Working with a Paralegal at Surratt Law Practice

First, what is a paralegal? According to the National Federation of Paralegal Associations, a paralegal or legal assistant “is a person qualified through education, training or work experience to perform substantive legal work that requires knowledge of legal concepts and is customarily, but not exclusively, performed by a lawyer.”

Paralegals assist attorneys by working with clients not only to help speed the process of getting things accomplished, but by performing duties at a lower hourly rate, they are able to pass valuable savings on to their client.

A prime function of a paralegal assisting in family law is working with clients to obtain facts regarding their matter.  Some paralegal duties in family law include but are not limited to: preparing documents, contracts, agreements, completing questionnaire forms, arranging for service of documents, obtaining dates for court hearings, calendaring deadlines, assisting clients in preparation of mandatory case disclosure forms which include monthly income, expense, and other financial information.

Paralegals act as a liaison between the attorney and the client in every aspect of a case except the actual where to buy proscar uk practice of law, consultations, and court proceedings.  As a client you will  work closely with a paralegal.  Family law paralegals deal with joyous matters such as adoptions and guardianships and not so joyous matters such as divorce and custody matters on a daily basis and treat each client individually and with respect.

Your first meeting at Surratt Law Practice will be a consultation with an attorney to discuss your matter.  After your consultation you will be introduced to the attorney’s paralegal, who will be your main contact with our office.  Paralegals cannot give you any legal advice but will talk with you regarding your situation and relay that information to your attorney to expedite getting you the answers that you need.  You can be assured that all information disclosed either to the attorney, paralegal or other staff members at Surratt Law Practice will be held in strict confidence.

We look forward to working with you to make your family law matter go as smooth as possible.

Conflict of Interest and Referrals

At times, both members of a couple want to employ the same law firm to assist them in specific legal needs, examples are estate planning and adoptions.  Such representation is more efficient in these examples.  However, the Rules of Professional Conduct limit our ability to represent multiple clients with respect to the same transaction.  We cannot represent multiple clients who have conflicting interests without their informed written consent.  Even if there is no apparent conflict, multiple clients must be advised of any actual or reasonably foreseeable adverse effects that might arise from such multiple representations.

If for any reason, I were to take on dual representation, ie both adopting parents or both spouses for an estate plan, I cannot take sides; I must be impartial.  Each person is entitled to my unbiased services and to all knowledge that I have about their entire matter.  In short, I cannot represent one party to the detriment of the other.  I believe that the following adverse effects are reasonably foreseeable and arise from our representation of both parties:

1.  If we represent both of you, each of you will be our client with respect to the same transaction. In that case, matters that one client might discuss with the lawyer are not protected by the attorney/client privilege from disclosure to the other client.  The Rules prohibit us from agreeing with either of you to withhold information from the other. Of course, anything either of you discusses with us is privileged from disclosure to third parties.

2.  If the two of you have a difference of opinion concerning your proposed representation, we can point out the pros and cons of such where to buy proscar online differing opinions. The Rules prohibit us, as the lawyers for both of you, from advocating one of your positions over the other.

3.  If conflicts do arise between the two of you of such a nature that it is impossible in our judgment to perform our obligations to each of you it would become necessary for us to withdraw as your joint attorney and to advise one or both of you to obtain independent counsel.

3.  If conflicts do arise between the two of you of such a nature that it is impossible in our judgment to perform our obligations to each of you in accordance with this letter, it would become necessary for us to withdraw as your joint attorney and to advise one or both of you to obtain independent counsel.

In a high majority of matters joint representation is inappropriate or we can not represent a party due to a conflict of interest.  When this happens and Surratt Law Practice can not represent you, we have two firms that we highly recommend for family law in Reno, Nevada:

Luna Law Firm

Beth Luna

www.thelunalawfirm.com

775-786-2490

OR

Routsis Hardy-Cooper

Sarah Hardy-Cooper

www.routsishardycoooper.com

775-785-9116

These professionals are recommended by Surratt Law Practice in an effort to better serve our clients.  We cannot guarantee the quality of the work, product or service they provide.  However, we have had positive experiences with each of these professionals.  Please make sure you interview and screen any professional you may meet with before using their services.  When you contact them, please let them know we referred you and let us know of your experiences

Filling Out Financial Disclosure Forms in your Nevada Family Law Case

In most divorce and custody cases in Nevada, each party must file a document called a “Financial Disclosure Form.”  This can be a very important document in your case.

Nevada Rule of Civil Procedure 16.2 requires this form be filed and served no later than forty-five (45) days after the service of the summons and complaint in a divorce, annulment or separate maintenance action.  Unmarried parties filing a custody action where paternity is established need only file and serve the cover sheet, the “personal income schedule” and the “business income / expense schedule” portions of the form.  This Financial Disclosure Form must also be filed and served by the responding party with any response or answer to such action.  You must also be sure to update this document if there are any changes.

In helping our clients who are involved in family law matters fill out Financial Disclosure Forms, we have found the following check list helpful:

  1. Take the time to fill out the Financial Disclosure Form completely and to the best of your ability.
  2. Do not simply place an item in the separate property section because you think it should be your separate property.  Make sure you discuss with your attorney why you think it belongs under separate property versus community property.   Whether something is separate or community in nature is governed by specific Nevada law.
  3. The itemized buy proscar online australia expenses on the Personal Expense Schedule must be completed, even if you must write “not applicable” or “n/a.” When filling out expense section, look carefully at each sub-category, taking the time to fill in the applicable area.  In other words, when you arrive at a total on the right-hand side of the schedule, you should be able to show how you arrived at the total.  Similarly, the itemized expenses under all categories within the Financial Disclosure Form must be completed, even if you must write “not applicable” or “n/a.”
  4. Do not guess at your expenses or “throw out” numbers without knowledge.  You must be able to prove every single number/expense you are claiming in your Financial Disclosure Form.  In other words, if you do not possess a bill or bank statement proving the expense, or you are unable to obtain a document proving the expense, then you should think twice before you include it in your financial disclosure form.  Inform your attorney if there is any item you feel you must include as an expense, which you are unable to prove.
  5. Please obtain and maintain all of your records, which support or prove the sworn declarations you are making in your Financial Disclosure Form.  Please provide copies of all documents supporting your declarations/numbers/calculations at the same time you deliver your completed Financial Disclosure Form to your attorney.  If you represent yourself, be prepared to disclose all of the supporting information and provide this to the Court as required by Nevada’s discovery and evidence rules.

Finally, you should always be truthful.  When the form is signed and filed, you are certifying to the Court that you provided the information to the best of your knowledge after reasonable inquiry.  This form has important legal consequences, so, take the time to fill it out carefully and consider each of your answers.  A “fillable” Financial Disclosure Form is available in this website – www.familylawselfhelpcenter.org. While the instruction sheet on this website applies more specifically to Clark County, Nevada, you can nevertheless use the form itself in all applicable Nevada family law matters that require the form to be filed.

Melissa L. Exline

Nothing on this website should be construed as creating an attorney client relationship. Unless and until you sign a written retainer with our office, we will not act as a lawyer on your behalf. There is no guarantee that any information provided by a visitor to this website will be kept confidential. None of the information provided on this website is intended as legal advice to any specific person. All cases are different and even through this website does in some instances provide useful information about legal concept and principles, nothing stated here is intended to provide legal advice to any visitor to this website. No information provided here will prevent us from representing a client whose interests are adverse to yours. We invite you to contact us, and we welcome your calls, letters and emails. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.