Client Bill Of Rights
- You have the right to speak directly with your attorney (not the assistant or paralegal) about your case and have all of your questions answered. (Of course, it may be more cost effective for you to have routine questions answered by a paralegal to save on your legal fees. In addition, frequent questions in certain types of cases being handled on a flat fee may warrant a conversion of the case to an hourly fee basis.)
- You have the right to have your phone calls returned within 24 hours. We try to return calls within the same business day whenever possible, but if that is not possible, you should receive a return call by the next business day. If your attorney is tied up in court or under urgent deadlines, a staff member should call you to inform you of when you can expect to hear from your attorney. Attorneys are encouraged to change their outgoing voicemail greeting to indicate their schedule, if they are out of the office for all or most of a business day or longer.
- You have the right to have your e-mails answered within 24 hours or a reasonable time frame depending on the nature or urgency of the situation.
Due to the constant influx of e-mail and the tendency for messages to be forgotten in the inbox or the risk that a message was mistaken for spam, Clients are encouraged to follow up with a phone call to ensure that the message was received.
- You have the right to be consulted about your schedule prior to anything being scheduled for you, either in court, in depositions or meetings with the adverse party, to the extent possible. Clients should understand, however, that certain court hearings, depositions, and other meetings, can be scheduled by the court or opposing counsel without our consent or approval and your attendance may be compelled.
- You will be notified in writing, whenever possible, of upcoming court dates, depositions, and other types of hearings or meetings, especially when your attendance is required.
- You have the right to expect work to be performed in a timely manner. This means all legal deadlines are being met or within the time frame established by you and your attorney.
- You have the right to be kept informed of all work being performed on your behalf within a reasonable time frame. This is presumed to be within a day or two of the work being done. In addition, if work is not being performed due to lack of funds in the Client Trust Account, the Client should be informed of this promptly.
- You have the right to review all written work product of the attorney prepared on your behalf before it is sent to an adverse party, opposing counsel, or third party, except in urgent situations. This includes substantive letters, court pleadings, and other written work, but may not apply to routine cover letters and things of that nature. While your comments and suggestions should be addressed by the attorney to your satisfaction, we do not allow Clients to rewrite our written work product.
- You have the right to receive copies of all written documents, either produced or received in relation to your case, including correspondence, court pleadings, and other written documents.
- You have the right to one complete copy of your file upon completion of your case. The Client may be charged for the cost of copying documents that were prepared by the firm, but will not be charged for the return of their original documents that were provided to the attorney.
- You are entitled to be included in the decision making process for your case and there are certain decisions that belong to the Client alone, including whether or not to testify in court, whether to request a jury, and whether or not to accept a settlement. However, legal strategy decisions are up to the attorney to make, so it is important for the Client and attorney to maintain a relationship built on trust.
- You have the right to complete confidentiality in all of your legal matters. This means that no information regarding your case will be given to anyone outside of the law firm, without your explicit consent. Conversations between you and your attorney can also be privileged, which means that your lawyer cannot be compelled to reveal anything you say, even by a judge.
- You can expect your attorney to act ethically within the bounds of the rules of professional conduct governing lawyers in Virginia.
- If you are being billed by the hour, you can expect to receive monthly invoices reflecting the work that has been performed on your behalf and the amount charged. If at any time you have a question about your bill or think you did not receive an invoice, we will be happy to provide a duplicate copy or a complete Account Statement showing all of the work billed and payment from the beginning of the case through the present. Please note that clients being billed a Flat Fee will not receive invoices because the fee charged is not based on the amount of work done.
- You have the right to have your questions answered to your satisfaction by a licensed and qualified attorney.