FAQs For Attorneys
Do you charge for brief collegial consultations?
Not usually. See the next question and answer for details.
I would like to consult with you to help me resolve a custody jurisdiction question I have in one of my client’s cases. Are you available for that purpose?
Yes. I am listed in the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory of the Wisconsin State Bar under the family law category of UCCJEA consultations. As such, I am happy to help guide other Wisconsin lawyers – not the public – through interstate custody jurisdiction and enforcement problems by brief telephone consultations of up to about 15 minutes. For lawyers who encounter interstate custody situations more often than once or twice a year, I encourage you to consider retaining my office to help screen all your interstate custody cases for potential jurisdictional problems. Our retained consulting plan is described briefly in the next question and answer.
Can you help me screen my cases for jurisdictional problems on a regular basis?
Yes. In fact, that’s the way I most like to work. For a very small monthly or annual retainer, you’ll get the freedom to call me as often as you need – for every case that potentially involves more than one state. Most of the time, I’ll be able to tell you that there is no problem. If there is a potential problem, I’ll often be able to help you work through it in short order. Occasionally, the potential problem will not be capable of quick resolution with a phone consultation, and I’ll need to enter the case either as co-counsel or as your consultant to make court appearances, to draft special motions or briefs, or to handle jurisdictional hearings. For those more involved cases, I’ll need to work out a separate fee agreement with you or directly with your client.
If you enter a case as my co-counsel, how can I be sure you won’t just walk off with my client?
With the exception of interstate custody enforcement cases, I never handle the merits of a custody or placement case. Once the jurisdictional aspects of the case have been resolved, my limited representation of your client ends. In fact, I will not agree to represent a client in a jurisdictional dispute except as limited co-counsel (or consultant) with another attorney who will handle all the non-jurisdictional aspects of the case. That means that I may draft the jurisdictional allegations of a petition, but you will draft and sign every other part of the petition. We may appear together in court, but I’ll defer to you for everything but the argument about jurisdiction. And once the jurisdictional issues have been resolved and appropriate orders have been prepared and signed, I withdraw from your client’s case.
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