Online Consultation Process and Fees
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. There are several types:
- residential real estate, investor/general business, or commercial real estate;
- an asset protection review (APR); or
- a litigation review if you currently involved in or threatened with a lawsuit.
Offering legal advice on real estate transactions and asset protection is our core business, so fees apply. We do not offer free consultations of any kind - online, by phone, or in the office.
All of our initial consultations with new clients are now efficiently handled online, by means of email Q & A, not in the office. It is not necessary to set a specific appointment time. You will find that this is a very efficient process. A supplemental phone call is available after an email discussion, if it is necessary - but it is usually not, since the email discussion usually winds up being sufficiently thorough. An additional advantage of email Q&A is that the client has a record of legal advice given.
Turn-around time on consultation questions and most document preparation projects is usually 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 three calendar days, for the convenience of the client. APRs and litigation reviews are typically more extensive and are allowed a total of two hours of attorney time. Consultations automatically conclude and any documents we may provide are automatically considered final after three calendar days.
Details Concerning Types of Consultations
The Online Consultation Process. 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 one's personal homestead): $225 for sales price or issues up to $600,000; $295 to $1.1M; $375 over $1.1M.
- Real estate investor or general business consultation: $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; $475 to $1.1M; $525 over $1.1M.
- Asset Protection Review ("APR"). The APR is a specific type of consultation. It is an analysis of circumstances and goals with specific recommendations for action in the area of asset protection. It is a good starting point if a client is uncertain about what action to take regarding a business/investment structure or defending assets against a lawsuit. 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. Beyond the foregoing general comments, we offer an asset protection review (APR) which looks into the details of your situation in order to make more specific asset protection structure recommendations. If you're uncertain as to how to proceed, an APR would likely be the best option. Fees are $525 for issues up to $600,000; $600,000 to $1.1M - $750; $1.1M to $5M - $1,500; in excess of $5M - $2,500.
- Litigation Review. For review and evaluation of pending or threatened litigation: Fees are $525 for issues up to $600,000; $600,000 to $1.1M - $750; $1.1M to $5M - $1,500; in excess of $5M - $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 two 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. (Please note that this is not a "three-day consultation." The allotted time is merely spread over three days for email Q&A after which time the consult automatically ends).
Retainer or Hourly Option. When it is clear to us that a consultation, APR, or litigation review is substantially more complex than anticipated, or will take substantially longer than expected, we may instead chose to quote an initial retainer or hourly rate. Since all cases are different, we need to reserve this flexibility.
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.
Note please that a consultation and a retainer are different concepts. A consultation is a finite, short-term discussion that occurs within the immediate time frame (which we define as three calendar days) 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. A retainer, by contrast, is intended to continue forward into the future for some mutually-agreed longer period of time.
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?
Supporting and Background Documentation
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?
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
Tax, book keeping, and accounting issues vary considerably based on the client, the transaction, and the circumstances. Our firm does not have a CPA or a tax attorney on staff, so we do 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
We strive for 100% transparency in this area. Our complete terms of service are located at "Fees & Policies" on the website. 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. Let us know if you have questions about any of our policies.
Payment of the appropriate consult fee and supplying a concise summary of your case are the next steps if you would like to proceed with a consultation.
Secure payment options are at the "Payment" button on this website. Paypal and Visa/Mastercard payment options are available. Direct deposit or wire to our Wells Fargo operating account are also available – inquire.
Thank you for your interest in our law firm. We look forward to being of assistance to you and resolving your legal issues.
OFFICE OF DAVID J. WILLIS ATTORNEY - R/E BROKER
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.