Why do we charge for a consultation?

We charge $300.00 for a consultation. In this one hour appointment you will receive a tremendous amount of information and the benefit of our expertise.  In order for us to give you legal advice that has value, we need to go through the history of your case with you and ask you questions that are relevant to your current legal problem.  Once we have answers to these questions, we can then provide you with recommendations as to how best to proceed so you can achieve goals that are realistic to your case.

A consultation is not simply the attorney getting a few facts from you and then telling you what it is going to cost to retain them.  The Ramsey Legal Services consultation is a very comprehensive review of the facts and circumstances of your case and recommendations as to how to proceed.  We have had many clients who were hesitant about paying for a consultation at the outset, but they always receive value for the cost of that consultation and most often leave our office feeling relieved because they are well-informed.  We truly believe that when it comes to a free consultation people get what they pay for in the majority of situations.

If you are not in the Susanville area, the consultation can take place by phone or videoconferencing (as simple as using Skype).  We can take your credit card information over the phone prior to the start of the consultation.  Samantha works mainly in the East San Francisco Bay area, so consultations there can be in person.   Both Ben and Samantha are in Sacramento regularly, so Sacramento consultations can be arranged in person as well.

Often times, clients will schedule a consult not necessarily because they are sure they need a lawyer, but because they need questions answered.  It is not unusual for someone to schedule a consultation because they are contemplating a divorce or family law proceeding and need legal advice regarding various issues in order to decide whether to go forward.  Sometimes these questions are focused on problems such as:

1.  Who remains in the residence and who moves out?
2.  How will the finances be handled? Will support orders be necessary and if so how are they obtained?
3.  How does the court decide who has primary physical custody of the children?
4.  How are the retirements divided?
5.  Are we legally separated?
6.  What do I need to do to protect myself financially?
7.  If the case involves Domestic Violence how does the client protect themselves legally?
8.  If someone invested their inheritance in the family residence how do they get reimbursed?

For civil rights matters, consultations operate in a similar manner.  People experience an event or situation in which their civil rights may or may not have been violated, and they want to know where they stand.  The consultation is an opportunity to provide all the known facts and circumstances surrounding the situation and receive our evaluation of the validity of the case, the likelihood of success and our recommendations going forward.

For estate planning questions, the consultation provides a good starting point for work on your will or trust.  The client presents the situation in detail, bringing any previously prepared testamentary documents for review.  Once we know the client’s current situation and goals in estate planning, we will offer our recommendations for accomplishing those goals.  At that time, we will be able to let you know what kind of flat fee or retainer we will charge to meet your estate planning needs.

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