A kickoff meeting is the time where you and your legal team meet, usually for the first time, and discuss your options. Work is done before, during, and after kickoff meetings. And although all clients and cases are different, there are some general features of Pacific Northwest Family Law kickoff meetings that are typically present every time. Those similarities are identified below, and after reading them, you will have a good idea of what to expect for your Pacific Northwest Family Law client kickoff.
First, there are some preliminary matters and scheduling issues coordinated between you and the paralegal assigned to your case before the kickoff. Kickoffs almost always occur at one of our offices, but we are able to conduct them through other mediums if need be. Kickoffs usually last between 45 minutes and 90 minutes and include your attorney, your paralegal, and you. It is not advisable to bring someone with you because it will impact your client confidentiality. If you would like someone there to support you even though it will impact your confidentiality, that would a good topic to discuss with the paralegal while you are scheduling the kickoff. Another topic to discuss will be what documents to bring, if any, any the best methods for sharing them with us. It is also a good idea for you and the paralegal to make sure all of your contact information is current. Often times, clients reach out to us during transition periods and contact information changes. So it is a good idea for both your paralegal and you to make sure information is current.
Second, your legal team prepares for the meeting. Your legal team will usually discuss your case, the case notes, and identify potentially legal issues in advance. Even where advanced preparation is not possible (e.g., last minute scheduling, emergencies, confidentiality concerns, etc.), the attorney will be prepared to discuss the application of law to your situation and discuss the risks and benefits to particular actions with your family’s needs in mind. The bulk of this preparation usually occurs just before the kickoff so that your legal team is efficient, cost-effective, and focused for at the kickoff.
Third, the primary focus of the first half of the kickoff is learning about you and your family’s unique situation. To accomplish that goal, the attorney will likely discuss your attorney-client privilege, set an agenda, and then ask you to tell your story. After listening to everything you have to say, the attorney will probably ask some follow-up questions to make sure his or her idea of your case is accurate. At this stage, the attorney will strive to understand not just your legal situation, but also the mental, emotional, financial, and specific components of your family. Although Pacific Northwest Family Law attorneys are only here to give you legal advice, often, your legal goals can be accomplished in many different ways and the more we know about your situation, the better we can craft options specifically tailored to fit you and your family. We strive to preserve families, rather than tear them apart – even during dissolutions and child custody disputes.
Fourth, the second half of the kickoff is about creating a plan tailored to your unique situation. This part of the kickoff varies greatly, but there are some similarities. Your attorney will present options and discuss the risk and benefits of each. You and your attorney will work together to create a plan moving forward. After a tentative plan has been agreed to, the attorney will set expectations for the next few days. Those expectations often, but not always, include the following: the creation of what we call a strategic case plan, a date by which you will receive the strategic case plan, and an expectation of what will occur if you agree or disagree with the strategic case plan. We prefer not to engage in any significant work until you, the client, and us, the law firm, have aligned expectations and an agreed plan about how to proceed. That alignment is memorialized by the strategic case plan. Once you agree, we begin work.