At the law offices of Gina Calogero, we do not offer free consultations except in the case of people covered by a recognized legal referral plan. We charge a $300 flat fee for family law consultations and a $250 flat fee for animal law cases. We do not charge a consultation fee for Wills and Estates or Real Estate matters, because the fees are paid upon execution of the documents, and municipal court retainers are usually flat fees in which the initial consultation is included in the total fee.
They say you get what you pay for. A legal consultation is no exception. In a typical “free” consultation, you can expect to meet the attorney for 20 minutes to a half hour, during which time you give only basic information about yourself and your case, get a sense of how much it might cost to retain the attorney, hear a sales pitch, and walk away with little useful information.
At the law offices of Gina Calogero Law, our consultations are called “Intake Interviews.” And they take as much time as you need. The clock does not stop running at 20 minutes. We don’t just ask where you live and what is the name of the adverse litigant. We take all relevant information from you, in order to get a sense of your case. We take time to discuss the legal issues and we even give you valuable, useful legal advice. The information we take during the initial interview can be used during the case to create the necessary documents to file in court, such as a complaint, case information statement, and/or legal briefs and sworn statements outlining the facts of your case.
In cases of family law, we can give you a general idea of what you can expect in the process of a divorce case, discuss a range of possible amounts of child support and /or alimony, explain the various steps of the divorce process and even advise you as to domestic violence issues and how to protect yourself against abuse. We don’t limit you to an hour, but take as much time as needed (usually around 70-90 minutes) to get the basics of your case.
So many potential clients tell our receptionist or legal secretaries that they just “have a quick question” or that they want to know if they have a case before they are willing to commit to the consultation fee. Please do yourself and us a favor: if you don’t want to pay the fee after reading this article, don’t make the appointment or if you have second thoughts, please call to cancel. We have many clients who need our time and advice. By making an appointment you don’t intend to keep, you are taking away from them.
It has been our general experience that clients leave an intake interview breathing a sigh of relief. Their fears are allayed, their questions answered and – even if they don’t like the answers – they feel empowered by a sense of knowing what to expect. Their unrealistic expectations are brought into perspective. Sometimes, they walk away deciding not to litigate, because the costs or risks of filing suit are too great. But we believe that you will get your money’s worth.
If you are interested in having a legal consultation with one of our experienced New Jersey attorneys, contact us today.