Online Consultation Process

Process and Fees

We would be glad to assist you with:

  1. a consultation (there are three types - residential, investor, general business, or commercial);
  2. an asset protection review (APR); or
  3. a litigation review if you currently involved in a lawsuit.

Consultation services are part of our core business and fees therefore apply (see below). We do not offer free consultations of any kind - online, by phone, or in the office.

If you do not know what sort of documents you may need, are uncertain of the law, would like your case or situation evaluated, need to have existing documentation reviewed before proceeding, or would like to discuss your legal options, then a paid consultation is your appropriate first step.

The Basics

Consultations residential real estate, investor/general business, and commercial real estate. Documents are reviewed, the case is evaluated, options are explained, and a course of action is recommended. "Residential" pertains to one's residence/homestead (buying or selling, leasing, lien issues, and the like); a real estate investor consultation applies to investors in single family residences (SFRs) up to the size of a fouplex and including raw land up to 3 acres; and "commercial" includes non-SFR transactions such as apartment complexes, mobile home parks, larger tracts of land, and shopping centers. A consultation concerning entity structuring is an asset protection review (APR - see below). Fees are:

Residential Real Estate Consultation (Pertaining to the one's homestead) - $225 for sales price or issues up to $600,000; $295 to 1.1M; $375 over 1.1M

Real Estate Investor Consultation (Also applies to general business matters) - $275 for sales price or issues up to $600,000; $325 to 1.1M; $450 over 1.1M

Commercial Real Estate Consultation (Commercial properties and transactions) - $325 for sales price or issues up to $600,000; $375 to 1.1M; $450 over 1.1M
Asset protection review ("APR"). The APR is an extended type of consultation focused specifically on asset protection. It includes an analysis of circumstances and goals with recommendations for action and is a good starting point if a client is uncertain about what action to take regarding a business/investment structure or defending assets. We ask that you provide us in advance with a concise list of assets and liabilities (not full financials) as well as any legal action that may be pending or threatened. Please limit your supporting document transmission to a concise summary with only relevant items attached, since our "reasonableness standard" applies to the quantity of this documentation. Very large document transmissions may result in switching from a flat fee to our hourly rate. Note that the APR is in the format of a dialogue between attorney and client (rather than a formal report) which must occur within the immediate time frame (three calendar days) to be included in the flat fee. APR fees are:

Net assets/issues/amounts up to $600,000 - $750; $601,000 $1,100,000 - $950; $1,100,000 - $5,000,000 - $1,500; in excess of $5,000,000 - $2,500.
Litigation Review. For review and evaluation of pending or threatened litigation:

Amount in controversy up to $600,000 - $750; $601,000 $1,100,000 - $950; $1,100,000 - $5,000,000 - $1,500; in excess of $5,000,000 - $2,500.
Flex Fees. While we strive to adhere to our posted flat fees, not every client situation fits within the standard framework. In cases that are more complex or extensive we may instead offer an alternative higher initial retainer amount (usually in the range of $1,500 to $2,500) for the task. This policy acknowledges the reality that no two cases are alike and some may be significantly more challenging than others.

Attorney Time involved in Consultations. Residential and commercial consults may involve up to one hour of attorney time. APRs and litigation reviews are typically more extensive and may take up to 1.5 hours of attorney time. Both may occur over three calendar days and are subject to our usual reasonableness standard (explained below) as to content, scope, and duration, and also as to the quantity of supporting documentation involved. (Note please that this is not a "three-day consultation." The allotted time is merely spread over three days for Q&A after which time the consult automatically ends). When it is clear to us that a consultation, APR, or litigation review will take substantially longer than anticipated, we may instead chose to quote an initial retainer as discussed in the previous paragraph. Since all cases are different, we need to reserve this flexibility.

Online Format

All of our initial consultations with new clients are now efficiently handled online, by means of email Q & A, not in the office. There are no exceptions to this. It is not necessary to set a specific appointment time. A supplemental phone call is available after an email discussion, if it is necessary, but it is usually not. The email discussion usually winds up being sufficiently thorough. An additional advantage of email is that the client has a record of legal advice given.

