May 20, 2022

5 Things to Know Before Your Attorney Consultation

If you’re experiencing a family law matter, you’ve likely spent a lot of time researching the issue and perhaps the type of law firm you’d like to work with during this journey. Michael & Russell, PLLC is proud to be the first collaborative family law firm in the Wilmington area.

Our attorneys, Ashley Michael and Ashley-Nicole Russell, are committed to providing family law services to southeastern North Carolina. To us, our clients and their families come first. We keep you and your family’s interests and wellbeing at the forefront of the work we do.

If you believe that our firm would be a good fit for you for your family law needs, we encourage you to reach out to our office to set up a consultation. Here are five things to keep in mind before scheduling your initial consultation with Michael & Russell.

Research different types of law

When looking at divorce, there are several process options in North Carolina. At Michael & Russell, we focus on handling cases out-of-court; however, if necessary, we can also represent you in court-related matters. Keep in mind that most family and juvenile law issues do not necessitate litigation and most can be resolved through collaborative law, mediation, consent orders, and contracts through negotiation. This can often be handled without court involvement or with very little judicial intervention.

During your consultation, we will explain the various legal options and determine which best fit your personality, budget, and familial needs. While we will discuss these options together, we also recommend that you do some research prior to our meeting. To learn more about collaborative law and its benefits, we recommend visiting online resources with North Carolina Collaborative Attorney Network (NC-CAN) and Coastal Collaborative Colleagues. Ashley and Ashley-Nicole are both founding board members for NC-CAN and Ashley is a founding member of Coastal Collaborative Colleagues.

Prepare to be open and honest

During your consultation, we will be open and honest with you. Likewise, it’s important for you to be open and honest with us too. Bring detailed information about your case and let us know what you hope to accomplish during the legal process. We also need to know everything significant upfront rather than discovering this information later when going through documents or in future discussions. This will not only help us represent you as best as possible but it will also move the process along more smoothly and efficiently. Based on this information, we will be able to provide an accurate description for legal services needed and provide a clear path forward for your case.

Gather necessary documents

Once you schedule your consultation, start gathering documents that are related to your case. This includes any past court documents, contracts, agreements, or any other relevant information pertaining to your legal matter. We will also ask that you fill out intake paperwork prior to our meeting. The information gathered through this document will be used to provide a thorough consultation and to ensure that we have the information necessary to meet your needs.

During your consultation, we will go over these documents and use them to best understand your priorities and goals. After background information is collected, we will explain legal definitions, court procedure, and the basics of North Carolina law. We will also provide information to help you make informed decisions about moving forward. Our attorneys will help you prepare for what to expect in terms of actions that we may need to take.

Trust that it will be confidential

Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to our legal team at Michael & Russell. During your consultation, all information shared with our staff will be considered confidential. We understand and respect your desire to maintain privacy and discretion during family law cases. These matters are often sensitive in nature, and it our commitment to maintain confidentiality. Even if you do not choose to move forward with hiring Michael & Russell for your legal needs, we will still keep your information confidential.

Be aware of the consultation fee

When you reach out to our office to schedule your consultation, you will talk with our legal staff. They will run a conflict check to ensure that we can meet with you to discuss your legal concerns. If we are able to meet with you, you will be advised of the consultation fee. This is a one-time, flat fee which is the attorney’s hourly billing rate. This payment must be made in order to secure the appointment. This flat-fee covers the time of the consultation and the legal team’s preparation for the meeting.

At the end of your initial consultation, we will provide you with a financial quote for services which would either involve a flat billing rate, a bundled billing rate for a budget conscious client, or an hourly billing rate for attorney and paralegal. Our attorneys will also discuss a cost-benefit analysis for legal services focusing on what the legal advice would entail.


When you work with Michael & Russell, PLLC, you can trust that we are committed to serving you and your family with compassion and empathy. Through our New Hanover County office on Oleander Drive, we are dedicated to providing family law services to all of southeastern North Carolina. In addition, our attorneys can represent families across North Carolina with adoption and collaborative law processes, mediation, and settlement negotiation that can be handled in a virtual setting.

If you’re interested in scheduling a consultation with Michael & Russell, we would be honored to discuss this with you in more detail. Please reach out to our Wilmington-based legal team at 910-255-5722 to learn more about scheduling a confidential and private consultation for your family law needs.