What to expect from your initial consultation
At The Watson Firm, we take an unusual approach to helping our clients, so let me take a few minutes to tell you what you can expect at your initial consultation. I want you to be confident that you can make an informed decision about whether we are the right law firm for you. First, business law is complex. What we don’t know can hurt us.
Chances are that you have already picked up some tidbits of information from friends or blogs. While these tidbits might seem helpful now, they can actually set the fuse on a time bomb waiting for you down the road.
Let Me Tell You a Story
Because I'm an attorney, I'm not allowed to talk about specific instances with specific clients. Instead of telling you a story about a particular client, I’d like to tell you a story about fictional characters I’ve made-up based on my hundreds of consults over the years:
A few years ago, John got an idea for an invention and pitched it to his best friend, Paul. John was always coming up with new ideas, and he trusted Paul to vet them. This idea in particular was especially promising, and Paul guessed that it could make a lot of money, so he and John decided to start a business.
Based upon some tidbits of information they found online, John and Paul set up a LLC through a website and opened a bank account. To cover their startup expenses, they got some friends to lend some money on a handshake deal. Neither John nor Paul could justify the expense of retaining an attorney and attempted to get as much information online about the legal aspects of their business.
For the first few years, the business did incredibly well. They even bragged to some of their friends about how much money they saved on legal expenses and how they did it all on their own.
About 6 months ago, however, things changed.
A major competitor came into the market and cut John's and Paul's gross revenues by 30%. Cash flow got tight, so John and Paul started using "creative solutions" to cover payroll, such as not paying withholding taxes. Their investors started to get nervous, decided it was time to get their money back, and called their investment. Knowing that they needed to make a change, John and Paul could not decide what specific changes needed to be made to the product line. After a while, Paul got so frustrated with the lack of decisiveness that he stopped showing up to work.
When John came to see me, he had already received deficiency notices from the IRS, his investors, and several vendors. Paul was nowhere to be found, but John had a feeling Paul was pitching his ideas to their competitor in order to get a job.
What I Do
I represent people on all ends of that spectrum. For some, it's the best day of their lives as they pursue the American Dream. For others, it's the worst day of their lives as the walls are closing in with no hope in sight. I routinely help both kinds.
Most of my practice is geared towards preventative maintenance. If I can subtly prevent the problems John and Paul faced, they can take their already-successful business to new heights.
Unfortunately, I also often represent clients that are on the other end of that spectrum. I often provide them the clearest path forward that they've seen in months, and, in many cases, I'm able to solve many of these problems so there is no long-term damage.
Ultimately, I'm a professional problem solver. My job is to find the problem, investigate a solution, and implement that solution. As a lawyer, I have extra tools at my disposal to solve those problems in ways that others can't. However, my greatest asset is my extensive training and experience in both the law and business that allows me to predict where problems will arise long before the issue presents itself.
Our Time is Valuable
Unlike most businesses, we don't sell anything except time. Generally, the more time we spend on a matter, the better the result. We also understand that paying for someone's time can potentially be a very costly endeavor.
During our initial consultation, we will spend some one-on-one time with you to get a good understanding of your situation and to investigate all potential options. We ask routine questions that can be answered by you in advance so that we don't waste time in the consult. This is just one way that we maximize the time we spend with you.
During the initial consultation, we will go into detail about the facts underlying your situation. We will discuss what different options you have to prevent or solve some of the problems you may face. But, most importantly, we will spend a significant amount of time discussing, in detail, what you want. How and why we represent you are as important as what we do to represent you.
At the end of our consultation, we will discuss the details on how you can retain us. There is no obligation for you to retain us after an initial consultation. Likewise, just because we have consulted does not mean that we are your attorney. Formally retaining us is an important step moving forward.
How to Prepare for Your Initial Consultation
First, you will have received a link to our Confidential Intake Form in your confirmation email. This contains the routine questions I mentioned before. Complete that before our consultation.
Second, I’d like to ask you to begin keeping a list. Write down all the questions, concerns and ideas that come to your mind as you start preparing for our appointment. You might also want to start thinking about what your budget for legal expenses is. I can help you, but it helps if I have some idea of what you're hoping to spend.
I promise we’ll do everything possible to make sure you leave that appointment with your questions answered and feeling great.