The Consultation Process
Client Bill of Rights
What to Do Before You Speak to an Attorney
The Consultation ProcessAnything you communicate to us relating to your legal matter is strictly confidential. You can initiate the consultation process in numerous ways. You can either set up a date and time by utilizing this website’s appointment calendaring system, calling our office at (253) 517-8767 or you can email us at to request an appointment.
All appointments must be approved, so please sign up at least 48 hours in advance of your desired appointment time.After you have signed up for an appointment, we will call you to confirm your appointment time and Tim will also spend ten to fifteen minutes conducting an initial screening of your case to determine if he can assist with your legal matter. If it sounds like he can be of assistance, he’ll coordinate with you an appropriate location that is conveniently located near you to conduct a formal consultation.
If you use email, we’ll send you a few forms that need to be filled out prior to the consultation. Completing these forms expedites the process, allowing you more time during the consultation to discuss your case. Please bring these forms along with any documents relating to your matter to the consultation.
If Tim can represent you, we’ll send you an introductory packet along with any additional materials pertinent to your matter. Remember, anything you tell us is strictly confidential, so please do not hesitant to contact us to determine if we can help with your legal matters.
Client Bill of RightsClient Bill of Rights (opens in a new tab or window)
What to Do Before You Speak to an AttorneyWhether you’re seeking legal guidance for litigation or non-litigation matters, please read this section to ensure that your legal matter does not suffer any inadvertent hiccups before your meeting with your attorney.
The most important question to think about before meeting an attorney is "What do I want?" Or, "What do I ultimately want accomplished with the help of this attorney?" Do you want a cash settlement? If so, how much? Why do you want a cash settlement? Is it to make the other party pay for their irresponsible behavior or is it to recover lost wages and loss of future earnings? Maybe you don’t want cash, maybe you simply want a public apology, or you just want an infringer to stop infringing your copyright.
Understanding what you want is critical because unless you can tell the attorney exactly what you want, the attorney cannot effectively represent your interests.
It’s always helpful to an attorney if you can provide as many contacts relating to the case as possible. This includes addresses, emails, and telephone numbers. Also, try to keep as many original copies of critical documents as you can. Although uncommon, sometimes copies of originals are barred from admission as evidence.
It also helps to draft a brief summary and/or timeline to present to the attorney. You’re the factual expert of your matter and unless the attorney has all the facts, it will be difficult for him to provide you with the legal advice you need.
If you’ve just received a lawsuit, then the clock has already begun ticking. You are only provided a limited amount of time (usually 30 days) from receive of the legal complaint to answer the allegations levied in the lawsuit. Even if you think you were not properly served, you should still take immediate action by contacting a lawyer.
First, hold back from communicating with anyone about the suit, except on a "need to know" basis. This includes not sending emails. Sending emails immediately after a lawsuit is received can be very damaging to your case if the opposing party is able to obtain copies via discovery, subpoena, or some other manner.
Second, don’t delete emails or destroy anything relating to the legal matter. If a Judge discovers you have destroyed evidence relating to the case, the Court may very well find you guilty of "evidence spoliation," resulting in a judgment in favor of the opposing party.
Third, understand the consequences of a judgment against you before you decide walk away from a lawsuit or settle. For example, just because a lawsuit is filed against a company you own does not necessarily mean that a judgment against the company cannot be asserted against you individually. With new bankruptcy laws in place, being able to totally shield oneself from a legal judgment is increasingly unlikely.
All content copyright 2010 by Tim Sutherland. All rights reserved. Disclaimer
Client Bill of Rights
Make an Appointment
Small & Medium Businesses
Commercial Debt Collection
Art & Entertainment Law
Contract Law & Negotiations
Cease & Desist Notices
Trademark & Copyright
Bankruptcy & Debt Relief
Military & Veterans
Victims of Crime
Other Practice Areas