General FAQS

Do I really need a lawyer?

Well, only an attorney can tell you. This may seem counterintuitive.  A free consultation and case evaluation allows you to learn more about the attorney, and the attorney to learn about your case.

What is a free consultation and case evaluation?

A free consultation and case evaluation is a preliminary meeting of the client and attorney. It allows you to learn more about the attorney’s background, skills, and personality.

The meeting also allows the attorney to learn about your case. After a preliminary review, an attorney should be able to tell you whether he or she can help and how he or she proposes to handle your case. Each attorney will have a different viewpoint. The benefit of retaining Miller & Washington is the wide array of backgrounds, experiences, and expertise of its attorneys.

Please note that our attorneys cannot and will not provide legal advice at the free consultation and case evaluation meeting. They may only counsel you on what you should do after being retained as an attorney, by executing a written attorney-client agreement.

There is never a fee for the preliminary consultation and case evaluation. It does not matter what type of case you have, or what kind of fee arrangement we ultimately enter.

How much do you charge?

It depends. We offer very flexible, and competitive, rates. We also accept clients on a contingency, hourly, or flat rate basis.

Contingency” means we do not accept attorney’s fees from you unless we obtain a settlement or judgment in your favor. If your case is unsuccessful, you do not owe us any fees for our services. The amount of the contingency varies in each case, and depends on several factors. Please contact us to discuss accepting your case on a contingency basis.

“Hourly” means we charge you for the actual time spent on your case. For example, if it takes 30 minutes to prepare a letter, we charge you half of our hourly rate. The hourly rate varies in each case and depends on several factors. We require a retainer in advance, which generally equals the amount of hours we expect to spend on your case, multiplied by the hourly rate. Any unearned portion of the retainer will be returned to you upon completion of our services. Please contact us to discuss the particulars of your case.

“Flat rate” means we charge you once for our services. Regardless of how long those services take for us to complete, the cost will not change. For example, we may charge you $100.00 to review your contract or draft a letter. Whether that takes us 1 or 100 hours, you only pay $100.00. Please contact us to determine if a flat rate basis is possible for your case.

Can I choose contingency, hourly, or flat rate?

It depends. By default, we generally accept cases on a particular rate. For example, most personal injury and all special education cases are accepted on a contingency basis. On the other hand, if you need an attorney to draft a will, we cannot accept on a contingency basis, because there is no possible judgment or settlement. However, when appropriate, we will work with you to provide an acceptable fee arrangement.

What are “fees” and how are they different from “costs”?

“Fees”, or “attorney’s fees”, are what you pay an attorney for his or her services and time. “Costs” are expenses that are incurred during the managing of your case. Common costs include postage, copying, and the filing fee that is paid to the court for filing your lawsuit.

Who covers the “costs”?

It depends on your case and the expected amount of costs. If we accept your case on a contingency basis and we advance the costs, you will be obligated to pay back those costs once your case settles or there is a judgment. Please contact us to discuss the particulars of your case.

Who will be handling my case?

All cases will be accepted and managed under the firm, Miller & Washington. A primary attorney will be assigned to your case for its principal management. In all cases, you will always be able to contact one of the attorneys to ask questions and discuss your case status.

Miller & Washington employs several attorneys and supporting staff members. Occasionally, and as necessary, your principal attorney will seek the assistance of others in the firm, including, attorneys, assistants, and interns. Other staff members may be billed at different rates. If this is expected in your case, we will explain this to you at your free consultation and case evaluation.

When are you available?

We try to accommodate your schedule and will meet you for a free consultation and case evaluation at your convenience. We are available by email or phone and will respond as quickly as possible.

Please be advised that our attorneys may have pre-scheduled meetings, court appearances, mediations, and the like. Some arrangements are scheduled for entire business days and your primary attorney may not be able to answer your phone call or email right away. If you require immediate attention, another attorney will gladly assist you, if you contact our main number, (510) 891-0616.

Why is my case taking so long?

There are certain steps and procedures that must be followed in every case. Many of those steps require us to wait for a response or action from a third party. For example, we may be waiting for police reports, medical records and bills, or school records to be sent to our office for review. While we proactively pursue your case, we must unfortunately allow some time for these types of responses and delays from others.