Whether you as the defendant or a close contact calls the attorney’s office on your behalf, first an intake will occur. During this time biographical information and basic background information of the case at hand is given such as location, court, charges, upcoming court dates, and the most important details of the situation. Here, a staff member of the firm will determine if the case is eligible to be taken, give a rough estimate of cost, and then find a time for you or your contact(s) to speak with the attorney.
Preparing for the Consultation
While it can be intimidating to share all the details of your situation, it is important to remember that the attorney is not there to judge. The actions in a case and your relative level of guilt does not impact whether the attorney will take your case, nor will it impact the degree to which the attorney will fight for you, their client.
You as the defendant, your contact(s), or you and your contacts collectively, will speak to the attorney regarding the case at hand in more detail. Here the attorney will form a better understanding of the case at hand, give an exact quote of cost, and sometimes give advice to be used until the attorney can begin work on the case. During this time, you or your contact(s) will state if they would like to hire the attorney or not.
Signing Required Documents and Paying Fees
After deciding to hire the attorney, a representation agreement with details such as the terms of representation and the cost of hiring the attorney is drafted to be signed by you and/or your contact(s). After the representation agreement has been signed, payment will be worked out with the office manager. Once the paperwork and the agreed upon initial payment has been completed, you and/or their contact(s) officially become clients of the firm and work may commence on the case.
Even if another party, such as the contact(s), pays wholly or even in part of the legal fees, the details of your case are still not shared with the other paying parties. Even if these individuals tell or instruct you to advise the attorney to share everything with them, the attorney will not do so. It is up to the defendant to choose which details to share or withhold from their contact(s).
Typically, each week the case will be reviewed by the attorney and their staff to determine what needs to be done, what has been done, and what work is currently in progress. Weekly review of cases allows for efficient allocation of resources and task management to ensure the highest quality of service to the client(s). Matters meetings also help keep clients well informed of their case by developing a strong knowledge of each advancement of progress. Clients can also be assured that their situation is diligently being worked on and getting the proper attention it deserves.
Communication with the Courts and Important Contacts
The attorney and their staff are in constant contact with the courts and contacts who are important in developing the case. While most work completed behind the scenes is not brought to the attention of the client, it is being diligently completed and staff work efficiently and effectively to assist the needs of the attorney. Though this contact is not with the client, it is crucial to stay up to date with the court and contacts to properly keep the client informed.
Closing the Case and the Possibility for Expungement
Before a case is closed, the attorney will check to ensure that “all the t’s are crossed, and all the I’s are dotted”. After closing a case, the attorney will check and see if the charges are eligible for expungement depending on the nature of the case and the outcome of the court proceedings. If eligible, the attorney will notify the client and may offer to present them with another representation agreement to seal the charges from their record. It is important to note this option is not available in all criminal cases for various reasons.