Do I need an attorney? Ironically, the best way to get that question answered is by meeting with an attorney! We can tell you that Mr. Sutton has handled many cases over the years, which would have been solved early on, and much less expensively had the parties sought legal advice.
How will I be charged if I meet with Mr. Sutton? Mr. Sutton charges by the hour and the current hourly rate will be provided to you when you call our office. The time that you meet with Mr. Sutton will be broken down in tenths of an hour and you will be charged accordingly. For example, at a $200 per hour hourly rate a meeting for half of an hour (.5) would be $100. For new clients, payments are due at the conclusion of the appointment. No credit card payments are accepted.
What is a retainer fee? A retainer fee is an advance payment by a client to an attorney for legal work that the attorney is being hired to perform. These fees are deposited in an attorney’s “trust account” and drawn against as the attorney fees are billed. If the case is completed prior to the expenditure of the full retainer, then the balance is refunded to the client.
Does Mr. Sutton require retainer fees? Mr. Sutton typically does not require retainer fees from established clients unless the case involves a very substantial time commitment up front. However, it is Mr. Sutton’s practice to require retainer fees of new clients in the amount of estimated attorney fees necessary to perform the requested legal work or at least the first phase of the legal work.
Why can’t I get legal advice as a new client without an appointment? There are a series of procedures that must take place before Mr. Sutton can talk to a new client. Primarily, this includes checking to make sure that our office does not have a conflict of interest involving your dispute and that appropriate arrangements are made to ensure payment. This is why most attorneys do not get on the phone with you right away when you call in for the first time. Our office does schedule phone appointments with some new clients who are out of state, but we first make sure there is no conflict of interest and that the payment for the phone appointment is received in advance.
What is a conflict of interest? This would typically be a situation in which your attorney was representing the party on the other side of your dispute. It could also be a situation where the attorney had rendered legal advice to this person regarding the same matter. In certain circumstances, it could also include a situation where the attorney had previously represented this person on a different matter. Attorneys are prohibited by ethical rules from handling cases in which they would have a conflict of interest, although in some situations this can be waived by consent of both parties after full disclosure by the attorney.
Can Mr. Sutton help me resolve a case without filing a lawsuit? This is often the most cost effective and satisfying way to bring a dispute to an end. As such, it is Mr. Sutton’s general practice to send a notice or letter to the opposing party to give them an opportunity to resolve a legal dispute prior to filing a lawsuit. Exceptions exist when a statute of limitations is about to lapse, when timing is critical, or when the client has already exhausted efforts towards resolution. Even after a lawsuit is filed, opportunities exist for working out settlement agreements that would end the litigation. The client, and not the attorney, is the one that makes the decision as to whether to settle a case or continue litigation.
What is ADR and arbitration? “ADR” is an acronym for alternative dispute resolution. The most common form of this is “arbitration” in which another attorney is selected to act as the judge for a case. The case is then decided at a hearing in a private office or other location rather than the courtroom. Both parties still get the chance to present their case and witnesses, but the idea is that arbitration is often a faster and less expensive process. Mediation is another form of ADR in which a neutral third party tries to work out a settlement agreement between the parties. In Jackson County, ADR is mandatory for all monetary cases in which there is less than $50,000 in dispute.
Is Mr. Sutton an aggressive attorney? Some litigants are looking for the meanest, nastiest gun-slinging attorney who will go out of his way to make life miserable for the opposing party and the other attorney. However, Mr. Sutton does not believe that is the model for effective or ethical legal representation. So if that is the type of attorney you are looking for, you should probably look elsewhere. With that said, Mr. Sutton does have a reputation as an aggressive attorney who actively seeks to enforce the rights of his clients. But he strives to accomplish this in a way he hopes is both ethical and professional. He has found this to be very effective.
The materials contained on this website are provided for your general information only and should not be construed as legal advice.
This website is not a solicitation of legal business. Mr. Sutton is one of a number of qualified attorneys in this area and we would be more than happy to provide a referral to you of a different attorney.
You may also find an attorney by contacting the Oregon State Bar's Lawyer Referral Service at 1.800.452.7636.