Frequently Asked Questions

The legal process can be confusing and overwhelming. But if you understand how it works, resolving your case can be much less stressful.

Below, you can find answers to some of the most commonly asked legal questions our team hears from our clients. Feel free to reach out to our team if you don’t find your question here!

The Legal Process

You are not required to have an attorney represent you. You have a constitutional right to represent yourself in court.

However, self-representation is usually not recommended. It’s very easy to make mistakes in the legal process that could cost you significantly in the long run. 

Finding the right lawyer is essential to achieving your best possible outcome. Download our guide, “8 Mistakes People Make When Looking for an Attorney,” for tips on how to choose the best attorney for your case.


When you hire an attorney, there are three common payment arrangements you may have to cover:

  • Hourly rate - With the hourly rate, your attorney will track the time spent on your case and bill you monthly. This is the most common type of fee arrangement.
  • Contingency rate - These fees are a percentage of the amount recovered in a case. Many personal injury lawyers use this form of fee arrangement for compensation.
  • Flat fee - Under a flat fee, your attorney will charge a predetermined amount for your case.

At Kopp McKichan, our attorneys typically charge an hourly rate.

A retainer is a down payment on legal fees that may be requested by your attorney upon hiring. The attorney will hold your retainer in a trust account, where it will be applied to future fees and expenses. Many lawyers who bill hourly use retainers to ensure you have financial padding in case they encounter unexpected costs.

At Kopp McKichan, we require retainers for most hourly rate cases. However, your retainer is refundable, meaning that any amount that goes unused will be returned to you after your case is finished. Retainers may be paid by cash, check, money order, or credit card.

It would be wonderful if that were the case, but, unfortunately, it typically is not. 

In most cases, each party is responsible for payment of their own attorney fees. Some rare instances do allow for fee-shifting, where the losing party must pay the winning party's attorney fees. Your attorney will discuss the possibility of fee-shifting in your case during your initial consultation.

Legal Terms

Discovery refers to the exchange of information between the parties in a case. In Wisconsin, each side of a civil case must disclose relevant evidence to the other side if requested. Formal discovery includes interrogatories, requests for documents, requests for admissions, and depositions.

Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps both sides of a case negotiate a settlement. Mediation is not binding, and the parties must agree to a resolution. Your mediator is simply there to provide an objective viewpoint and ensure that both parties are treated fairly.

In family law cases, mediation is used to attempt to resolve issues pertaining to custody and placement. Mediation is required if either of those issues are in dispute.

You can learn more about the mediation process in this digital guide from the American Bar Association. 

Arbitration is a legal technique sometimes used in the resolution of disputes outside the courts. With arbitration, the disputing parties agree that one or more individuals can decide on a resolution of the case after hearing all the evidence. 

The process is similar to a trial in that both sides make opening statements and present evidence to the arbitrator. It is typically less formal and much faster than a typical trial.

After the hearing, the arbitrator will issue an “award,” announcing the decision. Unlike mediation, if both parties accept it, the decision reached through arbitration will be binding in court.

If you have a commercial dispute, this digital guide by the American Bar Association will walk you through the benefits of using arbitration to resolve your case.

About Kopp McKichan

The Kopp McKichan legal team is trained and experienced in a number of legal areas, including

  • Family Law
  • Business Law
  • Real Estate Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Drunk Driving (OWI)
  • Probate
  • Estate Planning
  • Elder Law
  • Collections


Each of our attorneys is well-versed in one or more practice areas and stays up-to-date on the latest legal news. We’re dedicated to providing you with the best legal guidance possible.

Kopp McKichan is located at 44 East Main Street in downtown Platteville, Wisconsin, on historic Main Street.

Our office hours are between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is closed during the lunch hour from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. After hours, messages may be left in our voice-mail system.

The steps our attorneys take to help you reach your best possible outcome will depend on the specificities of your case. For the most part, however, this is the process that we follow:

  1. Schedule a consultation - Your first step toward resolving your case is to meet with one of our experienced attorneys. During your consultation, the best lawyer for your case will get to know your case, help you understand the process, and provide you with a customized plan of action for your legal problem.

  2. Receive legal help - After you have teamed up with an attorney, we will provide you with the guidance, support, and expertise you need to resolve your case quickly and the right way.  Our goal is to help ease your stress, address any concerns you might have, and stay in regular communication so you know exactly where we are in the process.

  3. Achieve the best possible outcome - Finally, your case will be resolved and you can return to your normal life. While we can’t guarantee your case will be wrapped up in a matter of months, we’ll do everything we can to keep the process on track and running smoothly. Because we act in your best interests, you can feel confident knowing you’ll achieve the best outcome possible.

Schedule a Consultation

You can reach out to our team in several ways:

  • Call our office at 608-348-2615 to schedule an appointment.
  • Fill out the form on this page to book an appointment time.
  • If you have already hired your attorney, you can contact their assistant or leave a message for them directly on their voicemail or email.

Still Have Questions?

Fill out this form to reach out to the Kopp McKichan legal team. We’re happy to help!