information for New Clients

If this is the first time you have ever had to hire a lawyer, then this page will help guide you through the firm’s protocols. The process is not complicated, and we try to be as transparent as possible with our clients about how it works and the fees we charge.

Over the years, we have talked to a lot of new clients. Below are the answers to some of the most common questions we receive from them. If we don’t answer your question below, you can ask us about it during your initial consultation.

I think you may be able to help me. What is the best way to get in touch with you?

There are two ways to get in touch with us. Either way you choose, we will do our absolute best to get back in touch with you within 24 hours set up a time for an initial telephone consultation (or to let you know if we cannot help you).

  • The best way is to email us directly with your name, your telephone number, and a short description of your problem. Sara’s email is, and Andrea’s email is If you’d like to email our assistant instead, Betsy can be reached at
  • The second way to get in touch is to call our office at 202-627-6900.

Do you offer free consultations? What happens during the consultation?

Generally, yes, we will schedule a 20-minute free consultation with you. The goal of our consultation is to make sure we are the right fit for your legal issue. During that call, we will ask you to describe your problem at a high level, as we won’t have time to go into all of the details. We’ll also talk about our fees and give you a chance to ask about our experience. 

Please know that we cannot give you legal advice during this call.

How do you schedule consultations?

Andrea or Sara will schedule it directly with you via email or our assistant Betsy will be in touch with you.

I’m worried about confidentiality. Is the consultation confidential?

It is completely confidential, even though you have not hired us as your attorneys. The rules of professional conduct require us to keep everything you tell us completely confidential.

Who will work on my case?

Once we understand the size of your case, we will discuss staffing with you. Our goal is to have as few people as possible to work on your case to keep the legal fees low.

For many of our cases, only one lawyer is necessary.  If it is a bigger case, then both lawyers may work on it, or we may use a contract attorney to assist Sara and Andrea. A contract attorney is a lawyer who works as an independent contractor for the firm, and you will be charged an hourly rate for that lawyer as well. We always tell you in advance if we believe a contract attorney will benefit your case, and we will tell you how much the contract attorney will cost. 

Finally, if there are extensive administrative tasks in your case, our assistant Betsy will handle them at her (lower) hour rate, so that Sara and Andrea are not billing their higher rate to you for administrative work.

How do your fees work?

This depends on the type of case. For most cases, we bill by the hour. This means that we charge you an hourly rate for each hour of work that we do on your case.  We always track our time and will routinely keep you posted on precisely how much time we are spending on your matter. (More details about that below.) There are other cases that we handle on a flat-fee basis. That means that we agree on a single fee for the entire case, from start to finish. Finally, there are other cases that we work with you to charge a flat-fee for each phase of a case. For example, if you are sued in civil litigation, we may charge you a flat fee for all of discovery and then a separate fee to prepare for trial. We will discuss the different ways for billing during our consultation.

Do you accept credit cards?

Yes, we do. We charge a service fee on credit card payments.

When you bill by the hour, what do you bill for?

We bill for the work we do on your case. This includes telephone calls and emails with you, legal research, drafting court documents and correspondence, and preparing for and representing you at court hearings.

How do you handle expenses in my case? Do I have to pay for them upfront too?

That depends as well. For larger expenses, we have you pay directly. For example, you will pay experts directly.

Do you give estimates for how much a case will cost?

Yes, we can give you our best estimate for how much your case will cost. This is an art, though, not a science, and it is impossible to be precise with a budget before the case starts. But, we understand that our clients want to have some idea of cost, so we will do our best to estimate it for you.

If you want cost certainty, then we should discuss a flat fee arrangement. That way, you will know exactly how much the case will cost.

I’d like to hire you. What happens next?

We’re always thrilled when a new client trusts us with their case. The next step is for the firm to draft a written engagement letter that you will review and decide whether to sign.. This letter will describe the scope of the work the firm will perform and the fees that will be charged. Once you have signed the letter and paid the retainer, we will set up a time to have an in-depth telephone or video-call about your case. We’ll also ask you to send us any documents you have related to the case.