Your Initial Consultation At Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC
You’ve decided to make your first appointment. We understand that while you may have been thinking about things for a long time, scheduling a meeting with a lawyer or mediator makes things seem very real and perhaps a little nerve-wracking.
We expect most people are nervous when they walk through our door or log onto their device if a video consultation. Remember, this stage is about your gathering helpful information and learning about your options. There is no pressure to do anything. It is not that uncommon that we meet with someone but they do not move forward for weeks or months later.
Below are some frequently asked questions about our 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 firms offering free consultations schedule short meetings, then charge you full hourly rates for the remainder of the time; or they may have you meet with a non-attorney staff member. Some professionals charge their full hourly rate for the entire meeting, which could translate into an expensive exercise if you are meeting with different professionals.
Your consultation with us is scheduled for one hour, and the price is $200.00. You will meet with an experienced attorney or mediator (both of our mediators are also lawyers).
2. Let’s Get This Show On the Road. How do I Schedule My Consultation?
Well, the good old telephone is always an option. Please call our main number at (508) 359-4043. Other options include completing our intake form on this website which provides us some helpful background info, and even if you call, we will send you a link to fill out this form anyway, or collect the information form you by phone. Finally, you likely noticed Nexie, our digitial agent, on our website. Nexie can lead you through the steps to schedule your consultation.
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 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, although we are reasonable and can make exceptions. For example, we discovered there was a conflict after you scheduled and cannot meet with you.
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?
You probably have lots of questions, so we suggest you jot some down beforehand and bring your notes 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. Otherwise you do not need to bring anything.
While we like (most) children, please do not 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 alone initially. If the other party is silling to mediate, we schedule a second meeting (basically a second consultation) 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 one of our lawyers or mediators, depending on scheduling availability, etc. If you have a preference for a particular person, just let us know.
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. For online meetings, please be in a quiet area where you can have a confidential conversation, free from as many distractions as possible with good internet signal.
8. Do you offer evening or weekend consultations?
Evening and weekend meeting times are limited and availability fluctuates, but we 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 your scheduling needs. When we say “after hours” we mean a consultation that starts after 5:00 p.m. on a weekday, or occurs on a weekend.
9. What happens at the consultation?
This is your time, so we want to answer your questions and provide helpful information and feedback about your situation. Hopefully, you completed our Brief Intake Form before your meeting, so we can dispense with spending time capturing the basics. We want to hear about what is keeping you up at night or otherwise causing you the most stress, whether an immediate financial concern or a parenting-related problem. Most people find it helpful to discuss process options, such as a mediated resolution compared to the court-based approach for example, and get information about fees.
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 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 page answers your main questions about consultations. If you have more, please just get in touch.