing for the Consultation
Prior to the consultation we ask that you complete to the best of your ability the Legal Planning Information Form and gather documentation to help us better understand the overall situation. We understand this may require an extensive review of your files, safe deposit box, and storage boxes. However, this information is very helpful to complete our analysis and give you all possible legal suggestions and solutions, which then allows us to provide you with a valuable meeting. Often clients tell us that this exercise helped place things in perspective by reminding them of what they have and prompting a review of important papers.
If you cannot put together every detail prior to our appointment that is okay, but we ask that you forward the questionnaire to us at least two days prior to your appointment. We use this information to prepare for our time together.
What To Expect In The Initial Meeting
We allow up to 2 hours for your initial consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. Your meeting may not last the entire 2 hours, however this gives the attorney ample time to listen to your situation, work with you to define your concerns and goals, review the documents you provide, and offer legal options to address those concerns and goals. At the conclusion of our meeting, they will design a plan that addresses your concerns and goals with the best legal option available to you.
We believe that our first appointment together is the most important. We want you to leave this meeting with a plan that brings you peace of mind.
During our initial consultation we expect to accomplish a lot with you. We also recognize that everyone’s time is valuable. Therefore, we charge an initial consultation fee of $450 which pays for the attorney’s time, review of your situation, defining your concerns and goals, and reviewing your legal options. Upon the conclusion of your initial consultation the attorney will discuss with you any further fees for our services to complete the project plan that you and the attorney outline and agree upon during the meeting.
Our firm has two types of fee structures: Flat Fee, which is one fee that is inclusive of all work outlined in the project plan agreed upon and Hourly Fee, which is one where you would receive a monthly invoice for our hourly work on your project. If you choose to retain our firm, we will apply the initial consultation fee to your project like a retainer or deposit.
We always appreciate return business and our firm is here to assist our clients with various projects throughout their lifetime. In addition, we strongly encourage our clients to regularly review their plans to ensure they are up to date with your familial and financial circumstances, healthcare needs, and the law.
We do work on a project-by-project basis, so if a new legal issue arises after the end of our prior project, we usually ask you to schedule an initial appointment to discuss your new legal needs. We may ask you to update your information on file with us prior to the meeting by updating a Legal Planning Information Form. Focusing on new legal issues requires a new legal analysis and formatting of options, which we charge a consultation fee for this service. As with our charge for your first initial meeting, we will apply this consultation fee to your project if you decide to retain our firm for your new legal needs.