Initial Consultation FAQs

Your Initial Consultation At Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC

Making your first appointment is a big step. While you may have been thinking about things for a long time, suddenly scheduling a meeting can make things seem very real and a little nerve-wracking.

We expect most people are nervous when they walk through our door or log onto their device for their video consultation.  Remember, you are just gathering helpful information at this point and learning about your options, but there is no pressure to do anything. It is not that uncommon that I meet with someone but they do not move forward for weeks or months later.

Below are some frequently asked questions about initial consultations – and answers – because a list of questions alone is not much help.

FAQs About Your First Meeting – Initial Consultations at Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution of Norfolk and Mansfield, MA

1. Do you offer free consultations?

No, we do not offer free consultations.

Within the legal industry, free consultations serve mainly as a marketing ploy and a somewhat desperate attempt to get bodies into a lawyer or mediator’s office.  Most established family mediators and attorneys in our geographic area do not provide free consultations.  Some professionals charge their full hourly rate, which could translate into an expensive exercise.  Remember, you get what you pay for.

Your consultation with us is scheduled for one hour, and the price is $250.00.

2. Let’s Get This Show On the Road. How do I Schedule My Consultation?

Throughout this website, including on the homepage, you will see buttons for scheduling appointments on your own. You can also call us on the phone and schedule directly with us.

3. Why must I pay for my consultation when I schedule?

We instituted this policy a few years ago after we had a number of “no-shows” for consultations.  This policy has eliminated no-shows, and it is just more convenient than having to collect payment at our office.

We understand that unexpected things in life happen. If you are swamped at work or you or a family member are ill, then please just get in touch to reschedule your meeting to a more convenient time.  We do request 48 hours notice, but life does not always give us 48 hours notice, right?  While rescheduling is fine, we do not generally refund consultation fees.

Are you in super stealth mode?  If you do not want your significant other to see a charge from our office, then please call to discuss alternative forms of payment.

4.  What should I bring to the initial consultation?

It is not necessary to bring documents to the first meeting.  No need to bring boxes of financial documents. You probably have lots of questions, so we suggest you jot some down beforehand and bring them along. If you have legal documents related to your case, such as a summons, complaint, or a letter from an attorney, please bring those items with you.

While we like (most) children, it is not a good idea to bring kids to your appointment.

5. My spouse and I are interested in divorce mediation.  Should we come in together?

Yes! We think it is best to schedule a joint consultation if considering divorce mediation, but some people prefer to come in by themselves initially.  Typically, we then end up scheduling a second meeting with both people present. Do what makes you most comfortable, but in most instances, we suggest coming in together.

6. Who Will I Meet With?

You will meet with the owner of the firm, attorney and mediator Stephen McDonough.  We know you’re excited, it’s ok.

7. Can I arrange for a telephone or video-conference consultation?

We can easily schedule your online consultation, all you need is the internet, a computer with a camera and a microphone, or a smartphone or tablet.  If you prefer phone only, that is also OK.  We have had good success with online meetings, and even conduct entire mediations through our secure online platforms.   As above, payment must be made at least 48 hours in advance please.

8. Do you offer evening or weekend consultations?

Evening and weekend meeting times are limited and tend to fluctuate, but we do make time available each month for such requests. We charge extra for these evening and weekend meetings, with the consultation costing $400.00, but these meetings are scheduled for 75 minutes, not 60. Please call us at (508) 359-4043 to discuss, or you can try and schedule through our scheduling app, but it might be easier to call regarding your “extended hours” evening/weekend scheduling requests.  When we say “after hours” we mean a consultation that starts after 5:00 p.m. or occurs on a weekend.

9. What happens at the consultation?

Mostly, we listen to you and ask some clarifying questions. Hopefully, you completed our short intake form before your meeting, so we can dispense with spending time capturing the basics. We want to understand your concerns and goals for the future. If something specific is causing you considerable stress, such as an immediate financial concern, we should talk about it so you will hopefully feel less stressed when you leave. We want you to ask your questions. Most people find it helpful to discuss process options, such as divorce mediation compared to the collaborative divorce process and litigation for example, and get information about fees. Identifying next steps can also be useful.

10. I’m nervous. Can I bring a friend or other relative to the meeting?

Yes, you can.  Everything discussed at a consultation is privileged and confidential. If there is a third person present (unless affiliated with our firm) the privilege is lost, although this is generally not problematic. It is up to you, however, and if you want to bring an adult wing-person, it is fine with us.  Remember, we will be discussing some personal information, so you may be more comfortable if you do not include another person.

Hopefully, this answers your main questions about consultations.  If you have more, please just get in touch.