Important Information from Clinton Shaw to All New Clients
If this is the first time you have needed to hire a lawyer, or even if you have hired one before, this page will help guide you through the process.
I have spoken to a lot of new clients over the years, below are my answers to some of the more common questions I’ve received. If my answer to your question is not provided below, please ask me during our initial consultation.
The best way to contact me is to fill out the brief contact sheet by clicking here and submitting your name, contact information, and a short description of your problem. If you would prefer to send me a separate email, my email address is email@example.com.
If you would rather talk by phone and want to call me, you can reach my office at 703-966-0437.
In any event, I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible, but certainly within 24 hours, to set up an initial consultation by telephone, or in person if necessary.
We will schedule a consultation call that will take approximately 20 minutes. The purpose of the consultation is to make sure I am the right lawyer to handle your legal issue. During that consultation, I will ask you to more broadly describe your problem, as we probably won’t have time to go into every detail. We’ll also talk about my fees and any questions you might have about me and my experience handling legal matters such as yours. Please understand that I cannot give you any legal advice during this call (see disclaimer page). But, please also know that everything you tell me is strictly confidential, even if you have not yet hired me as your attorney.
I will handle the case, but depending on the size of your case, I may need paralegal assistance which is billed at a lesser rate. If your case involves extensive administrative tasks, I will use an administrative assistant to help get these done. If your case involves the need for an expert, I will let you know as soon as I see a potential need for an expert and we will discuss pros, cons, and costs of hiring experts.
The short answer is that it depends on the type of case. I usually bill by the hour which means I charge you at an hourly rate for each hour I work on your case. I always track my time and routinely keep you posted on what I am doing and the time I am spending on the matter. Other cases require that I charge a flat fee – that means we agree on a single fee for the entire case, from start to finish.
Other cases may involve the use of a flat fee for different phases of the representation. We will discuss the different ways of billing in our initial consultation.
No matter what fee is decided upon, our written fee agreement will include: the basis or rate of my fee, the scope of the representation, and the expenses for which my client is responsible. This will be provided to you at the beginning of the representation.
I bill for the work I do on your case. This includes telephone calls and emails with you, legal research, drafting court documents and correspondence, and preparing for and representing you at court hearings.
That depends as well. For larger expenses such as hiring an expert, we have you pay the expert(s) directly.
I will give you my best estimate for how much your case will cost, but such predictions are not an exact science – it is impossible to be 100% precise about the budget before the case starts, because unexpected things can occur. However, it is possible to be reasonably accurate about a budget which I strive to do in every case. I know that every new client wants a clear idea of what their case will cost, so I do my best to estimate it for you. If you want to have greater cost certainty, then we should discuss a flat fee arrangement, so you will know exactly how much the case will cost.
I am honored by the fact that you are trusting me with your case and I want you to know that right away. Next, I need to draft a written engagement letter that you will review and decide whether to sign. This letter will contain our agreement; it will describe the scope of the work I will perform, and the fees that will be charged and how they will be charged. Once you have signed the letter and paid the retainer or flat fee, we will set up a time to have a much more in-depth discussion about your case. I will also ask you to send me any documents you have related to the case. You may also want me to speak with possible witnesses, if that is the case, I will need their current contact information.
Yes. You are entitled to your case file upon request at the end of the representation. Your case file is then yours to keep at the conclusion of the representation.