First of all, please note that I prefer that you set up consultations at a scheduled time to get information. I can then be ready to talk with you about your case, having reviewed your situation and the things you want to discuss. It is also less distracting to me, given that when you call, I may be otherwise engaged in research and drafting paperwork or already in a scheduled consultation with another client. Or I may be just enjoying my own personal time. [Imagine that!] The Hotline should only be used where you have (1) an emergency that can’t wait for a consultation or (2) if you only have a quick question or two. I make the Hotline available accommodate those two situations. Otherwise, you are better off scheduling the less-expensive consultation.
However, I understand that situations may arise where you need to talk to me immediately, and it can’t wait for a scheduled consultation. You may be in court and need immediate coaching on an issue you have had not anticipated, or the landlord may have just taken some drastic action, or the Sheriff may have just posted some threatening papers. Until recent technology evolved, this was not possible, but now it is. I have set this up for you.
You need what is generally called a “rush job” but on legal services. Therefore, instead of $200 per hour, it is time-and-a-half, $300 per hour, which is $5 per minute.
Step 1: Set up your payment for this Hotline service
Call (888)693-8437 [888 My-Ether is easy to remember] You get the greeting, “Hi, this is Ether. Let’s get started…” Select option 1, then at the next prompt, select * [star]. Give your phone number with #, and make up a 4-digit PIN number. Follow the directions. Accept the terms, and then it will say that you don’t have any funds in your account, and give you the option to ADD a credit card, which will connect you with a live person to whom you will give your credit card information. [This all takes about 5 minutes] Write down your PIN and keep it in a safe place, like your wallet, so that you can refer to it if you need to call again. If you don’t remember or have your PIN handy on a later call, you will have to start all over again and try to correct the missing PIN and account through Customer Service at ether.com.
If you try to make the call without paying first, it routes you to the payment section, in case you were wondering.
Step 2: Post the money for the call
While talking to the live person, you will be asked to identify how much you want to pay to cover the time talking to me. It works like a pay phone, where you deposited the coins for the time you want to talk. These deposits are in $10 increments, so $100 will give you only 20 minutes, not a half an hour. Be sure to post enough to cover your anticipated use, because the instant you run out of money, it cuts you off, and requires you to post more money to continue the call. This is not me being rude; it would be caused by your not posting enough to cover the call. If you do need to post more, choosing option (2) when you first dial in allows you to more easily transfer additional money if you need it.
If you post more than you need right now, you might use it later, but you can contact www.ether.com on line or by phone at Customer Service [800 975 1379] to get a refund of amounts you haven’t used. In the future, if you need to post more money for a call, such as being cut off during a call or needing another call, you can do it on the phone using your PIN and the automated system tied to your credit card.
Step 3: Making the call
For your first call, the operator should switch you over to the main menu, so that you will only need to select the extension and dial it.
I am NOT available 24/7. I am a human being, who sleeps and has a life other than as a lawyer. Therefore, my availability for these calls is as follows:
The phone number to call is (888)693-8437, select option 1 (extension), then dial my extension: 0472 5588. Just in case I am not able to talk at all, the reception is bad, or we need to set another time, there is no charge until I start the clock. The recording will say that it is “free” but that is just for our initial contact, and I will let you know when we are on the clock.
Keep in mind that the clock is ticking at $5 per minute, so use your time wisely. You may think that this should only take a couple of minutes, but depending on what I need to know to answer your question, this can take longer. Better to over-estimate what is needed in order to avoid being cut off by the machine midway.
Step 4: During the Call
Start by telling me who you are, including your last name. Keep in mind that when you call me like this, I may be away from my computer with your information on it, so you will probably need to spend the first minute or so identifying where you are in the process, and what has just happened [or is about to happen] that you need to know about. If you call me assuming that I have all facts of hundreds of cases clearly in mind, you are mistaken. Once you refresh my recollection, I will be able to advise you.
For your own sake, keep to the point. What exactly do you need to know? Try to keep your costs down by only talking about the things that you need to discuss right now, and leave the rest for a scheduled consultation. I may not be able to give you as good an answer as I could have in a regular scheduled consultation, but I will give you the best I can for your emergency situation.