Client Relationships

Prospective Clients

Preston Law Offices' practice focuses on representing consumers and small businesses in class actions. This means we primarily represent class representatives. While some clients may be appropriate (or even ideal) for individual cases, they may not be good class representatives. Other clients may be unable to act as a class representative because there is an arbitration agreement in their contract with the defendants. Our clients (or their designated representatives, who have a power of attorney) must be mentally competent, over eighteen, and able to communicate via email. Because of the nature of Preston Law Offices' practice, it is selective about the clients it represents.

Our Intake Process

Often, we know the basic facts of a case when we are looking for clients. Other times, prospective clients come to us with complaints about potential defendants, and we discover new cases during the intake process. Either way, experience tells us that having prospective clients collect evidence about the case is the best way to start the intake process. (This is may be different from other attorneys' intake processes, which involve telephone consultations.) Many of Preston Law Offices' cases rely heavily on documents: it is often impossible to tell whether a client has a claim without reviewing relevant documents. For instance, it is impossible to know whether clients have signed an arbitration agreement or waived their claims without reviewing a complete copy of their contract with the defendants. Clients need to be able to collect complete copies of important documents, and to provide these documents in the right format (usually pdf files or email). It is also important to establish prospective clients' ability to collect evidence before initiating litigation, when other parties can force the production of evidence via discovery. Discovery can involve producing documents, answering written questions, or taking clients' depositions. Providing discovery is a critical aspect of being an adequate class representative. We need to confirm that our prospective clients are capable of serving as class representatives before we agree to represent them.

Retainer Agreements

Preston Law Offices does not establish a formal attorney-client relationship unless and until we and the prospective client sign a separate written agreement, called a retainer letter. (Of course, confidential communications with prospective clients remain privileged even before a formal attorney-client relationship—even if they never form an attorney-client relationship.) Our typical retainer letter is fairly lengthy (over ten pages) because it spells out many of the duties owed by class representatives, and identifies many of the contingencies our clients might face during the course of the representation. Preston Law Offices typically does not sign retainer agreements with new clients until after it completes this intake process. There are good reasons for this policy. The nature of the claims (and the scope of the corresponding attorney-client relationship) may not be clear until after we review the prospective client's evidence. Some clients may have issues outside of our practice, and require a referral to different attorneys with different practices (like individual litigation, arbitration, credit repair, or bankruptcy). Also, there are statutes of limitations that can preclude claims after a certain time, which vary from claim to claim, and we may not be in a position to identify the applicable statute of limitations until we complete the intake process.