An initial consultation is normally up 60 minutes by Zoom, in person, or by phone for a non-refundable flat fee which must be paid at the time of scheduling the appointment. No free consultations are offered. To schedule a consultation, please complete the initial consultation form by clicking on the link below. Inquiries received outside of normal business hours will receive a response the next business day.
FAQs AND ANSWERS FOR INITIAL CONSULTATIONS
What is the cost of the initial consultation? Is it free?
Some attorneys offer free initial consultations. Michelle Klinger Smith PA does not. Individual circumstances and details are often overlooked in brief free family law consultations. Michelle Klinger Smith PA ’s philosophy is to provide thorough and specially tailored information and recommendations that cannot be given through brief free consultations that other attorneys offer.The initial consultation fee is a non-refundable flat fee. The cost is based on whether up to 60 minutes or up to 30 minutes have been reserved. Please contact the office at (305) 396-7747 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in more information about the cost of the initial consultation. You are under no obligation to schedule an appointment simply by contacting the office. Please do not provide confidential information in your communication because no attorney-client privilege applies until the initial consultation is held.
How long is an initial consultation?
Michelle Klinger Smith PA typically will reserve up to 60 minutes and, in some cases, up to 30 minutes for an initial consultation. Generally, all initial consultations will be by video conference or in person. In some circumstances, phone consultations will be held.
What do I need to send the attorney before the initial consultation?
If there are any court orders already entered or agreements signed, it is very helpful for the attorney to have them about 1 day ahead of the initial consultation to review before the meeting. And, of course, if there are specific documents you have questions about, you should provide them about 1 day before the consultation.
Does attorney-client privilege apply to the initial consultation?
Yes. The initial consultation is subject to attorney-client privilege even if the prospective client does not retain Michelle Klinger Smith PA in any capacity.
What can I expect during the initial consultation?
Michelle Klinger Smith PA does its best to uniquely tailor the initial consultation experience to meet each prospective client’s needs. The firm recognizes that by the time most people are contacting an attorney, they are in a very difficult and stressful time in their lives and the firm will make every reasonable effort to help the prospective client feel comfortable during the consultation.Prior to the consultation, the attorney and administrative support will gather basic biographical information and request copies of relevant documents to review. At the start of the consultation, the prospective client will be asked if anything has changed since they first contacted the firm, then the attorney will meet with the prospective client to gain a better understanding of the situation, identify needs, answer questions, and develop a strategy. Michelle Klinger Smith PA takes pride in providing all prospective clients with as comprehensive an explanation of the laws applicable to their situations and a candid analysis of the issues presented to her. The attorney also helps clients and prospective clients evaluate all options available both in and out of court so clients and prospective clients can make informed decisions.
How much are your hourly rates and retainers?
It depends. Michelle Klinger Smith PA offers "un-bundled" legal services which allows clients to choose to receive from a variety of services and which service(s) the client wishes to receive will influence the costs. For traditional representation and in some limited representation services an advance-fee deposit ("retainer") will be required and an hourly rate charged. How much will depend on the complexity and time-table of the case. Billing policies and fee deposits are discussed during the initial consultation process once the attorney has a good understanding of the prospective client's unique circumstances and needs.
Does attending an initial consultation mean I have retained the attorney?
No. The initial consultation process offers prospective clients a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the firm, the attorney, and the office to help determine if Michelle Klinger Smith PA is the best fit for the prospective client's case and needs. Choosing an attorney to assist with a legal need is both an important and complex decision. It is important that all prospective clients carefully consider all the relevant factors before making the decision to hire an attorney to help. Click here to read The Florida Bar’s pamphlet on the attorney selection process. You should also keep in mind that, by simply meeting with you, Michelle Klinger Smith PA has no obligation to take your case or help you beyond the initial consultation. Michelle Klinger Smith PA always retains the unconditional right to not represent or assist a prospective client if the firm so chooses. Many factors lead to a decision by Michelle Klinger Smith PA to not "take your case" or represent or provide you further assistance, so such a decision should never be taken personally.
When have I officially "Retained" an attorney to assist me?
Michelle Klinger Smith PA is officially "retained" only after you and the attorney have both signed an engagement or retainer agreement and you have made any advance fee deposit ("retainer") or other payment requested.
I only have a quick question about my situation. Can an attorney please answer my question by e-mail instead of or before an initial consultation?
Unfortunately, no. Michelle Klinger Smith PA will occasionally receive an e-mail from a purported prospective client asking for advice. Michelle Klinger Smith PA cannot and will not answer questions or give legal advice by e-mail before an initial consultation. This is for many reasons including, but not limited to:
Conflict of Interest: First and foremost, attorneys are governed by a set of rules of professional conduct which require that conflict checks are run to ensure the person or entity with whom we are about to meet does not present a conflict of interest with any past or current clients. To run a conflict check, the firm must obtain and verify the identities of the prospective client and the other opposing party(ies). Often sufficient information to run a conflict check is not included in the initial e-mailed inquiries received.
Fraud Concerns: Sadly, we live in an era where not every e-mail received is from someone being truthful and forthright. There is no way for Michelle Klinger Smith PA to verify the true identity of the person(s) or entity(ies) sending the e-mail prior to the initial consultation. It is important to Michelle Klinger Smith PA to know and trust the source of the e-mail before spending time responding.
Solid Advice: It is important to Michelle Klinger Smith PA to provide high quality services every step of the way. To properly answer questions, Michelle Klinger Smith PA must have a full and complete understanding of the situation and, to do that, the attorney must often ask questions and review documents which would involve the prospective client revealing potentially confidential information. This is not properly done by e-mail prior to an initial consultation.
So, if you send an e-mail, do not be disappointed or offended if the response you get is to encourage you to set an initial consultation. This is done for everyone’s protection and benefit.
This website is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Michelle Klinger Smith PA through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.