Thinking about calling a family-law attorney? Start here.
If you’re thinking about contacting an attorney to discuss your legal matter, you probably have questions. Who do I call? When should I call? What should I ask? To give you a head start, the attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer have compiled some of the questions we often hear from first-time callers.
Who should I call? What do you need help with? A divorce? An adoption? A criminal matter? A tax issue? The answer to this question will help you determine who you should call. If you have a family law matter, you should try to make contact with an attorney who specializes in family law, like the attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer. When you make your first telephone contact with an attorney’s office, be prepared to give a brief explanation of your legal matter so that whomever you’re talking to can make sure the attorneys at that office can assist you with that matter. If they cannot, they may be able to make a referral to another attorney.
How do I know if the attorney I’m calling is the right fit to help me? This goes hand-in-hand with the first question of “who should I call?” Now is the time to do a little research. Use the internet to research attorneys in your area. Many attorneys have websites where they share information about their background, experience, professional accomplishments, and preferred practice area. They may also share limited personal information about themselves which can help you determine whether they might be a good fit for you.
When should I call? During business hours. This increases the likelihood of someone answering your call. Also, when thinking about timing, if you receive legal paperwork or court filings in the mail, call an attorney ASAP. Don’t wait until just before a court hearing!
Will I be able to talk to an attorney that day? The answer to this question varies from law office to law office. At Ruppert & Schaefer, an attorney is almost always available during business hours to take your phone call, even if you do not have an appointment. If no attorney is available, an attorney will return your call as soon as possible.
What should I ask during the first phone call? Be prepared to ask basic questions that will help you decide if you want to hire the attorney you call, such as:
- Does the attorney regularly handle cases like mine?
- What is the attorney’s hourly rate and retainer fee?
- When is the soonest I can meet with an attorney? Do I need to schedule a consultation?
- If you have a court date, is the attorney available on that date?
- Does the attorney work with any other attorneys in their office?
- Does the attorney have a paralegal who assists them with their cases?
- How long has the attorney been practicing law?
- What is the attorney’s style? Are they in court often? Does he/she settle many cases? (One we hear often, but which doesn’t paint a full picture: “Is Attorney X aggressive? I need an aggressive attorney!”)
- How would the attorney communicate with me? Does the attorney prefer meetings? E-mails? Phone calls?
There are plenty of other questions you may want to ask, and it may be helpful to make some notes prior to, and during, your call. When you’re ready to reach out, the attorneys at Ruppert & Schaefer, P.C., are available to speak to you about your family-law matter. Call us at (317) 580-9295; your future is our concern.