Welcome to Our Office
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING OUR LAW FIRM. We value your confidence in us. We will do all we can to earn your continued faith. The following information may help you understand our office procedure.
WHY CHOOSE A PARTICULAR LAWYER? We are in an age of specialization. To keep up to date on all areas of the law is impossible. We are only plaintiffs trial lawyers. We can help with these kinds of things:
- Car crashes
- Medical errors
- Defective products
- Work injuries
- Employment discrimination
- Other types of incidents that cause physical or emotional harm
We can also sometimes help victims of violent crimes when a civil suit is possible. We do not do divorce, criminal defense, contracts, taxes or other things like that. However, we are always glad to refer you to other competent lawyers if you need other services, so don’t hesitate to ask our advice.
WHO WILL WORK ON MY LAWSUIT? People will be assigned to work on your case based on its nature and individual expertise. Roxanne will not usually be the one to do the more routine things, as her considerable expertise is better utilized in developing trial strategy, arguing motions in court, taking depositions, and negotiating settlements. However, if you have questions or concerns about the way that your case is being handled, you should feel free to communicate with Roxanne directly about those concerns. In order for us to provide representation to even a fraction of the people who seek our advice and assistance, it is necessary that we carefully delegate responsibility and authority for each case. However, we want you to feel comfortable with our firm’s representation. If you do not, you should let someone know.
HOW WILL I BE KEPT INFORMED OF MY CASE? We strive to keep you informed whenever there is something important happening. We understand the importance of adequate communication between lawyer and client. Although we would like to talk to you weekly by telephone, that would not be practical-nor would it be very productive. Legal matters have a way of stretching out over long periods of time. It may seem to you that nothing is being done. In fact, much behind-the-scenes work is being done so that on the day your case goes to trial, nothing will be overlooked.
In order to keep the cost of legal services down while at the same time maximizing communications, we will forward copies of relevant documents to you as we receive them so that you can see for yourself the progress being made. This procedure helps cut down on the time and expense of telephone calls and gets the information to you in writing so you can have time to digest its content and meaning.
WHAT DO I DO WHEN I HAVE A QUESTION? We are interested in your questions. We want you to ask them. Because we are trial attorneys, we are often away from the office for long periods of time. Unless the matter is a dire emergency, attempts to contact your attorney by phone are discouraged. It’s also likely to be pretty frustrating to you. When we are in the office, we are busy with trial preparation or depositions. Our staff includes Legal Assistants who can usually answer your questions. They are trained professionals whose duties include investigation, research, and case preparation. Please feel free to direct your questions to them, preferably in writing. If the Legal Assistant cannot answer your question, he or she will get the answer for you, or arrange to have your attorney contact you.
We also have 3 to 6 law clerks working with us. These are second and third year law students, who work part time during the school year and full time during the summer. These employees have two things in common; they are very smart and they are interested in helping people. What they do not have is experience and that is what we are giving them. They CANNOT give you legal advice. They can and will pass on questions and concerns. Please work with them and give us any feedback you have about their performance. We think a part of our mission is to help soon-to-be lawyers learn how to handle the kind of cases we have.
We try to be as accessible to our clients as possible, but in order to handle all of our cases efficiently, the more uninterrupted time we can spend, the better. Correspondence and email is easy and provides us with written records. If it is absolutely necessary to call, and we are unavailable, please leave a message so we can know your concern in advance.
WHAT WILL THE LEGAL SERVICES COST? You are entitled to know, from your first visit, how your fee will be assessed.
Lawyers are paid under various fee arrangements. Most are hired on a TIME-CHARGE basis with fees based on an hourly rate for services rendered.
However, we usually work on a CONTINGENCY basis. Your legal fees will be based on the amount of recovery we get for you; in other words, no recovery, no fee. Your lawyer will explain the requirements to you and you will be required to sign a contract which sets forth the percentage of the recovery which you will pay as a fee. NOTE: Costs are different than fees. Be sure you understand how this works.
Please feel free to discuss fees with your attorney.
WHAT ABOUT LITIGATION COST OR OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES? In addition to the legal fees, there are various charges which must be paid to prepare your legal matter. Police departments, for example, regularly charge for a copy of an accident report; court reporters charge for depositions; expert witnesses charge fees; physicians require payment for preparation of their medical reports; the firm charges for copying, travel, and other costs. Unfortunately, we have little, if any, control over these costs.
It is very difficult to estimate the amount of such charges. We will advance these costs, but they remain your responsibility. These out-of-pocket expenses are not legal fees but represent expenditures made on your behalf to further your legal cause. The costs we advance will come out of your share of the recovery. This is a little complicated. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for an explanation if it isn’t clear to you. If we are not successful you owe us no money for costs.
WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE A LEGAL QUESTION ON A DIFFERENT MATTER THAN A PENDING CASE? A phone call or email to our office staff will direct you to the person who can best answer your question. Remember, no questions as to your rights, duties, or obligations should go unanswered because you did not know who to ask. Ask us.
SUPPOSE THE LAW FIRM CANNOT REPRESENT ME? We are a specialized law firm. If you have a problem that does not fall within the categories of cases that we handle, we will refer you to another lawyer who is competent to handle that type of case.
WHAT ABOUT MONEY TO BE HELD “IN TRUST” BY MY ATTORNEY? Certain legal matters require that monies be held “in trust” or “in escrow” for a client for weeks or months at a time. We maintain a separate, noninterest-bearing Trust Checking Account. At no time is money from that account commingled with general funds. This is your money held in trust by your attorney. Separate, detailed records are kept in connection with this account.
WHAT ABOUT OFFICE VISITS? All office visits are by appointment, made with secretaries or legal assistants. We encourage each of our clients to schedule meetings with us during regular business hours. We set aside time for appointments, to minimize interference with your job or family. We also request that you never call your attorney during non-office hours, unless an emergency arises. All of us try to reserve time for our families and appreciate your respecting this private time.
WILL YOU KEEP THE PERSONAL THINGS I TELL YOU CONFIDENTIAL? The short answer is “Yes”. We need to know everything about you, your family and your lifestyle that might have any bearing at all on your case. The worst thing you can do is to keep secrets from your attorney. If we know everything about you and your case, even the facts that may be damaging, then we can be prepared to meet them. We will keep what you tell us confidential, unless the rules require otherwise. So please give us your complete cooperation so we may serve you properly.
Important Note: All of your correspondence and emails with anyone (except your lawyers) which mention your lawsuit must be preserved. The best thing to do is NOT send any correspondence or emails that mention the facts of the case, how you are doing and how the lawsuit is going. The Defendants will very likely get to see all such correspondence and emails. YOU MUST NOT DESTROY THEM! If you do, the court will be furious and could take radical action such as telling the jury you destroyed documents or even dismissing the case.
We hope that we have answered some basic questions about our firm. We want your suggestions, questions, and thoughts. Our goal is to solve your legal problem as efficiently as possible and at a reasonable cost. We value your satisfaction and confidence. Thank you for giving us this opportunity to serve you.
The Mission of Our Law Firm:
- We will try to make our world safer, healthier and fairer.
- We will speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
- We will seek justice and do justice and we will never give up.
-Roxanne Barton Conlin