What is an ‘Initial Consultation?’
An initial consultation is a visit to the law firm’s office, in person,
by telephone, by Skype, etc. for a meeting with an attorney who gathers
all of the facts of your case, advises you about how the law applies to
your particular situation, helps you assess your rights and risks in your
family law matter and explains how your legal matter will be handled by
the Court. Mediation, in hopes of settling the case, is discussed in every
What happens most often when you call a law firm asking about an initial
consultation with an attorney?
- You don’t have an opportunity to speak with the attorney himself
or herself, rather, you speak with a staff member who most frequently
asks questions about your ability to pay money to the attorney.
- Free consultations are limited in time, usually from 15 to 30 minutes.
No attorney can give quality legal advice without gathering many facts
from the client. Fact gathering takes time. No attorney can give quality
legal advice about your legal future without this necessary fact gathering.
- 15 to 30 minute free consultations do not afford the attorney time to do
the following: (1) gather all of the fact about your case; (2) give you
advice about your rights and risks based on the facts of your case; (3)
advised you of what steps need to be taken to attempt to accomplish your
legal objectives, e.g., the filing of a Petition or Motion, (4) advise
you of the need to provide information to the opposing party and the opposing
party’s obligation to provide this same kind of information to you.
This information usually centers on income, assets and liabilities and
all issues relating to children.
- While the attorney who owns the law firm is presumed to have the most experience
among the other attorneys of the Firm, all to often, less experienced
associates or even paralegals conduct the initial consultation. Experience matters.
- Most attorneys fail to provide suggestions as to how to keep children from
being injured by a divorce, how to help you and your children cope with
one of the most stressful events in anyone’s life and how to start
planning for the future NOW so that by the time your legal action is over,
you are ready for a new life.
- Most attorneys do not advise you that while the attorney is the captain
of the legal ship (the attorney merely gives you advice on your legal
and ethical options), YOU are the captain of the decisional ship. So long
as what you ask your attorney to do, your attorney must do so as long
as what you request is legal and ethical.
- Attorneys who have not been licensed to practice law for a considerable
period of time most often provide free consultations. Experience does matter.
What to Expect from Your Initial Consultation with Catherine W. Real
Taking the first step toward legal guidance during your divorce can be
frightening. That is why Tampa Divorce Attorney Catherine W. Real gives
practical information to prospective clients and begins each case with
an in-depth consultation. Your first step should be to reach out to the
firm to discuss your case either in person, over the phone, or through
a video conference. To help you come prepared, Ms. Real has provided information
on what to expect from your initial consultation with the firm.
At Catherine W. Real’s firm, an initial consultation costs $400.
This fee provides you with the following benefits:
Unlimited Time: Unlimited time with Catherine Real during the initial consultation, i.e.,
your first meeting with her. While an initial consultation usually lasts
between one to two hours, one of her latest initial consultations lasted
over six hours.
Personal Cell Phone Number Is Given To Every Prospective Client Who Comes
In For An Initial Consultation: The personal cell phone number of Attorney Catherine W. Real is given to
each prospective client so that, at no cost prior to retaining, there
is an opportunity to ask her unlimited questions, prior to retaining,
after the initial consultation is over. No client remembers to ask every
question and frequently so many issues are discussed that a client might
want to ask for a clarification.
Finding Out All Of The Facts Of Your Particular Case: Everyone’s case is different. At the initial consultation, Attorney
Catherine W. Real will offer you an opportunity to tell her all of the
facts about your case and concerns, whether it be about a divorce, a suit
to establish paternity or modifications of these Final Judgments. She
will ask you what you hope to achieve, i.e., your goals. No attorney can
give quality legal advice if the client is not given a full opportunity
to relate all of facts that concern him or her.
Overview of the laws that pertain to client’s case: Your case may involve a number of legal concerns.
Children’s issues: (child support, timesharing, the duty to consult with the other spouse
about major decisions in a child’s life or alienation of a child’s
affection for the other parent)
The division of your property…
in other words ‘who gets what you own and who pays what you owe’: (e.g., your businesses, houses, bank and investment accounts, pensions,
profit sharing plans and retirement accounts, jewelry, motor vehicles,
stocks and stock options, the content of your home and any other marital property)
Alimony for the purposes of support: Catherine W. Real will explain the many kinds of alimony, your rights and
risks with respect to each kind and the tax consequences associated with
Accusations of domestic violence: Accusations of domestic violence may be true or false. The existence and
consequences of domestic violence will be explored with all clients during
any initial consultation.
