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Answering some litigation FAQs

Spence Law Office is proud to offer you services in business law, civil litigation, design and construction law, mechanic's lien law, real estate law, probate law, and divorce and family law. We understand that you may have some questions before entering into litigation. Below are answers to some commonly asked questions. Please understand that your case is unique to us, and we encourage you to call us with your specific questions.

Seeking a lawyer before a problem occurs is the best way to advocate for yourself. Preventative law saves time, money, and trouble. While many situations can be handled on your own, a lawyer can analyze legal implications, protect your rights, and offer valuable advice.

When do I need a lawyer?

  • What is at stake if I ignore this problem?

  • Can the problem be resolved another way?

  • How much will hiring a lawyer cost?

  • How much do I know about the law surrounding this problem?

Questions to ask before consulting a lawyer

In business since 1995, we're a member of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, Missouri and American Bar Associations.

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  • Buying or selling real estate

  • Major financial transactions

  • Signing of a lease or contract with major financial attachments

  • Marriage, divorce, adoption

  • Civil litigation, lawsuits

What circumstances might require a lawyer?

While it isn't unlawful for you to represent yourself, a lawyer is better suited to interpret complex and ever-changing laws. Lawyers are trained to be aware of deadlines, filing procedures, and all court proceedings that a non-lawyer may overlook. Simply put, a judge will not go easy on you just because you aren't a lawyer.

Can I handle my own legal problems?

Being open and honest with your lawyer is imperative to your case. Your lawyer can only help you if they're aware of every detail, as your case is unique. Don't feel defensive if personal questions are asked; your lawyer is just trying to ensure the best outcome possible for you.

How much information should I share with a lawyer?

Ask questions and, more importantly, make sure you get answers that you understand. Your attorney should answer questions about their background, cost, and other aspects of the law. Any lawyer who does not answer your questions and make them clear to you cannot be trusted.

Should I ask my lawyer questions?

Fees should be discussed on the first visit. Your lawyer should explain how fees are calculated and outline options for you. You may receive an estimate of cost, but keep in mind that your lawyer can't predict the opposing side's reaction to the case. You can avoid misunderstandings by talking openly with your lawyer about all costs.

When should fees and costs be discussed?

We work on an hourly basis, not a contingency fee arraignment. We believe we should be paid for the work we do and leave guessing out of it. In fact, in some cases, contingency fee arraignments are not allowed by law. An employment contract is always completed before work is begun.

What are Spence Law Office's fees?

  • Time spent on a particular problem

  • Consultations, meetings, phone calls

  • In-court time

  • Research time

  • Experience and reputation

What factors determine my fee?

You are responsible for paying all legal fees and expenses. This includes court costs and fees if you're the person bringing the lawsuit, even if you don't win. If a judge awards a full or partial fee to be paid by the opposing party, you aren't released of your payment to your lawyer.


Payment from the other party isn't guaranteed. Some judgments aren't collectible, while others may only cover part of the fees you owe.

What am I responsible for paying?

  • Overhead and operating expenses

  • Time limitations imposed by client

  • Complexity of the case

  • Client's ability to pay

  • Attorney-client relationship

  • Starting or closing a business

  • Estate planning, will drafting

  • Tax concerns or other financial concerns

  • Appearances, applications, or appeals to government agencies or boards

Your lawyer may require a deposit, retainer, down payment, or advance before agreeing to take your case. If you're in need of continuing service, you may pay a monthly or yearly retainer. Fee arrangements can depend on many factors, so be sure to understand your options and obligations.

When is my fee payable?