Family is first for me, and I find myself feeling more helpful, more generous, more forgiving, with my family, both those closest to me and those more distant, now more than ever before.
“Being a lawyer” is next. For better or worse, being a lawyer infects one’s entire being; if you don’t love this job, it can kill you. (Indeed, lawyers have frighteningly high suicide rates.) Thankfully, I love my job!
I became a lawyer to help people. Helping regular, ordinary folks has been the lodestar of my career; and this year as never before, I am happily re-dedicated to that goal. “Helping regular folks” means I practice family law, bankruptcy, and other general civil law – landlord/tenant issues, writing and reviewing contracts, wills and probate, small business matters, and the like – often, the kinds of problems we might hope shouldn’t require a lawyer, but do.
Of course I help most folks most by helping to keep them out of court, helping them resolve their problems by negotiation and agreement, rather than by litigation.
The best help I can provide, however, is by helping folks plan ahead, helping them avoid the problem in the first place. “If only you had come to see me earlier,” I often want to say, but I bite my tongue, because I understand. “Lawyers are so damned expensive, I can’t even think about a consultation.”
Think again, please.
Free initial consultations are the norm for many matters. When you’re considering divorce or bankruptcy, when you have been sued, or even when you’re just considering hiring a lawyer and want to meet me before making any such important decision, your initial consultation with me is free.
Many lawyers do free initial consultations, but then if you really want to get into the meat of the matter, they quickly revert to their usual rates, or, worse yet, convince you to hire them when that’s really not the smartest thing to do. That’s where I’m different.
First, when you really don’t need a lawyer at all, I’ll tell you. If, for example, you’ve got a dead-simple divorce with no children, no retirement, no real property, no arguments about who gets what, and no problem filling out your own forms and appearing before the judge on your own behalf, you can get the forms from the Kansas Judicial Council website. You might make some mistakes and have to do some things over; but it’s your own time. (Or, I’ll do it all for you, make sure it’s all right the first time, and represent you at court, for $500.) Or if you’re judgment-proof, so you don’t really need the protection bankruptcy provides, I’ll tell you that, too. (I will never tell anyone to file their own bankruptcy!)
Second, when I’m not the right lawyer for the job, I’ll tell you that, too. No one lawyer can be the right lawyer for every case and every client! When I don’t think I’m the right lawyer for your case, I want you to know.
Third, when what you really need is “just consultation” and there is no need for me to represent you (at court or otherwise), I now offer special, low, “consultation only” rates. I can truly provide the most help for any client by “early intervention,” so I want to make it as easy as possible. Moreover, that’s the part of my work I enjoy the most. Depending on the subject, whether it’s one quick chat or likely to be a series of in-depth discussions, and the client’s wishes, I may quote a flat fee or a special, low, “consultation-only” hourly rate; either way, I want to make it affordable.
Finally, when things are not quite so simple, and you really do need a lawyer to represent you, I will tell you honestly, as best I can, how much I think it’s really likely to cost and how and where you might be able to cut corners without cutting your own throat.
I am pleased to serve my clients when they need my services desperately. I am even happier, however, when I can help avoid the desperation. Almost always, the sooner you call the better. “Later,” in legal matters, is often frightfully more expensive in the long run. If you could use my help, do it now! Call me at 843-0187 or send me an email with the form at right.