If you think you may need an attorney in the areas of Small Business, Real Estate or Probate, you send Dan an email about your situation. The email does not cost you anything and you can get valuable insight into whether or not you need an attorney.
You want a local attorney, it helps save on travel costs. For example, you need to probate a Will in Dallas but you live in San Antonio. You will most likely save money by hiring an attorney in the Dallas area because you will not be paying your attorney to travel to Dallas to handle whatever matters are required.
It depends. If you have a real estate matter, a copy of the sales agreement, deed, deed of trust, and related communciations will be helpful. If it is probate matter, a copy of the Will and Death Certificate are a good start. If it is a business problem, a copy of all the relevant communications (emails, letters, text messages, etc.) is always helpful.
Sooner rather than later.
Names (and preferably address and phone numbers) for the people involved. A brief description of the problems/issues/situation/etc. A copy of all the documents related to the problem – contracts, agreements, demand letters, petitions, emails, text messages.