Clients hire Anne K. Wilson Law Office, PLLC for the professional service delivered for each client’s particular and unique circumstances. Although each client has different needs, having consistent policies for all clients creates efficiencies that benefit all clients. This information may answer many frequently asked questions and explains office policies.
What are your Office Hours? Generally, I am available to clients Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., excepting the noon hour, and excepting Thursdays between 11:30 and 1:30 as I am attending a standing meeting. The office also observes all major holidays.
During these hours, I may be unavailable if I am in court, in a meeting in or away from the office, or traveling.
The physical office location is “By Appointment Only.” Meeting attendees should ring the bell and wait to be greeted. To protect confidential information of all clients, no one should leave the reception area or enter any offices without being accompanied.
There may also be time set aside time every day in which I am uninterruptible, except for emergencies, so that I can focus on specific client matters and provide the best work for clients. This time of day may vary from day to day depending on my court and appointment schedule.
What’s the best way to communicate with my attorney? Email to firstname.lastname@example.org is the preferred method of communication. While I strive to return emails promptly, I may want to take the time to carefully research or just consider any question or information you may offer, so I can create a thoughtful, thorough answer. There may also be times where responses to email or phone calls are delayed as I may be in court, in transit, during my uninterrupted time, or in a meeting. Clients who do not use email may be subject to delays in receiving information and may incur additional costs. Emails or phone messages received after 5:00 p.m. will likely be addressed the next morning. Emails or phone messages received after 5:00 p.m. on Friday may not be answered until the following Monday morning.
Other Methods of Communication:
- Secure Document Delivery: The Office uses Sharefile to allow persons to deliver sensitive information through a secure portal. This portal can be accessed at https://annewilsonlaw.sharefile.com/r-r0b4a3e1c5ea4e11b
- Secure Messaging: Information that is especially sensitive can be sent by clients in a secure message via PracticePanther Client Portal (see below).
- Telephone calls: 319.775.0136 is my office number; this is not a mobile phone. A professional receptionist will answer these calls and will direct the call to me if I am available. Because this is an office phone, callers who call after hours and so are not answered must leave a voicemail message, in order for us to process the call and return it if necessary. If I am unavailable to take a call, I will be notified by the receptionist by email, so there is no need for the caller to email as well.
- Text Messages: I view text messages as a tool to send reminders of appointments and court dates, but not appropriate for substantive questions. Texting and online chatting create an expectation of an immediate reactive response instead of a thoughtful and carefully considered response. In addition, information sent in a text message isn’t automatically recorded in your file, so important information may not make it into your matter file. If you MUST send a text message, please do so only during office hours, unless it is an emergency, and only to 319.775.0136. Please do not text any information to any other number you may have for me, I will not return text messages concerning legal matters on my unsecured personal phone number.
- Mail: My mailing address is 350 Miller Road, Suite 2, Hiawatha, IA 52233.
- Fax: If it is necessary to fax something, you can send it to 319.774.3995. This is a virtual fax service, so it is “always on” and the faxes are delivered to me via email.
How Do I Make an Appointment? You can call or email the office directly to schedule an appointment, or you can schedule online at calendly.com/annewilsonlaw. If a conflict arises and you need to cancel an appointment, please call or email at least 1 hour in advance; you will not be billed for a missed appointment, but you will be billed for any work completed in preparation for the appointment (if you are under a retainer agreement). Drop-in and unscheduled appointments are not permitted. Clients and visitors may stop in to make payments or drop off or pick up documents without an appointment, however, a courtesy call or email in advance is appreciated, and may avoid arriving at the office when it is closed.
Do you offer a free consultation? No, a half-hour consultation carries a charge of $75.00. Because the time that I can spend on existing clients is valuable, I require payment so that people are discouraged from meeting with me to that are seeking free legal advice, to disqualify me from representing another party, or interviewing several attorneys without the intent to hire one. This fee can be waived once a client signs a retainer agreement and pays their required retainer within 90 days of the meeting.
