Frequently Asked Questions
VF&N does NOT provide divorce, personal injury, criminal representation, or personal bankruptcy legal service. However we do have a legal team that provides estate administration and planning services to individuals.
Once directed to the correct department, a friendly legal assistant will ask for the brief details of your legal matter and your contact information. We collect this information so that we may run a conflict check. We will not be able to offer any legal advice until a conflict check comes back clear, usually within 1 business day, and an engagement letter is signed.
Also from this brief conversation, the legal assistant can determine which attorney may be the best fit for your case ( if you don’t already have one in mind) and supply you with the attorney hourly rates.
Attorneys are required by the Rules of Professional Conduct to ensure they do not enter a situation in which there is a conflict of interest. A conflict check is a cross-reference of our current client list to ensure that there are no conflicts that would arise when representing a new case or client. This typically takes one business day.
You may be eager to share all the details of your case either on your first call or email to our firm, but we ask for your protection and that of our current clients that you wait until a clear conflict check comes back. Just imagine if we are representing the person or entity you want to file against and you offered up some pretty meaty details with no signed engagement letter or client-attorney contract. Whoops!
We tailor our consultations so that the time spent is informative and useful. We want the client to leave with a clear understanding of the degree of their case, the process if moving forward, and when possible be able to provide some answers.
Consultations are charged at the attorney’s hourly rate, which we will provide you prior to scheduling, and is to be paid in office at the time of consultation.
We know you want to make the best use of your consultation, so we ask that you come prepared with:
- Governing documents. Based on your request these could be: Leases, contracts, trusts, articles of incorporations, shareholder agreements, HOA letters, etc.
- All correspondence related to the matter: Emails, letters, text, voicemails, etc.
- Consider what you value in an attorney/ client relationship. This time should also be used, to not only discuss your case but to interview the attorney. See “important questions to consider” below.
- Attorney’s Experience– Does their experience match your needs? Have they handled a similar case? What unique background do they have that may be beneficial? Don’t assume their online bios say it all. We have past architects, grad level professors in real estate development, town attorneys, and many others with unique backgrounds in and outside practicing law.
- How do you like to communicate? – Communication is key when working with a lawyer. Ask the lawyer how often and under what circumstances you will hear from him or her? Does the attorney speak in a way that makes you feel comfortable and understood? Do you understand them? Our lawyers are known for talking WITH clients not at or above. They provide straight forward, honest and clear communications.
- What is the likely outcome in my case? Generally, it is a fair question to ask the attorney whether you have a good chance of winning your case. At this point you are not looking for the “right” answer, just an honest one. This is a great way to gauge trust, concern, and understanding. We can never guarantee a result (it’s actually against VA Bar Ethics so run away from any lawyer that does) but managing expectations is just one way we respect and earn trust.
An engagement letter is your contract or “work order” with our firm. At this point it has been determined that there is no conflicts of interest and you are agreeable to the attorney’s rates and scope of work. Often engagement letters are signed after an initial consultation with the attorney.