Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I afford an attorney?
The answer is probably “yes” or more likely, can I afford to not hire an attorney? For most legal matters, you are disadvantaged without the assistance of an attorney, especially if the other party has an attorney – which could mean that it will cost you more in the long run without an attorney looking out for your legal best interest.
2. What is Flat Fee Service?
Hiring an attorney can be expensive. To assist with financing legal issues, Eagle Law Offices, P.S. offers flat fee services. Flat fees are, in most instances, a good way to save our client money on their legal fees. Rather than pay an attorney a billable hourly rate, the flat fee is a one-time payment for all legal services covered per the flat fee agreement. In other words, the client knows his or her fee and need not worry about a legal bill every month. Most flat fee duration (the time the law firm agrees to represent the client) ranges from sixty to ninety days.
At Eagle Law Offices, P.S., affordable representation and access to justice are important goals. Eagle Law Offices, P.S. will analyze each legal matter and determine a reasonable economic expectation for the case. Additionally, clients are provided an easy to read monthly statement showing precisely what the attorney or paralegal did and for how long. Eagle Law Offices, P.S. accepts most major credit card and checks.
3. Why hire an attorney?
At Eagle Law Offices, P.S., Mr. Eagle brings 22 years of experience into the courtroom. He goes out of his way to explain the process and possible outcomes, prepares for almost any conceivable scenario and zealously advocates the positions of his clients. Although some describe Eagle Law Offices, P.S. as aggressive, Mr. Eagle thinks of himself as a passionate attorney entrusted to accomplish the legal goals of his clients.
4. How much does an attorney cost?
At Eagle Law Offices, P.S. the fees for representation vary according to the legal need. In other words, not all divorces cost the same, as each is unique and each requires different representation. Additionally, not all criminal matters require the exact same amount of work.
For criminal matters, Eagle Law Offices, P.S. distinguishes its fee structure between misdemeanors/gross misdemeanors and felonies. For most misdemeanors/gross misdemeanors, a flat fee is charged to the client for all of the attorney’s services up to and through the completion of the first pre-trial. Most misdemeanors/gross misdemeanors are resolved at or before the pretrial stage. For felonies, Eagle Law Offices, P.S. will determine an appropriate retainer (this is the amount of money you pay the office in advance of the representation) dependent upon the unique facts of each case.
For domestic matters (family law), Eagle Law Offices, P.S. will assess a retainer consistent with the complexity of the issues in the case. For example, a divorce without children and with little to no debt to divide will be less expensive than a divorce where custody of children is at stake.
5. Where do I park?
There is ample parking in downtown Seattle. Some parking lots are more expensive than others. The least expensive parking is metered parking on the streets. If your appointment with Eagle Law Offices, P.S. will be for less than an hour, this will be your best option. At 5th & Seneca, there is a garage called “The Olympic Garage.” There, parking is relatively inexpensive and less than most other garages in the vicinity. Finally, at 1001 Fourth Avenue, the building where Eagle Law Offices, P.S. is located, there is a garage in the basement. However, this is an expensive parking garage. Eagle Law Offices, P.S. does not validate parking.
6. Is there really such a thing as an “uncontested divorce?”
Yes, but they seem to be rare these days. Many people think they have an uncontested divorce or other family law matter, but then find out the “devil is in the details.” However, it is just as true that the fewer legal issues within a divorce, the less expensive it will be. In other words, a husband and wife are in agreement on custody of children, but disagree on division of debts. Their divorce will be less expensive than a divorce with both these issues “in the mix.” The fewer the issues, the fewer the hours the attorney will charge to the client.
7. If I am charged with a crime, what is the difference between a public defender and a private attorney?
A public defender is an attorney appointed by the court to represent a defendant (a person charged with a crime) at little to no expense. According to the Constitution, for criminal matters, all people have the right to an attorney and one will be appointed at State expense if one cannot afford an attorney. This is a fundamental constitutional right embedded within the framework and fabric of our nation’s legal history.
If you cannot afford an attorney, Eagle Law Offices, P.S. strongly encourages defendants to apply for a public defender.
Not all defendants will be appointed a public defender, despite asking for one. Each court has its own application process for obtaining a public defender – usually the screening process is limited to scrutiny of the financial resources of the defendant. Although the defendant may think he or she does not make enough to hire a private attorney, the court may disagree. The bottom line is that a defendant should apply for a public defender to determine if the court will appoint one.
If the court does not appoint the defendant with a public defender, he or she will be required to either hire (retain) an attorney or represent him or herself. If the defendant is faced with this decision, Eagle Law Offices, P.S. strongly encourages hiring a private attorney. Although a defendant may choose to represent him or herself in most criminal matters, this decision is usually not a good one. A trained prosecutor will represent the government and the advantages to the State in this scenario. Would you go into an IRS audit without a CPA?
8. What should I do if I absolutely cannot afford an attorney?
For family law matters, most counties provide Family Law Facilitators for litigants not represented by counsel. This is an excellent resource. Eagle Law Offices, P.S. encourages people who cannot afford an attorney to avail themselves of the family law facilitators.
9. Can I discuss my matter with an attorney at Eagle Law Offices, P.S. for free?
Yes, for a preliminary consult and assessment of the legal matter, an attorney will talk with you on the phone at no charge – as long as it is scheduled in his calendar. Eagle Law Offices, P.S. encourages you to call and coordinate an appointment. Sometimes, if there is something that can be before hiring an attorney, we will gladly point it out.
10. If my spouse has an attorney, can I work with him or her, too?
Attorneys owe a fiduciary duty to their clients. As such, attorneys are required to think primarily for the legal interests of their clients. They cannot provide legal advice to both sides of a lawsuit. Although an attorney is required to interact with the opposing party if he or she is representing himself or herself, he does not owe a fiduciary duty to the opposing party. As a result, it is generally not a good idea to work with the opposing party’s attorney without consulting with your own independent attorney.
11. How long will my divorce take from start to finish?
In Washington, if everything is agreed to, a divorce will take at least 90 days from start to finish. A 90-day “cooling off” period is required under state law before a divorce can be finalized.
If everything is not agreed to, the divorce will stay open or stay pending until such time as there is resolution of all matters. If there is no resolution, a divorce will terminate in a trial. Each county in Washington is unique in the way it schedules divorce trials. In King County, for example, because of the number of cases, it can be over a year before a divorce trial begins. In other counties it may not take as long.
*Nothing in these questions or answers is to be construed as legal advice to any particular legal matter. These questions and answers are meant to provide general information and, like all legal concerns, your specific question should be discussed with an attorney. The answers provided are subject to change without notice and are not meant to be construed as dispositive of the question presented. In some instances, more than one answer may apply to a question.