Many people have never had to call a lawyer or think about the court process, and it can feel intimidating. Even for those who have some previous experience working with lawyers, you may have seen that different firms take completely different approaches. We would like to tell you about how our process works, and what is different about New Leaf Family. We hope that this will help you to feel more comfortable reaching out to us.
No. Feel free to reach out to us to see if we are a good match for what you are looking for, without worrying about the inquiry costing something. We will be up front and obvious when we reach the stage that fees are expected.
Whether you call, fill out a form, email, or contact us another way, we will ask you to provide some very basic information such as your name, phone number, and a brief description of the nature of your issue. At that point there will be an attempt to connect you to our New Client Specialist (“NCS”). Either at that time or at a time you schedule (if it’s more convenient), you will talk with the NCS in more depth. The goal in this conversation will be to determine what you want from working with us (if you do), to let you know your options, and to answer any additional questions you may have. Please note, this will not be “free legal advice.” This will be a session to match what you want with what we can do for you, and to help provide clarity around your next steps. If you wish, the NCS will then send you an Application and Agreement to work with us.
Not to sound like lawyers here but…. it depends! Of course the focus at New Leaf is not just on the legal proceedings, as we describe in depth in the Our Mission page. When you hire us, you are hiring the firm as a whole, not any one particular lawyer – you’re becoming part of the New Leaf Family! If it’s important to you to meet the attorney who will likely conduct legal proceedings on your behalf before you sign, we can arrange for an introduction.
There are some things we would need in order to continue conversations, and some things we don’t. For example, we will be asking for the name of the other party or parties involved in your dispute. The reason is that we have to do a “conflict check” internally, just to make sure we don’t currently represent that person or have some other reason that there might be a conflict of interests for us to learn more about your situation. We will probably also need to know some very basic information about the nature of your issue so that we can have a meaningful conversation with you about what services we offer that would likely be a good match for you. For example, if you are calling about wanting a pre-marital agreement, we don’t want to tell you all about our divorce services! Beyond that, however, at the initial stage, while you are getting to know us as much as we are getting to know you, it is ok not to provide a lot of detail about personal or sensitive aspects of your situation.
YES. Confidentiality is a hallmark of any attorney-client relationship, and that extends even to initial inquiries. No one will contact the other party unless/until you become part of the New Leaf Family and are ready for that other party to be contacted. Nobody will even tell anybody (outside of the firm) that you have reached out to us. The purpose of this confidentiality privilege is that it allows for individuals to speak freely to their law firm (or potential law firm) without having to worry about whether that information can be used against them later.
You are welcome to reach out to us at any time, day or night. If we are not available at the time please leave a voicemail, email, or webform. A member of our team will reach out to you as soon as possible – usually before one business day, if not sooner.
When you become a client, you become part of the New Leaf Family. It depends on where you are in the process as to what happens next, but in general terms the first thing is for us to get clarity on where you are now, and where you want to end up. Many of our clients start out with workshops and/or one-on-one coaching in order to get clarity on their goals. Some clients, however, already know what they want (or have been served with papers that they have to respond to) and are ready to get started in the formal process.
There are so many variables that go into how long a case lasts. While we try to operate as efficiently as we can at New Leaf, there are plenty of factors that are outside of our control, such as how long it takes for you and the other side to get their information together, how soon we can get negotiations and/or mediations scheduled, how long before we can get a hearing, and how long will a judge take to make a ruling. In general a case that can be negotiated or mediated can be done in 2-3 months, and a case that must be litigated is rarely quicker than 6 months; 8-9 months is fairly middle-of-the-road average… but of course some take YEARS, and others settle almost instantly. We cannot emphasize enough though that the single most helpful factor that our clients have control over is in the clarity and goal-setting aspects at the outset of the process. That’s why we focus much of our time and effort there.