Turn-around time on consultation questions and most document preparation projects is one to two business days from the time we receive all necessary information and payment from the client. A period of three calendar days (including weekends but excluding holidays) is allowed for Q&A or changes and corrections to any documents we may prepare. By way of clarification, this does not mean that we offer a "three-day consultation." The time allowed for the usual residential or commercial consultation is one cumulative hour of attorney time, which may be spread over that period of time. APRs and litigation reviews are typically more extensive and are allowed a total of two hours of attorney time. Consultations automatically conclude and documents are automatically considered final after three calendar days.

Our Responses to Q&A

We respond to emailed questions during business hours on business days. Our obligation to respond does not extend to evenings, weekends, or holidays. Example: one client recently emailed an extensive list of questions Friday evening at 11:30 p.m. The following Monday, at 7:00 a.m. he emailed again saying "I sent my questions to you three days ago - where are my answers?" That is not how our process works. Our internet presence does not mean that this is a 24/7 law office. Also, although we have many clients in different time zones, U.S. Central Time governs our definition of a business day.

Consultation vs. Retainer

For the duration of the consultation we discuss the matter until legal advice and guidance are, in our determination, substantially complete. A supplemental phone call (up to 20 minutes) is available if the client wishes. However, a consultation and a long-term retainer are different concepts. An online consultation is a discussion that occurs within the immediate time frame (which we define as three calendar days, up to the time allotted) in order to be included in a consultation fee. It then concludes. Similarly, any documents we may prepare are automatically considered final three days after delivery.

Payment of Fees

Advance payment is required. It is payment that puts your task in the queue and causes us to open a file, make a record of any case information you may send, and/or download any of your attachments. Until payment is made, we do not take any of these actions. This is the difference between an inquirer and a client. Payment options are at the payment button. If you require an itemized statement of fees and costs before making payment, we will be gladly supply one. Let us know to whom the statement should be addressed along with the mailing address.

Consultation fees are not credited toward future legal work. Consultations and APRs are stand-alone value-added services for which attorney time has been expended, advice given, and fees fully earned.

Please Supply a Description of your Case

If you would like to proceed with an online consultation, we would need a concise summary of your situation. We suggest including the following in your explanation of your case:
What is this case about, briefly?
Who are the parties involved?
Where does it occur? In Texas? Which city or county?
When does it occur - what is the timeframe/timeline?
Why are you seeking legal assistance? Consultation? Document preparation?
Supporting and Background Documentation

After retaining us (not before please, since we will not yet have set up your file), please send copies of supporting documents by email or fax to (832) 201-5327. We will likely need to see these in order to thoroughly advise you. Please supply only documents that are directly relevant to your legal issues (rather than an entire hundred page title company file, for instance). A reasonableness standard applies. Handling unnecessarily large or irrelevant attachments will slow down the process and may result in our switching to our hourly rate ($350) rather than a fixed fee.

No Tax, Book Keeping, or Accounting Advice is Offered

Tax, book keeping, and accounting issues vary considerably based on the client, the transaction, and the circumstances. Mr. Willis is not a CPA or a tax attorney and does not give tax, book keeping, or accounting advice at all. We encourage you to engage and consult a qualified CPA (as part of your professional team) in order to be fully informed as to the tax and accounting implications of your proposed transaction or asset protection plan prior to implementing either one. Any comments made by Mr. Willis or appearing on our website concerning state or federal taxation are general in nature and made subject to prior review by your CPA meaning prior to your implementation of any tax-related strategies.

Terms of Service

Our complete terms of service are found at "Fees & Policies." These are non-negotiable and apply to all clients without exception in place of individual fee agreements or engagement letters, so please review them before proceeding.

Next Step

Payment of the appropriate consult fee is the next step if you would like to proceed. Secure payment options are at the "Payment" button at Paypal and Visa/Mastercard payment buttons are available. Direct deposit or wire to our Wells Fargo operating account are also options.

We look forward to being of assistance to you.

All clients are bound by website "Fees & Policies." NOTICE: No attorney-client relationship is created by our preliminary comments in response to online inquiries unless and until this firm expressly accepts the case and is monetarily retained.