Will my attorney be able to give me a good idea of how successful my case may be?
Most of the time yes; however, this is dependent on what actually happens in your case. We will continuously update you on any major changes or thoughts we have on your case and the likely outcome thereof, so that you are prepared and informed enough to allow you to make decisions on how you would like to proceed. As you might assume, as evidence in a case develops things can change a lot so our attorneys always strive to discuss the strengths weaknesses, and possible outcomes (good and bad) throughout the case so that our clients can make good choices about how they would like to proceed.
How often should I be in contact with my lawyer and how often will he or she be in contact with me?
Anytime that you have a particular concern, we encourage you to contact our office so that we may resolve or answer any particular questions you have. However, understand that there may be a charge depending on the amount of time your inquiry requires. If our clients have multiple questions and concerns, we often recommend that they schedule an appointment to go over all of them at one time so as to be as efficient and economical as possible. In addition, we stress the importance of remembering that certain litigation processes may take a lengthy amount of time for a number of reasons. For example, the other parties can cause delays, you may want to slow progress down for financial or strategic reasons, the court may be very slow to respond, etc. Our promise to you, however, is that in the event that necessary or unexpected information needs to be relayed we will promptly contact you personally.
I am currently represented by a lawyer, but would like to seek other representation, does the fact that I am presently represented bar me from being represented by your law firm?
It is entirely appropriate to retain new legal counsel if you are dissatisfied with the service that you are receiving from your current attorney. We understand that is a difficult choice and transition to make and we will be happy to notify your previous law firm of our representation and acquire your documents, as quickly as possible.
If I am retained under a contingency basis am I still responsible for certain fees?
The answer to this question is dependent on what you agreed upon in the representation agreement. Who pays for what and how is all spelled out in our agreements and our attorneys are always willing to discuss each term in the contract and explain the ramifications of it to you so that you are never surprised.
If my free consultation extends past thirty minutes, will I be charged?
No. Our consultation is set up to be as effective and efficient as possible. Our attorneys are more than prepared to gain and give the appropriate information throughout the consult. However, if your consult involves a matter that needs additional time or you have questions regarding our firm we are more than happy to accommodate that time, free of charge.
How will I be billed for legal services?
The way that you are billed will depend on the type of representation you have agreed to. There are several types of representation agreements that can be agreed upon, which include hourly, flat fee and contingency. Alternatively, your case may be eligible for a blended rate, which is where you and our law firm may agree to significantly reduce the hourly rate and add a contingency or success fee that would be earned by the law firm upon success.
I work normal business hours. Is it possible to schedule an odd-hour consultation?
Absolutely. Our goal as a firm is to be as flexible with your schedule as we possibly can. We understand that you have work and family commitments, as do we. However, if an odd-hour appointment needs to be scheduled we request that you be as diligent as possible in sending our office any necessary documents so that our attorneys may do a conflicts check and review your potential case before the consult.
How can the law firm of Shumway Van and Hansen help me determine if I have a case?
We offer free, thirty-minute consultations, during which we can review your situation or your objectives and decide if our firm representing you would be beneficial or possible. During this consultation we will determine if you have a case we can assist you with, and how we may best help you achieve your legal objectives. Prior to any representation or legal advice is presented a conflicts check will be conducted to ensure that there are no present conflicts between any of the parties to the case, any of our employees or any of our current of past clients. If no conflict is detected, we can continue towards a retainer agreement which suits your financial and legal needs.
What is your law firm’s success rate?
This is a hard question to judge, simply because we, along with our client’s, see success in many different ways. Therefore, we will state that our success rate in achieving each of our client’s litigation objectives is very high. With respect to our transactional matters, due to the diligence of the employees within our Utah firm, our success rate is also very high.
What are your law firm’s regular business hours and how open is the communication between client and attorney?
Our offices are open and attorneys are available from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm Monday through Friday. However, our attorneys all check their emails on a very regular basis and are available via email on weekends. We are also a cost conscious firm, meaning, we want the most cost efficient and effective way to relay any necessary information to you. Because of this we always want our clients to get the service they need from the least expensive resource available. Legal advice must come from an attorney; however, any information that exists outside of legal advice can be provided by paralegals and other staff and they are often the most cost effective way possible for our clients to get information about their cases so we advise our clients to utilize them as much as possible.
I would need a translator; do you have attorneys who speak languages other than English?
Yes, between our employees at our Salt Lake City firm, we are fluent in Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, French, and German.
How much time will I need to be able to commit to meetings and unexpected instances where I may need to travel to your office?
As a client you will only be needed in the office a few times. These are instances in which we need your assistance with an in person signature, affidavit or deposition. These often require your presence, but as stated these are rare in occurrence. Our aim is to make your life simpler through our services; therefore our Utah attorneys and staff will work with you and your schedule during these rare occasions.
Can I consult anonymously, without giving my name and personal information, before I decide to pursue legal action?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. The reason we need your personal information is to ensure the validity and accuracy of our conflicts check. This is for your benefit and for the benefit of our current or past client’s as well. However, anything witnessed or heard in the consultation is confidential.
If I am an illegal immigrant, looking for representation and assistance, are you allowed or not allowed to report me?
What is said in a consultation with one of our attorneys is 100% confidential. That being said, if we feel that you are a potential threat to someone else, or have intent to commit a crime, we may have a moral and ethical obligation to let authorities know.
Are there penalties for late payments?
Yes. However, our firm has a proven track record of understanding that financial situations change and we will always work with you to find an alternative payment schedule in order to prevent you from accruing late fees. If you are a client who has diligently paid the agreed upon amount in a continuously timely manner, we are more than willing to waive late fees for times when timely payments cannot occur.
If I have a criminal record, are you less likely to retain me?
No, a criminal record does not automatically prevent you from being retained.
How many cases does each lawyer typically work on at one time?
Depending on the type of law they practice, our lawyers typically are working on 15-50 cases at one time. Therefore your case will likely receive between 1-15 hours of attention per month, depending on what step in the process the case is in. For example, during the discovery phase of a litigation case there are often months where substantially more work being done on a monthly basis than when all of the discovery has been submitted and motions are being filed. The range of monthly charges associated with one case will typically run between $500-$3000 per month. However, in complex litigation cases it is not rare for a team of lawyers to spend all of their time and effort on that one case and for a client to receive invoices for tens of thousands of dollars each month.
Are there any other additional fees that I should know about before retaining?
All fees are disclosed in the representation agreement. We will personally go over the terms and retainer and answer any questions you may have. You will never be billed for something without your prior knowledge.
If I am dissatisfied with your representation and wish to discontinue our agreement, is there a financial penalty?
No. If you have paid your final bill and wish to discontinue our representation for you, there will be no monetary penalty. However, if you were being represented under a contingency fee, then the work our employees have put it in -up to the date of discontinued representation- will be charged. Of course, these will all be stated in the retainer agreement.