Hey, everybody. Happy Friday from Whalen Law office. This week’s video is coming from me, Diana Wilson, the senior paralegal here at the office. I’m going to talk to you today about what to expect when you contact us to schedule a consultation. First thing, when you or a family member calls us to set up your consultation, you’ll either be speaking with myself or our new receptionist, Ana. We’ll need some pertinent information during this call. I know it seems like we will ask a lot of questions and we certainly don’t do it to be annoying. This information is very imperative to us, in order to help prepare for your meeting and so that the attorneys can give you the best legal advice possible and be completely prepared for any questions you may have. During this call, we are going to ask you things such as which county or a municipality you were either ticketed or arrested in, what your charge is.

Sometimes that can be confusing. If you don’t really know, that’s okay. Just kind of give us a rundown as to what happened, and then we can take it from there. You’ll be asked date of birth, if you’re out on any bond conditions, things of that nature. While this call can be pretty lengthy in the beginning, we do try to keep it as short as possible, but your cooperation is always very welcome and appreciated during this call. Once your consultation is scheduled and you’re ready to come in for your actual consultation with one of the attorneys, we have a few things that we like to do. First, we’ll send you an intake form and we just have you fill that out to give us an understanding of what happened in your own words. That’s very important because sometimes when consultations get going, it’s normal for people to forget things or to have things later to add onto.

With that, when you have a chance before you ever come in to tell us, write down in your own words what happened. It’s very easy for the attorneys to take that information, to gather further questions that they may want to ask you. Additionally, we ask them that when you come in for your consultation, that you bring any paperwork that you’ve received, whether that is your citation, jail paperwork, bond paperwork, anything that you’ve received about your case. We will welcome and we make copies of, and you take the originals back home with you. We never keep the originals when you come in for a consultation. Please, don’t worry that we’re going to keep your things and you can’t take them with you. We also ask that if you are not the only one who will be the deciding person, as far as who’s going to take care of your retainer, we handle a lot of juvenile cases, a lot of cases with college students, and they’re not always equipped to handle their own legal fees.

If you have someone within your family that is going to be helping you with your legal fees, if you feel comfortable with it, we always ask that you bring that person in as well to the consultation. We do understand schedules can not always be accommodated and maybe they can’t come in, but they’re available by phone. In which case, once the attorney has spoken to you, we are happy to call them in a conference call and answer any of their questions that they may have. When there are other parties involved in either deciding to hire a firm or helping pay or anything like that, it is always best, if at all possible, that they come too. If they are not able to come at the time of your consultation, that’s okay. Please, don’t think that it’s a requirement. It isn’t. We just like to be efficient and to get everyone’s questions answered as quickly as possible. When you come in, or once you retain us actually, we do what is called an open records request, where we contact the police department that has either arrested you or issued you your citation.

We do that so we can request any police reports, body cam footage, police cruiser footage, things of that nature. When we send out those requests and actually I’m the one that does that, the police departments require that we are very specific in our request, meaning I will need your date of birth, I will need the approximate time the incident happened and I will need the approximate location. Location is very important in getting the body cam footage, police departments will not release them, even if they know who you are and they do and they know what incident we’re asking for, but it is their protocol. They do not release them if we have not given this pertinent information. If at all possible prior to your consultation, make sure you know this, whether you write it down or you just know it in your head, or if it’s on your citation, then it’s already on there and we’ll get to have that. Just a heads up as to kind of what we need to get that open record request rolling to get you started.

If you have things such as a DWI, assault, family violence, things of that nature, sometimes you are arrested at the time, but your case is not yet filed. Once you retain our office, I check cases that have not been filed weekly, and I just will continue to check for your case to be filed. There are other things that we can do prior to an indictment or information or complaint being filed that the attorneys can go over with you during the consultation. For my part, I will check your case weekly and then once filed, we’ll contact you and let you know and we’ll go from there, file a letter of rep and things of that nature. That is a bit of the intake process at Whalen Law office and kind of how we run things and what we need from you while we’re doing that.

We just wanted to inform you guys of that because sometimes it seems like I’m a real pain asking for all of this. I promise it’s not my intention to be a pain. It’s just my intention to be as efficient as possible and to get your case moving efficiently as possible and to get all the evidence in our office so we can begin review. As always, if you have any questions or would like Ryne or myself to address anything in our weekly videos, just comment below. We are happy to do that in the next week’s video. Again, happy Friday and I hope everyone has a really safe weekend. Talk to you next week. Bye-bye.