Client Communication Policy
CARESS LAW, PC
We take a client-focused approach and communication with
our clients that is critical to our success.
Our desire is to make it as convenient as possible to respond to our clients’ needs and concerns in a timely manner. To maintain a functional and efficient practice, most activities in our attorneys’ day are scheduled ahead of time to ensure that they have their full attention. This includes phone calls with clients. Our well-trained staff can handle most routine matters and inquiries. If your issue requires speaking with an attorney directly, then it is usually more efficient to schedule a phone conference or send a short email. This avoids the time wasted playing phone tag and means that you will get the attorneys’ undivided attention (and not just a quick second in between meetings). Scheduled calls will take precedent over returning messages and voicemails from unscheduled calls.
Usually, a staff member will be able to address your concerns and provide the information you request. Feel free to discuss your concerns with any of the staff at Caress Law. Your call will be held in the strictest confidence. Our team will do their best to assist you. If your call requires a lawyer, your message will be passed on to the attorney for a prompt reply.
Our attorneys are superb time-managers and must structure their days carefully so that each matter gets the attention it deserves. For those calls requiring urgent action by an attorney, the attorney will make every effort to return your call on the same day; however, there are times when the attorney is unable to respond quickly due to client appointments, seminars, or out-of-office meetings. The staff will do their best to inform you of these times. Please be patient and know that some client matters require uninterrupted and continuous attention, and the attorney will occasionally be unavailable for extended periods while handing such a matter, just as she will be unavailable to other clients when she is handling your important matters. We appreciate your understanding when such times arise.
Methods of Communication
Like many law firms, we communicate via telephone, videoconference, fax, text messages, and email. We will request your preferred communication method when we open your matter and will do our best to communicate with you via that method, absent circumstances requiring a different form of communication.
We do not communicate with clients via social media. In addition, we do have the ability to communicate with clients outside of the United States on various international communication platforms, as necessary.
We encourage our clients to take advantage of email communication to relay information; however, if such communication entails many questions, or requires more than a quick response, our office will instead schedule a telephone call or meeting to answer your questions. In order to ensure your email reaches the right people, and is handled in a timely manner, we request that all clients email firstname.lastname@example.org. While you may email a lawyer, paralegal, or staff member directly, we ask that you copy email@example.com on all such emails.
We will respond to emails in the order they are received and based on the urgency of the matter. We will respond to all email communications within two (2) business days. If an email is sent after 4 pm PT, the email will be considered as arriving the next business day.
If you have an emergency, we ask that you call Client Services directly at (503) 292-8990.
Depending on the content of the email, our office may ask you to schedule a telephone appointment if doing so would be more efficient than responding with a lengthy email or series of emails. All emails will be billed the same as phone calls and are treated with no more urgency than other communication methods.
Telephone Calls and Voicemail
Telephone conferences and calls can often by the most efficient way to address your questions or discuss your matter. Clients may reach out to our Client Services Representative or a paralegal directly by phone.
We ask that you schedule all telephone conferences and calls with attorneys. This will ensure that you have adequate time to speak with the attorney and do not feel rushed. You may schedule a conference with our attorneys by contacting Client Services and scheduling by phone or by using our Calendly link, which allows you to schedule electronically.
We will respond to all voicemails in the order they are received and based on the urgency of the matter. We will respond to all voicemails on the same day unless left after 4 pm. If a voicemail is left after 4 pm PT, the voicemail will be considered as arriving the next business day.
Please keep in mind that you will be charged for your contact with our office, including telephone calls, voicemail, and email. Your call may be directed first to an assistant or paralegal. If the purpose of your telephone call is to obtain specific information or provide information, that contact can be with my assistant or paralegal. This will save you money. It is also helpful to organize yourself before your call and make sure you have all the information you need for the telephone call. Also, consider taking notes during meetings and telephone calls to avoid contacting our office again for the same information. This will also save you money.
If your call is answered by voicemail during normal business hours chances are that all lines were busy; however, we promptly check and monitor our voicemails during business hours.
When leaving a voicemail message, it is very helpful to us, and in your financial interest, to leave as detailed a message as possible, including the purpose of your call.
Reiterating emergency calls and messages – When you have an urgent question or concern, please call our office. Our staff will always know who is available to help at any given time. Please do not use email in these circumstances, as we may not receive the message quickly enough to help you.
Short Message Service (SMS) – Text Messaging
How to Send Us Information and Documents
Any time you are giving the lawyer a collection of documents (court documents or financial documents, for example), it is in your financial interest to put those documents in chronological order first and to prepare an index of the material you are giving us. If you do this, it will reduce the work needed by us to organize the material.
You may be asked to provide us with written material from time to time. We prefer our clients use our secure portal to upload documents whenever possible, as this provides an extra layer of security over the documents. If you are unable to upload the documents, we request that you email the documents to our office.
Our secure upload can be found here: SafeSend If you need to provide hard copy documents, you may mail them to our office or schedule a time to bring them to our office. All original documents will be returned to you at the conclusion of your matter.
Accounts and Billing
If you have questions about your account, billing inquiries, or questions regarding payment, please direct all inquiries to our billing department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office Visits and In Office Appointments
At this time, due to COVID restrictions in place in Washington County, we require all visitors schedule a visit to our office in advance. This includes quick drop off and pick up visits. We look forward to changing back to our open-door policy in the future when it is safe to do so. Please contact Client Services to schedule your office visit.
Certain aspects of law are crisis-oriented, and, on occasion, lawyers are called to deal with urgent client matters unexpectedly. Consequently, we are sometimes required to reschedule appointments on short notice. Every effort will be made to provide you with as much notice as possible, should that be necessary.
Unfortunately, we are unable to meet with clients who drop by without a scheduled appointment.
It is very important for our clients to remain informed; accordingly, we at Caress Law will provide you with updates throughout your matter, in your preferred communication method.
We will update all clients with active probate, trust administration, and trust funding matter clients on a biweekly or monthly basis, as agreed upon by the client and attorney.
Attorney Client Privilege
All information you provide to our office is completely private and confidential. We will handle all the details of your case with the utmost confidentiality and respect for your privacy. The privilege of confidentiality between lawyer and client belongs to you. Therefore, only you can decide if that confidentiality may be waived. Please remember this when your family members or friends request information from our office. We are frequently contacted by new partners or other family members who want to discuss your case. You must give us permission for such discussions to take place. Please also keep in mind that any time spent discussing your case with anyone at your request will be time spent on your file and included in your next billing.
Please note you can waive your attorney-client privilege by including a third-party in your communication, such as copying them on an email. In addition, you can waive your attorney-client privilege by sharing the content of your communication with your attorney, or legal team, with a third-party. We ask that you keep this in mind when communicating with our office.
This client communication policy applies only to our clients who have retained us for legal services and executed a formal engagement letter.
MEET THE FOUNDER
Being an estate planning attorney and probate lawyer requires a demanding array of skills and expertise. Estate planning attorney Tammi Caress, founder of Caress Law, PC, launched her firm in 2013 after more than a decade of practice as a trusts and estates attorney. Tammi’s detailed knowledge of trust, estate and tax law, as well as complex federal and state government regulations, assists Tammi in providing her clients with a variety of viable options suitable to their specific needs.