Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be
Updated: Jun 10
When I was in the Marine Corps several years ago, one of the things they taught us was Land Navigation. After I mastered the skill, I was proud of the fact that you could drop me off in the middle of the desert with just a compass and a map, and I could determine exactly where I was.
The trick is to be able to read the map. After that, it's easy. You point your compass at a couple of topographical features that you recognize from the map, see where the lines cross, and that's where you are.
Once you know where you are, you can start figuring out how to get where you're going.
Doing all of that about a million times in the Corps was good practice for being a lawyer. Lawyers are supposed to be problem-solvers. And that is what I have always seen myself as being.
One of the statements I make to most people, when I consult with them is: My job is to figure out where you are and where you want to be, then determine whether I can get you there. If so, and if you decide to hire me to help you, my job becomes trying to get you there in the most efficient and effective way possible.
When you are deciding whether to hire a lawyer, you need to know how to get to that point first. If you are faced with a legal problem and are not represented, where you are is "on your own." So, the question becomes how to get from being on your own dealing with the issue to being represented – or at least finding out how to be represented.
I can't tell you how all law firms do it, but I can tell you how we do it.
1. Contact us
The easiest way to get all of our contact information is to go to our website – www.dfwdivorce.com
From there, you can call any of the numbers or complete the contact form that is on the site or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Tell us a little about the situation
Let us know the basic facts of the situation and who the other "players" are. We will want to know what your spouse or significant other's name is, what State and County everyone lives in, and a little about what is going on.
3. We will determine whether we think we can help
There are some situations in which someone feels like they need legal help, but there really isn't anything that an attorney can do to help. Typically, however, if your situation involves anything about Family Law, we can be of some assistance.
Family Law means those things covered by the Texas Family Code, which includes Divorce, Child Custody, Grandparent Rights, Child Support, and everything else talked about on our Practice Areas list on our website.
If we believe we can help you, we will set you up with a consultation with one of our Senior Attorneys.
4. Consultation Set
We can consult in person, over the telephone, or via video media, such as Zoom. Our Initial Consultations typically last about an hour, and we usually charge for them.
We don't usually offer free consultations because the consultation is not a sales pitch. Our goal at the meeting is to find out where you are in life and where you want to be. From there, we want to discuss the law concerning your facts and what your options are for solving your problem – and then help you determine which option best fits your goals and budget.
At the conclusion of the consultation, if we believe that we can help you, we let you know the next steps to hire us, which typically involve a Fee Agreement and Retainer.
The Fee Agreement lays out all of the details for our Representation and billing. It is entirely up to you whether to enter into the agreement and if you choose to, we typically ask for an Initial Fee, which is also referred to as a Retainer.
The Retainer is what is called an "Evergreen" or "Floating" Retainer. The goal is for you to "top off" or fill up the Retainer on a regular basis so that there is always a sufficient amount in the account for any eventuality that may arise in the case.
Some cases are resolved quickly, and some take a long time. Even after a trial or mediation, there is work to do in most circumstances. But at some point, the matter will be concluded.
At the conclusion of the Representation, any funds remaining in the Retainer account are returned.
That is the basics of how you get from Unrepresented to Represented. Hopefully, that helps answer some basic questions. If you have any that didn't get answered here, please let us know.