P.O. Box 77185
Colorado Springs, CO 80970-7185
Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney Steven Visser

Hiring an Attorney

Please click the arrows to the right of each question to reveal the answer.

Why am I being asked to pay for a consultation?
Attorneys make a living by charging for their time.  Free consultations are really a myth.  There is a cost regardless.  The cost to an attorney is that he or she is not being paid for the free time spent with you.  You, as the prospective client, may have to take unpaid time off of work to meet with the attorney.  The bottom line is that you are being asked to pay for a consultation and compensate the attorney for his time so that you can get your questions answered, decide whether or not you want to hire that particular attorney, and leave the consultation with more knowledge than you had before about your particular legal matter.  A consultation with an attorney should not be perceived as a method by which to obtain free information or free legal advice.  Rather, you, as the prospective client, should view a consultation as a process by which you can obtain information you did not have before and also decide if the attorney you are consulting with is the right one for you.
Why can’t I just represent myself?
Choosing to be your own attorney or representing yourself “pro se” is a decision you have to make yourself.  I have had this question asked many times over the years I have practiced law, and my answer to that question has not changed.  It is never a good idea. Attorneys spend many years in school and then many more years after that gaining more knowledge, training, and experience so that they can effectively represent clients.  Attorneys make mistakes while they are learning, which is a never ending process.  A pro se party will not have the luxury of learning from mistakes, as those mistakes could be costly ones.  It is difficult (almost impossible) to completely list everything that could go wrong with self-representation.  The two primary mistakes a pro se party makes are: (a) a crucial step(s) in the process is missed or omitted entirely, usually occurring because a pro se party is not familiar with the many rules that are required to be followed in a legal action.  The standard in the state of Colorado regarding pro se parties is you are held to the same standard as a licensed practicing attorney in this state; in other words, you are supposed to know all the rules and know what to do at every step of the process, and (b) allowing emotions to get in the way.  Legal matters are time consuming and if you are a party, there will be an emotional component to your legal matter that you cannot escape.  A true professional will not let emotions get in the way of objective legal representation.
Ok, I will just consult with multiple attorneys, get all my questions answered for free, and then go represent myself. How does that sound?
Again, a bad idea. Remember the myth of the free consultation. Another point about consultations is actual time spent. Most consultations take about half hour to an hour of actual time. The first 10-15 minutes of the consultation is usually spent filling out the Attorney’s initial intake form. The attorney is trying to find out more about who you are and what you may need in regards to legal assistance. Depending upon how much of the attorney’s time you scheduled, that may leave you with about 15-30 minutes to explain your situation to that attorney and get some questions answered. Also remember that at some point during this consultation, the attorney is going to want to explain how much is charged per hour, what the retainer will be for representation, and what can possibly be accomplished for your particular legal matter.
My divorce, child custody matter, parenting time issue or family law matter is really simple, so I don’t really need an attorney . . . right?
There is no such thing as an easy or simple legal matter. Some cases are less complicated and/or less time consuming than others, but the legal system is just as complex and complicated as it was before your legal issues arose.
The other party has an attorney. Does that mean I need one?
Absolutely. The other party hired an attorney to represent his or her interests – not yours. If you want your legal interests represented, then hiring your own attorney will be the best decision you can make.
Can one attorney represent both parties?
Generally, no. This question can arise in a divorce matter where both spouses believe they are getting along and want to save money by having just one lawyer represent both of them. The problem with this approach is it gives rise to many issues. First, the attorney/client relationship is supposed to be one of confidentiality, which is almost impossible to maintain when there are two clients represented by one attorney in the same matter. Second, a conflict of interest can arise because the parties in a legal matter are technically adversaries, and the parties’ interests cannot be represented effectively by a single attorney. The policy of this office is that I will not, under any circumstances, represent more than one party in a family law matter.
I've represented myself for quite some time. My final hearing is 2 weeks away, and I realize I need an attorney. Can I hire you to finish up my case?
Yes. However, there will be conditions. My office will need to check my availability for your final hearing to see if my schedule can accommodate your case including preparation time. Next, you would need to schedule an appointment to meet with me as soon as possible and have all current documentation available for review. Other details such as the status of your case, what has or has not been completed yet, and any other matters would need to be discussed during the consultation.
Why are attorneys so expensive?
Attorneys bill for their time based upon hourly rates. When you hire an attorney, you normally provide that attorney with a retainer, which is a sum of funding for good faith services to be rendered. That attorney will deposit that funding in a Trust Account under your name, and bill against that retainer on an hourly rate basis. You may have to provide additional funding to that attorney upon request as the legal matter progresses. As the attorney spends time on your particular matter based upon an hourly rate, it adds up over time and can be considered “expensive.” As a general proposition, legal matters are expensive, but if you take your time and hire the right attorney for you, it is money well spent. Most clients do not realize this point until after their case is over, and they have had an opportunity to consider what their case would have been like or the results obtained had they attempted it on their own without counsel.
What do you charge to represent someone?
Hourly rates and retainer amount quotes are not provided over the phone or via this website. Since each person’s legal matter is unique and circumstances vary, providing rates and fee quotes without first consulting with the prospective client is not very effective or accurate. Amounts and rates could change based upon the complexity of a person’s legal matter or financial circumstances; therefore, please contact my office to schedule an appointment if you are interested in what may be charged for your particular legal matter.
Another attorney I spoke with charges less per hour and/or requires a lower retainer than you do. Will you negotiate or beat that lawyer’s prices?
No. I would probably simply recommend that you hire the less expensive attorney. Just keep in mind that the cheapest does not necessarily mean the best. You do, as a general rule, get what you pay for when it comes to legal representation.
Do you take payments or offer payment plans or discounts?
Yes. For example, I will give discounts to members of the military. I will also provide discounts or give consideration to specific financial circumstances of prospective clients. Payment plans are also extended, but the specifics of your financial circumstances or what you may be looking for would need to be discussed with me personally.
What guarantees can you offer me so that my legal matter goes my way?
There are no guarantees regarding legal representation. The analogy I often use for this question is hiring an attorney is not like buying a car. Unlike buying a car, there is no warranty when you a hire an attorney and things don’t go your way. Any attorney who tells you that he or she can guarantee a particular result is not being truthful with you, and you should not hire that attorney.
Will you fight or be aggressive for me?
In the fantasy world of television and cable reality shows, legal issues are wrapped up in about an hour including the commercials. In a fantasy courtroom, pounding your fist on the table and yelling at the opposing counsel or Judge results in a win for that lawyer only because it was pre-written in the script. In the real world, engaging in such behavior is usually viewed as unprofessional and while it may appear to you that the lawyer was fighting for you, he or she was really just putting on a show for you, the client, to make it appear that way. I have personally witnessed such unprofessional behavior, and that person received less than what was expected because the Court did not reward the lawyer for the aggressive behavior; that client paid the price. Being aggressive and fighting about issues normally takes more time and money. Generally, there are other options, such as mediation, that can be utilized to resolve an issue in a more timely and cost effective manner. Although there are attorneys that are eager to bring each and every issue before the Court, it is often used as a way to increase their client’s bill by charging more money. Effective advocacy, attention to details, and proper selection of issues to dispute is a much better approach. I will do my best to make sure that every legal issue you have is addressed, but I will do so in a professional and ethical manner.

