Consultations, whether in-person, on the phone, or via email, is the critical first step for information-gathering and determining what options, if any, a client may have, and what the most appropriate legal strategy and way forward might be.
Think of it as the first investment in your case, or possibly your future. If nothing else, this small initial investment will give you actual, reliable (and sometimes actionable) answers you needed to obtain.
You are paying for legal advice based on legal expertise and experience, which was very time-consuming and costly to obtain. The experience and knowledge of the information conveyed during a consultation is the result of years of dedicated legal practice and actual case experience, keeping up-to-date with ongoing changes in the law and in governmental regulation and practice, and the substantial investment of time and money to become a practicing lawyer.
- The consultation fee is $150 for 30 minutes for a single telephone consultation.
- Initial in-person consultations are $250 for 60-90 minutes, and take place in St. Petersburg, Florida, where my practice is located.
- Email consultations (with follow-ups) are $100 one-time.
PLEASE NOTE: DO NOT send me any documents for the consultation unless I specifically request them.
Consultation fees must be paid in advance, unless you receive specific instructions from me otherwise. Consultation times and dates are NOT confirmed unless the consultation fee has been paid, and I have confirmed the appointment with you.
If you do not pay the confirmation fee and unless we exchange confirmation of the date and time of the consultation, the consultation will not take place.
PURPOSE AND SCOPE
- Determine what legal options and actions are necessary and available for your case.
- Estimate the chances of success, including weighing alternate options.
- Explain the options to the potential client and the general procedures for each option.
- Recommend for or against various options (plus alternates).
- Decide whether I would be willing and able to take the case.
- Provide the client with a fee quote, based on the facts of the case.
WHAT IS NOT COVERED BY A CONSULTATION
- Explaining to you how to prepare/present your case without an attorney. (giving you “DIY How to”)
- How to improve your self-prepared / self-filed case (or waiver packet or ‘letter’), or a case you might be about to file on your own. (incl. any “proof-reading” or “accuracy-checking”)
- What legal arguments to use in your case and/or what types of documents you would need to acquire and assemble.
Please do not pay for a legal consultation with me IF what you really want is to pay for “how to” advice on how to submit your application to the U.S. government on your own, without me as your lawyer. You will be disappointed, and your consultation fee will NOT be returned or refunded.
THE INTAKE / CLIENT INFORMATION FORM
My assessment of the case during the consultation is based on the information provided on my intake form. If I decide to take your case, I refer to the intake form, and other questionnaires, to be completed by you, throughout the entirety of the case in matters regarding entries/exits, marital history, arrest history, etc. Providing incorrect information on the intake form that is not corrected in the consultation can plague the rest of your case. Accuracy and honesty are key!
NO-SHOW / LATENESS
Telephone appointment and in-person appointments are expected to begin on-time. Potential clients calling or arriving more than 15 minutes after the appointed time, regardless of the reason, are considered to have missed their appointment and will likely be asked to reschedule. Consultation fees paid are NON-REFUNDABLE.
THINGS YOU MUST DISCLOSE TO ME DURING THE CONSULTATION
I will always endeavor to ask all the relevant and necessary questions, but in some cases I may neglect to ask, it is extremely important for the potential client to accurately describe in detail:
- Month/year for all of the alien’s entries and exits from the US and manners of entry,
- Any arrests anywhere in the world at any time even if there was no conviction, (for yourself and your spouse)
- All current and prior marriages for both petitioner and beneficiary (alien) anywhere in the world, including common law marriages, “tribal” marriages, marriages that you are not sure were “legal”, and marriages that ended in divorce, annulment or death of the spouse, and
- Any prior immigration history, such as a prior asylum claim or attempt to adjust status.
DISCRETIONARY CREDIT OF CONSULTATION FEE TOWARD LEGAL FEES
At my sole discretion, I may, from case-to-case, decide to credit some or all of the consultation fee paid toward the future legal fees of your case, if and when we may formalize a representation relationship.
Charging for a consultation compensates me for my time, expertise, experience and education. This is true regardless of whether I ultimately take on the legal representation in your case or not. IF, following the consultation a decision is made NOT to enter into legal representation, then your investment is minimal, you obtained valuable information in exchange for the fee, and I was compensated for the time spent.
No refunds will be given once the consultation begins. Refunds requested at least one (1) business day prior to the scheduled time of the appointment will generally be honored.
WHEN CERTAIN ISSUES CANNOT BE ANSWERED IMMEDIATELY
For the vast majority of the consultations I do, I do not need to perform independent legal research in order to give the you a legal opinion during the consultation.
Rarely, however, depending on complex or unique facts or issues, I may not be able to render a legal opinion on that issue immediately, during the consultation. When this occurs, I will render a legal opinion to you generally within 48-72 hours, after the consultation.