Consultation Fee

Why do I have to pay a consultation fee to meet with Linda Hayes on a family court matter?

Ms. Hayes charges $100.00 for a 30 minute consultation. This is a fraction of her hourly rate, which is currently $300.00. More time is recommended at the cost of $200.00 for a one hour consultation if the matter involves divorce or other more complex matters, such as consulting Ms. Hayes on a case that is active and in which you are trying to find new counsel, or in cases in which there are many violations of an existing order.

A consultation is an opportunity for the client and attorney to meet, for the client to provide some information about their situation, and for the attorney to provide some information to the client about what the law is affecting the client’s case, the different ways in which to proceed and an idea of the initial cost in moving forward, depending on which way the matter is going to progress.

  • Unlike attorneys who charge on a contingency basis Ms.
  • Hayes usually charges on an hourly basis.
  • Because Ms. Hayes has been practicing in family court for nearly 19 years and has a BV rating with Martindale Hubbell, she has more experience than many other attorneys practicing in family court.

Approximately 98% of her employment is in Family Court, the remaining time doing simple wills/estate planning.

She recognizes many attorneys do offer free consultations, and Ms. Hayes did do so herself during the first several years of her practice, but is unable to do so now. Oftentimes, Ms. Hayes’ work schedule includes 3 or more new consultations per day, which means that a good part of her day is spent meeting with new clients. She is unable to spend this much of her day working for free. Another reason Ms. Hayes does not provide free consultations is that consultations have the ability to “conflict” her out of representing the opposing party, causing her to lose business. She is not willing to do that. Also, many people call daily asking for a consultation and are unable or unwilling to pay the minimal consultation fee. Ms. Hayes believes that these people would also be unable to pay the retainer to move forward and, therefore, she is not willing to be meeting with people if they do not intend to retain her.

  • For example, when an attorney takes a third of the proceeds of a settlement from a car accident or the like
  • In some cases, Ms. Hayes may charge a flat rate, such as in an uncontested divorce case when the issues are limited and the amount of time that will be incurred is generally known in advance, name changes and estate planning matters
  • Martindale Hubbell is a peer review rating for attorneys. See www.martindale.com

Legal Ability ratings are based on performance in five key areas, rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest). These areas are:

Legal Knowledge - Lawyer's familiarity with the laws governing his/her specific area of practice(s)

Analytical Capabilities - Lawyer's creativity in analyzing legal issues and applying technical knowledge

Judgment - Lawyer's demonstration of the salient factors that drive the outcome of a given case or issue.

Communication Ability - Lawyer's capability to communicate persuasively and credibly

Legal Experience - Lawyer's degree of experience in his/her specific area of practice(s)

BV Distinguished (3.0-4.4) - BV Distinguished is an excellent rating for a lawyer with some experience. A widely respected mark of achievement, it differentiates a lawyer from his or her competition.