I have decided to pay for a consultation with your office. What do I do now?
The next step is to place a phone call to my office. Please leave a detailed message for me if you need to do so including a phone number. I make every attempt to return voicemails with 24-48 hours or two (2) business days. You may also contact me via e-mail at stevelawmail@yahoo.com. The process will then proceed as follows:

  • My office will schedule a consultation appointment for you. Normally, 1 hour of time is scheduled. Please indicate whether you believe you will need more than an hour for the consultation.
  • Be prepared to discuss your legal situation including any questions you may have for me. Having a pre-prepared list of questions will be helpful.
  • Please bring with you any documentation, records, court paperwork and the like that may be relevant to the legal matter so that I may review it with you.
  • Be prepared to answer any questions I may have for you regarding your legal matter.
  • Be prepared to discuss any financial matters you would like for me to consider regarding hourly rates, retainers, and payment arrangements or plans.
  • Consultations with my office are confidential; therefore, you and I will be meeting privately regarding your particular legal matter. You are welcome to bring someone with you to the consultation, but that person will have to wait in my waiting area.
  • Please do not bring children to your consultation. While I do advocate for the best interests of children, they are not to be involved in meetings where adult issues are discussed, and I would hope that you would not want an attorney to discuss adult issues in front of children.



Colorado Springs Family Law Attorney Steven Visser
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