Do you offer payment plans? No, I do not. I expect clients to pay a full retainer at the time of signing a retainer agreement. I also expect clients to pay their bill in full each month if it is not covered by the retainer. If they cannot, they should seek alternate forms of financing such as a bank loan, loans from family or friends, or credit card financing. This is a change in policy from prior years, however, I can no longer make exceptions to this rule. An additional retainer will also be required if the case is scheduled to go to trial.
How can I pay my bill? I accept cash, checks, money order, credit cards, and online payments. Unless authorized in the fee contract to deliver in the mail, invoices are delivered via email, and will contain a link from which you can pay online via credit or debit cards. In addition, there is a “Make Payment” page on my website, through which payments are accepted by PayPal, credit card, or ACH payments.
What is PracticePanther? PracticePanther is my law practice management program, through which I manage all aspects of client matters. One advantage to this program is the client portal, which provides clients online access to their case information. Upon opening a new matter, a client should receive an invitation to the client portal, and once set up, clients can see and pay invoices, tasks, calendar dates, view any trust account balance, and can also securely message me and upload documents. FAQs for the client portal can be found at https://support.practicepanther.com/hc/en-us/categories/201440103-Client-Portal-
How can I protect the attorney-client privilege? Understand that information shared with others be it verbally, in writing via email, text message or letter, or even posted online could lead to the loss of attorney-client privilege if that information relates to the legal matter we are handling for you. Given this, we advise all clients to not communicate with us on any device provided by your employer or any computer, smartphone, or other device shared with someone else. In addition, when communicating with us, clients should not use a shared email account, and understand that using a work email account provided by an employer could cause the loss of attorney-client privilege. Only use a private email account that is password protected and only accessed from your personal smartphone, tablet or computer.
Should I talk about my case on social media? I strongly encourage clients to not participate or curtail their presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Skype) during representation. Information found on social media websites is not private, can be discoverable, and may be potentially damaging to a client’s case. However, without first talking to me, clients should not attempt to delete any of social media accounts or posts, even if potentially damaging, as doing so can also lead to serious sanctions such as sanctions for destroying potentially relevant information.
How should I get the documents to the attorney she needs for my case?: Electronic Documents should be in .pdf format (NOT .jpeg or .gif). Clients can scan documents and email them, or upload them through Sharefile. If there is a large amount of documents in electronic form, you can provide through a USB drive. Documents sent in or dropped off in paper form will be scanned and shredded, unless we are notified the originals should be returned. Anyone dropping off documents should remove any staples before bringing them to the office. Failure to do so will cause additional charges for billable time charged by the attorney or staff to remove the staples.
Is your office “paperless”?: Yes! Or close to it. Some documents still require original (“wet”) signatures, but most other documents can be signed electronically. All new matters and re-opening of old matters in the Iowa Court System require all filings electronically through Iowa’s EDMS system. Clients will be provided copies via email of all documents for their case. Any client requesting copies to be delivered in the mail will incur additional costs for copying and postage.
How long will you keep my file? I am required to keep client files for a minimum of seven years. Old, archived files that were kept in paper are currently being converted to electronic storage. Presently, the capability exists to keep an electronic version indefinitely. Clients requesting copies of their archived file can contact our office and can retrieve either their paper file or a USB or email with their electronically stored file. Original wills, trusts, powers of attorney and certified documents are kept indefinitely.
What is a “shared office”?: Anne K. Wilson Law Office, PLLC is in a shared office environment, meaning, other tenants within the office suite are not affiliated with Anne K. Wilson Law Office, PLLC. Clients should be assured that proper measures are taken to secure confidential information from persons who not employees of the Anne K. Wilson. Clients and guests should take care to not reveal confidential information while in the common areas in the office. If there is no one at the receptionist desk, clients and guests should ring the bell and wait for assistance. To protect confidential information, please remain in the reception area until greeted.