When to Call a Lawyer vs. a Mediator »
As in a court case, the process of mediation provides a method of conflict resolution. However, it is much more informal and does …
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As in a court case, the process of mediation provides a method of conflict resolution. However, it is much more informal and does …
A personal injury lawyer can help defendants in a variety of situations, from car accidents to defamation. Learn what personal inj…
Divorce lawyers help couples agree to the terms of their separation, but can also be very expensive. Learn how to choose the right…
Katherine, a mutual friend who retired after working for almost a decade in the California State Bankruptcy Unit, personally knew Ms. Chea professionally for years. She provided me a glowing reference of Ms. Chea, saying such things as, “I admire her competence, she is very good at what she does… and she is honest…She has integrity.” I have known Katherine for a number of years and occasionally have breakfast with her. Katherine sold me on Ms. Chea. But it took months. Katherine started in December 2012. I did not want to declare bankruptcy. I thought it was a personal insult to say that I could not pay my bills as agreed. Endeavoring to avoid bankruptcy, I negotiated a phenomenal reduction in interest charges from five of my six creditors and I paid per agreement for almost eighteen months. But after exhausting all other financial resources--asking for loans from my family, friends, former co-workers, and my direct supervisor, and my church--I had to make an unwanted decision. But even then I did not approach an attorney. I first tried to find a credit counselor to negotiate a principal reduction and reduction in interest. However, I soon learned that the people I would have to work with lacked the integrity I require. They wanted me to pay them, and they would pay the creditors. But they would not guarantee that my bills would be paid in a timely fashion. Nevertheless, I still did not want to declare bankruptcy. I tried to negotiate a reduction of principal and interest with my creditors; that too failed as I could not meet their financial demands. I tried to get a second mortgage on my home for $25,000 when my credit rating was good over 710. I failed to get it, because I had one questionable payment that did not meet minimum payment that was 30 days past due for $17. In addition, I lacked an additional $300 per month income. Katherine kept at me, saying to file for bankruptcy with Ms. Chea. I finally did late last year. Ms. Chea comes across very experienced and very competent as an attorney. She clearly explained what I had to provide her in terms of documents that must be submitted and the time window that would be desired in light that housing prices are rising. We addressed that fact that my gift to a friend of my Thunderbird about two years ago may cause problems in timing. She showed concern about my precarious financial condition by providing me a coupon or code to use to get a free legally required credit counseling session. I believe Ms. Chea to be highly dedicated and committed to her job; that she possesses the required drive and enthusiasm and has an excellent work ethic. She pays attention to detail. In addition, she has a high degree of integrity and a cheerful personality, is charismatic, focused, and determined, outgoing and friendly, I feel very confident that she will be extremely successful in our hearing. On the occasion that I did not take her advice, it was at my peril. Fortunately, it was a small loss. Sincerely, Paul, M.A. (Government)
I was in a pickle. I was in an altercation with my girlfriend in Placer County. I knew I needed help with the intricacies of the law and I needed a tough lawyer who would not belittle me, take my money and run or not fight tooth and nail for me. I contacted David Bonilla due to the reviews I had read online at that time. (2012). He was brutally honest after his assessment of the situation. Two years in jail, 3 years of probation, 45 days of a work program and a felony charge. In my mind my career was over. However, after speaking to the DA, David had managed to lower the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. He also persuaded the DA to reduce the work program to 35 days and the probation to informal. After a year of going back and forth with a very stubborn judge and the probation department, he persuaded the county to enable me to complete a batterer's program online. This specific step (online program) was essential as any charge curtailed any threat towards my career and I could continue to travel for work. It was also the very first time in the history of Placer County judgements that this was allowed. Mr. Bonilla is an outstanding lawyer of whom went above and beyond. He kept me in the loop in every turn and he fought hard for me. He is a lawyer who hates to lose and that is why I'm writing this review. His passion for winning came through and his knowledge of the law is exemplary. It was because of his knowledge he actually checkmated the DA and judge in allowing me to complete an online batterer's course and it was painfully obvious that the judge did not want to allow it. I will complete the batterer's course and the work program. After a year and a half I will use Mr. Bonilla's services to have my case dismissed and thereafter, expunged. I have and will continue to recommend David Bonilla to everyone and anyone who has been accused of a crime.
Nothing is worse than when your freedom is taken away for no reason. For a moment, I thought I have lost my years of hard work and a career I love. I kept myself motivated but I got a big boost in motivation when I first saw Mr Parkhurst through little window of jail when he came to meet me first time. It was great moral boosting in itself that Mr Parkhurst came to meet me 3-4 times in jail daily. Soon, I was out and ready for real challenge. I was charged with several severe domestic violence felony charges including strike felony. I have facing jail time, loss of job and definite deportation. Mr Parkhurst always kept me updated about progress of my case. He was very honest with me right from the beginning and as the case progressed. His conduct towards his clients is very respectful and appreciable. He always makes you calm in tense situation. This helped me concentrate on my work during my case. I always believed him and he always believed me and it kept us going. He is well respected by fellow lawyer in his community. He went out of his way to consult other lawyers with my case without charging me additional fee. Few months later a jury trial began. I felt like world is against me except person sitting left to me in courtroom (and my friends of course). I was always impressed by his demeanor in the court. He was very attentive, concentrated, and alert and engaged during trial process. He was very aggressive yet respectful in the courtroom. I always believed strongly about my case and Mr Parkhurst conveyed my message to Jury in a very convincing way. Finally, Mr Parkhurst made a clean sweep and I was acquitted of all charges. I could not have done it without Mr Parkhurst. Life moves on, as ‘Truck’ moves on the road. ‘There may be heavy load…trip may be uncertain…but you will reach your destination when Mr Parkhurst is behind the wheel ’ Yeah….we did it.
