It never costs you anything to talk to me. I am always happy to initially consult with potential new clients for free. Normally I like to discuss your situation with you by telephone first. This way I can make an initial decision about whether I believe there is a claim worth pursuing before you take time to drive to meet me in person. Understand that as a contingent fee lawyer (meaning I only get paid if I am able to achieve some recovery on your behalf) I have to be selective about the cases I take and therefore there are some people who call me that I do not feel I can represent. Even if I do pass on your cases I am happy to hear you out and offer recommendations such as referring you to other attorneys who may see the matter differently than I do.
If I do decide to meet in person I ask that you come to my office the first time. Beyond my office being quite comfortable this is a time when I want to obtain all important documents from you (job application, initial hire documents, paystubs, job descriptions, performance evaluations, relevant medical documents and where applicable any termination documents you have). At this time I copy and/or scan your documents so I have my own set to review closely and you keep all of your original documents in your possession.
At that time I will probably go over your story again, following up on the initial phone conversation, and take detailed notes of everything you have to say and even more importantly I will ask key questions regarding details that are essential to assessing the claims you have. I will offer my opinion as to the claims you may have and the work required to prove those claims in court. At this time we can also discuss the terms of our forming a contractual attorney-client relationship.
Once I have been formally retained, I normally start out by sending a demand letter to the current or former employer to see if an early resolution is possible. This detailed letter describes the facts of your case and sets forth the legal claims arising from those facts. It is a precursor to a lawsuit and rarely is such a letter from an attorney ignored.
Generally, employers are defiant, go into damage control mode and argue they have done nothing wrong. So the initial demand letter is usually not sufficient to achieve a favorable resolution. If so we will discuss filing a lawsuit and the steps involved in litigation (filing pleadings, discovery including depositions, potential settlement and ultimately trial or an arbitration hearing if the case does not resolve beforehand).
One of the essential elements of litigation is that you as the Plaintiff have duties and responsibilities. Being the Plaintiff in an employment lawsuit is not a passive activity. You will need to respond to my calls, help me answer questions, search for and turn over to me documents you have stored at home or elsewhere, sit for possibly a full day or longer at a deposition where the opposing lawyer will ask you questions and your answers under oath will be taken down by a court reporter and if need be you will need to arrange to have several days off to appear at and take part in a trial or an arbitration hearing. All of these steps will need to be discussed so that you understand what you are getting into if you decide to file a lawsuit.
Overall our relationship is a partnership. We will work together to litigate your case and try to obtain the best possible result for you. While I cannot promise a “win” or any particular favorable result, I do have a lot of experience in this area of law handling a wide variety of types of claims. So from the first meeting I will gather lots of information and be able to make a solid determination of the types of claims you can bring and how strong they appear, at least at the outset. If I do take your case it means I am confident that you and I working together can achieve some sort of successful result. Understand however that litigation is a process. It will take many months or possibly a year or longer and sometimes it will seem slow while other times your case will seem hot with activity. There will be times when we speak almost daily and other times where a week or more may go by without any major developments in your case. Keep in mind too that I have many clients and I devote time to all of their cases so there will be times my attention will be focused on other matters and I may not be immediately available to you. No matter what I am always fully on top of your case and will respond to any inquiries you send me within 24 hours at the absolute latest.