Finding the right lawyer may be an overwhelming task; Silicon Valley is saturated with attorneys and law firms, varying in both expertise and size. Your initial form of contact with prospective firms will likely be over the telephone and, depending on the size of the firm, you may be directed to speak with a member of the intake team who will obtain necessary information about your matter. You may feel blind-sided when you are asked personal information at the outset of the call, but do not fret, this is required information and will be kept confidential. The questions are designed to help determine if the firm is the right fit for your case. While client intake procedures may vary from firm to firm, below are standard questions you should expect to be asked.
First and last names, with correct spelling, will likely be the first questions. This information is essential because the firm cannot represent someone it does not know. The firm will also need to check for conflicts with existing clients, and the firm. Contact information is also important. Whether your preferred method of communication is by telephone, email, fax, or even pager, the firm needs a way to contact you. As with any business, law firms value referrals, therefore, you will probably be asked how you heard about the firm. If someone recommended the firm, be sure to give them credit. Lastly, do not be surprised if you are asked for sensitive information pertaining to finances or employment, especially if you are calling for a family law or employment matter.
You will be asked to give a brief summary of your matter. While you do not need to divulge the entire story, a concise explanation of the issue(s) at hand can help determine if the firm is the right fit for your matter. The names of all parties involved is vital information you will also need to provide, as this allows the firm to check for potential conflicts. If you are seeking representation for a matter that has already been filed in court, it is helpful to have case information readily available, such as: case number, jurisdiction, attorneys of record and any upcoming court dates or deadlines.
Behind the Scenes
Do not be disappointed if you are not able to speak directly with an attorney during your initial call. There are a few things that must happen before scheduling a consultation. First, the firm will check to make sure no conflicts of interest exist. If no conflicts are found, your matter will be presented to the Partners for review. If it is determined that the firm is the right fit, and caseload permits, you will then be contacted to schedule a consultation. This process may take at least 24 hours.
Keep in mind every situation is unique, and the case intake team is trained to navigate and ask the appropriate questions. Every question has a purpose and your willingness to answer (to the best of your ability) will help kickoff your potential relationship with the firm on the right foot.