A Family Attorney of Integrity Frank Dougherty and his entire staff helped me through a very difficult custody battle situation with my ex-wife involving my youngest son. I had worked with two other attorney’s in the past on this same case who had given me false hope, poor follow through and incorrect billing. Needless to say I was very wary about hiring another attorney. I interviewed six attorneys and chose Frank. Not only did I appreciate Frank as an attorney but also holding a PHD in Psychology gives him obvious advantage in the courtroom in understanding family dynamics and being able to come up with creative solutions to complex situations. I found Frank to be honest in the results he felt he could produce, quick on his feet, professional and found him very through from the beginning from beginning to end. On one occasion Frank was unable to go to the hearing due to a scheduling conflict and had one of the firms attorney’s step in immediately to keep the case moving forward who walked into the court at a moment’s notice with sound knowledge of the case and her role that day. On another occasion Frank prioritized a last minute declaration with his busy schedule to ensure it was processed in a timely manner. The Office Manager was extremely organized and helpful with billing, scheduling court dates and ensuring the entire process ran smoothly. I was very impressed how the entire staff worked together to making sure that there was not a beat missed. They always got back to me right away with answers to my questions. They also truly cared about me and did everything they could to help me through this tough period of my life. If you looking for the best attorney to represent you in any type of family law case I would highly advise you to go with the best Frank Dougherty.
FANTASTIC ATTORNEY! I am a father who was in a major custody battle for my son. My ex-wife had vicious attorney who was doing his best to aggressively make me look bad and make her look good. I went through 4 attorneys in 2 1/2 years, and none of them could successfully deal her attorney. I was losing ground (and money, and time) in my efforts to have my fair share of custody of my son. Then I found attorney Frank Dougherty. My custody battle immediately improved as Frank started doing what he is so good at. It was a tremendous relief to see his experience at work. His staff is wonderful and very efficient and effective also. Their team worked with me to put together the large picture and develop a plan to get the custody changes I wanted. They immediately confronted my ex-wife's attorney and he backed off with his false accusations real fast. In fact, she ended up firing him after a few months because he didn't hold a candle to Frank. That in itself was a huge stress relief. Then Frank got to work preparing for a 4 day trial. It was there that his litigating skills really showed. He really knows the law. He is good at presenting the facts in a respectful way. And his execution style was no nonsense. I am definitely glad he was not my opposing attorney. Frank is a 100% honest attorney. He is not one of those attorneys who will lie and distort facts. He can work with the true facts to get what you want. He helped me and now I have the custody I was hoping for. Trust me, you don't want Frank against you so you better retain him before your ex does.
I had the pleasure of working with Harris Law Firm on a complex real estate transaction last summer, involving the partition of a luxury waterfront property with multiple familial owners. As the listing agent for the parcel, I was primarily responsible for representing the four owners and interacting with their individual attorneys frequently. Representing two of the four owners, Bob Harris and his associate Sonya, were consummate professionals from the get - go. Courteous and conscientious, Bob is also highly intellectual and thoughtful when working within a group of individuals with varied goals. In real estate, it's common for multiple family members to differ in opinion on the division of assets. Bob and Sonya were invariably diplomatic and discreet when confronted with emotional discord between the parties. This quality proved invaluable in reaching a ratified contract and working through a lengthy and complicated escrow that ultimately resulted in a successful sale of the property. Bob and Sonya not only attained the goal set by their clients and mine, but they did it with grace and humor which I appreciated immensely. A little levity goes a long way in life and in business. Without hesitation, I recommend the services of Harris Law Firm, and I look forward to continuing my relationship with them on both a professional and personal level.
As an attorney myself I can appreciate a smooth-running legal team. I definitely found that here with Frank and his team, from the always-responsive staff, to the readily-available associates willing to jump in on a moment's notice. But I cannot emphasize enough what an expert Frank is in his field. Within 6 months he was able to turn my case around (without going into detail, an ex husband willing to fabricate allegations of mental disorder to get the upper hand in custody and an extremely contentious opposing counsel going to hearing on every minute detail). I balked at retaining him at first given the slightly higher rates compared to my previously retained counsel, but after 2 years of kicking the can down the road and delaying tactics from opposing counsel, I realized I couldn't afford to *not* retain him. 6 months on my case, only delayed due to the court continuing the trial due to a backed-up docket, and we had a fair outcome. I can't say enough about this man. The real gem was his previous experience as a family law forensic psychologist, which allowed him to quickly unravel the BS reports of our court-ordered evaluator. He restored my confidence, reunified my family, and put my life back together. Thank you so much, Frank.