Relocation with children outside of the State of Florida: The factors Courts consider in determining whether a spouse will be permitted
to take the children to live outside the state of Florida will be discussed
if the client has an interest in doing so.
Since all cases are different, the issues listed above are just ‘some’
of the legal matters that may be discussed during an initial consultation
with Catherine W. Real.
Discussion of the legal steps that need to be taken to get a Final Judgment
of Divorce or Paternity or modification of these Final Judgments: Catherine Real will discuss what steps need to be taken to try to accomplish
your legal goals.
Petitions or Motions - The filing with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of a Petition or Motion
may be required.
Discovery - The exchange of documents regarding income, assets and liabilities (like
W-2s, paystubs and tax returns) is frequently required by the Court.
Depositions - A deposition of you, your spouse and other witnesses may be taken, i.e.,
questions may be asked of you, your spouse or other witnesses before a
Court Reporter who can then type out a transcript of every word said,
under oath, during the deposition.
Mediation - Mediation frequently settles all disputes between spouses. If the parties
can’t mediate their case to settlement, then evidence is presented
to a Judge at a
Final Hearing, after which the Judge decides all of the issues for the parties.
Knowledgeable recommendations regarding the best approach for each client’s case: Whether you win or loose your case does not just depend on the facts of
your case. Catherine Real, during an initial consultation, will explore
legal and ethical ‘options’ you may want to choose in trying
to settle your case or, if your case cannot be settled, in presenting
your case to a Judge. Experience makes a difference.
Putting ‘YOU’ back in control of your life: No attorney should demand that you take a particular approach during you’re
case. This is
YOUR life and, so long as what you want done is legal and ethical, Catherine
Real will, without judging you, attempt to carry our your wishes.
Quoting a Retainer and Cost Deposit: No attorney should quote a fee without determining, during the initial
consultation, whether the case is legally simple, like a Name Change or
legally complex. Catherine W. Real will never pressure a client to retain
her Firm at any time including immediately after the Initial Consultation.
Each client should be given sufficient time, away from the influences
of the attorney, to decide whether he or she believes the attorney
- Is knowledgeable of the law,
- Has the kind of care-about-you personality,
- Will always look for opportunities to settle the differences between both
you and your spouse, if settlement is possible, rather than promote fights
just to earn more money,
- Has considerable experience in Court, if your case is not capable of being
- Is economically compatible with the client’s ability to pay legal
fees and costs.
Subtract the $400 Initial Consultation Fee From Your Retainer, Which Makes
The Initial Consultation Free: If a client, after the Initial Consultation, decides to retain the Firm,
the $400 Initial Consultation Fee will be subtracted from the retainer
he or she pays and thus the Initial Consultation becomes free.
Referrals To Another Attorney: If, after the Initial Consultation, the client chooses not to retain the
Firm of Catherine W. Real, if asked, Ms. Real will give the client the
names of other family law attorneys who the client may be able to afford.
Catherine Real maintains a small list of attorneys to whom she would feel
safe in referring a client. Since you have already had an initial consultation
with Catherine Real, you will know the law as it applies to your case,
how your case will proceed to a conclusion and what you can expect from
the family law lawyer you retain. Knowledge obtained from an Initial Consultation
with Catherine Real is power.
We do not believe that you will receive this level of in-depth representation
from the onset of your case at any other firm. With the unique approach
to the initial consultation, Attorney Catherine W. Real fully invests
her time and attention to her clients’ family law matters from the
moment they walk through the office door to effectively address their needs.
Ensure that You Have the Legal Guidance You Need
When looking for an attorney to handle your divorce, it is essential to
ensure that you have high-quality legal representation. Choosing an attorney
based solely on how much he or she charges is the wrong way to go about
finding a family law advocate, and could ultimately cost you more in the long run.
When you work with Catherine W. Real, P.A., you can count on a legal advocate
who will give everything she has to fight for your best interest, and
that of your children. As you and your current spouse make decisions about
the divorce, such as the division of your marital property, child timesharing
and support and alimony, get representation from an experienced Tampa
divorce lawyer who goes above and beyond to attempt to accomplish YOUR
Call Catherine W. Real, P.A. today to set up an Initial Consultation for legal services during your case.