HOW WE DO BUSINESS
WHAT WE DO AND WHY WE DO IT THAT WAY
If you have not already done so, please read first the page Good Information on Choosing A Lawyer. This will provide ideas on how to find a lawyer that you feel has the time and knowledge to represent you. With that done, please consider this explanation of the manner in which we prefer to work and the reasons why we feel our approach insures the most beneficial long term outcome for our clients.
First off, there are a couple of things we will not do.
- We will not cut corners. If clients are looking for a quick and dirty solution to any complex problem, we are not for them. While shortcuts and half measures just might work it is far more likely such shortcuts will result in expensive problems down the line.
- We will not accept your case unless we feel we have the necessary time and ability to address your issue competently, and we also believe there to be a clear understanding on your part of what we are going to do and why we are going to do it.
That said, here is an example of how we handle a typical matter. While this example concerns the development of a comprehensive estate plan, it also demonstrates the manner in which we approach every issue.
A potential client, frequently referred by a previous client, calls us because they would like to create or review an existing estate plan or specific document. We ask a few very basic questions about their situation and, if it seems appropriate, we give them a quick explanation of how we would proceed and establish a time and date for the complementary one hour interview we provide to all prospective clients.
Prior to that appointment we send out a confidential family information sheet to be filled out, detailing the complete family situation, including assets and liabilities, property details, business involvements, etc.. This document provides a jump start when the client comes in to discuss their specific situation. We will also ask the client to read the detailed description of the elements in a complete estate plan, found elsewhere on this website, so they are better prepared for the meeting.
At our first meeting we review the key elements of the individual’s or family’s situation, aided by the confidential family information sheet, and ask pertinent questions in order to ascertain a clear understanding of the many important issues involved. At that point we can usually provide a verbal outline of the documents required to achieve the desired goals along with a good understanding of the value of each. Based on that outline we can then quote a good faith estimate for the cost of realizing a complete and coordinated plan.
If, after some careful consideration on the client’s part, they decide to proceed as we have outlined, we prepare a formal agreement detailing the scope of the work to be completed, a description of how the work will be billed and a written declaration of the good faith estimate.
With the formalities out of the way, we begin the task of drafting a complete set of the agreed upon documents. The word “draft” is important because we will never ask anyone to accept any document without their having carefully reviewed and accepted a tentative draft. This process of draft and review often requires two or more iterations so the client can be completely comfortable with a final version.
It is only by such a careful and complete process that we can be certain our clients will be best served in whatever legal matter they may be pursuing. Regardless of the specific issue at hand, doing it right the first time always provides the most economy.