One of the very best decisions I ever made in my life was hiring Frank Dougherty to represent me in a bitter custody fight for my young son. Family and friends said I was crazy to pursue custody when I had no chance of success. I had already gone through four attorneys, and was like a boxer on the mat looking up at a nine count. Frank took charge, and the situation changed faster than I could ever have imagined. Frank's background as a psychologist,and frequent expert witness,was invaluable in setting up the case for my being the custodial parent,and ultimately left me with sole legal custody of my son,even after I had moved out of California to Nevada. It was stressful,and we had to fight it out in court but, thankfully,the best interests of my son were served. Having a child is the greatest experience of my life,and I truly believe that I owe my present loving relationship with my son to that one fateful decision to ask Frank to take my seemingly hopeless case. Frank is a very wise man,and I could not recommend him and his office more highly. Counselor Dougherty,thank you!
When I was wrongfully arrested for DUI in wine country I spoke to several lawyers in the area and they all seemed to be in cahoots. I decided to get a lawyer from the valley to take my case. When the District Attorney wouldn't dismiss the case because I was not guilty, Mr. Dudek had no choice but to take it to trial. I knew from the moment that he first spoke to the jury on the day of trial, that I had hired a winner. Not only did Mr. Dudek impress the Judge, with his command of the Courtroom and of the Law, but he made the district attorney look and sound like a neophyte. I believe that In the end, it was the ability to charm the jury that decided the case. This was several years ago, but I have followed Mr. Dudek's career over the years and he just gets better and better. I am still embarassed about the incident, but when it comes to being the best criminal defense lawyer in Northern California, Mr. Dudek has no competetion. His abilities are wasted in the backwaters and he should move to a big City where he can really shine.
In response to review by arielpdog12, we are very sorry this client was not completely satisfied with our services. Our main goal in every case is client satisfaction. This is evidenced by the fact that this client had a 3+ hour initial free evaluation. Upon retaining our services, we received and responded to well over 150 documented e-mails and phone calls from this particular client. As with any type of law, sometimes unfortunate events are unavoidable. Our attorneys did their absolute best, given the circumstances of this case. After the case was filed, this client terminated the relationship with our firm. This client continued to e-mail, call, and instant chat through our website, expecting legal advice. This client even expected us to appear at a hearing after no longer being represented by our firm. It was at this point that our communication stopped. For liability reasons, our attorneys cannot provide legal advice to people who are no longer clients. We wish this client the best with the case.
The legal profession is vast, with each attorney having his or her specialties. Here are some of the most common attorneys individuals seek out when they require legal aid:
A criminal defense lawyer is probably the attorney the average person imagines. Criminal attorneys are the men and women who defend individuals accused of a crime. The lawyer may work pro bono - for the public good - so the accused is certain to have representation, even if he or she cannot afford an attorney.
Criminal lawyers are experts in the criminal justice system. They help their clients decide how to plead when first charged by the police and guide them through trial procedures. Defense lawyers must use every bit of their knowledge and resources to get their clients the fairest results from criminal proceedings.
If you are a small business owner or the head of a larger corporation, you may come into contact with a business lawyer. Many big companies keep a legal staff on payroll to deal with the daily operations of running and maintaining a large enterprise. Business lawyers may have more specific specialties like copyright law, product liability and mergers and acquisitions.
Business attorneys may focus their practices on certain industries. There are entertainment lawyers to guide artists through royalties and media contracts, while hospitals employ malpractice attorneys to protect doctors from aggressive litigation.
When you work for a company, you may find yourself in need of an employment lawyer - especially if the relationship between you and your employer sours. An employment attorney prevents people from losing their jobs due to unfair reasons. Workers' compensation lawyers help maintain safe employment conditions and ensure workers receive fair compensation after workplace injury or discrimination.
A personal finance attorney can protect and manage your investments and securities. You may use a finance lawyer to help you prepare your taxes, but you might be better off working with an accountant. A tax attorney is more commonly contacted after a business or individual runs into trouble with the IRS or state regulators.
Real Estate Lawyer
Your family may keep a lawyer on retainer to guide you through the major expenses that come up in life. When buying a home, you could work with a real estate lawyer to make sure you get the best deal and won't get taken advantage of by tricky mortgage agreements or unfair landlords. An estate attorney can help you plan for the worst by creating a will and preparing your finances for after your death.
A bankruptcy lawyer is essential to help you resolve your financial difficulties when they start to spin out of control. Certain attorneys help create strategies to bring you out of debt and speak to your creditors. A lawyer can advise you on which type of bankruptcy you should file for.
If you are suing someone or being sued, you need a civil lawyer. Civil attorneys - and criminal lawyers - are the legal representatives who argue on your behalf in a courtroom setting. Civil lawyers may represent you on matters of business, finance or a wide variety of other specialized needs.
One of the most common types of civil attorneys is a personal injury lawyer. When you're hurt by an outside party and you would like to hold them legally responsible, a personal injury attorney conducts litigation and negotiates settlements to compensate for your pain and suffering. Sometimes many wronged people will join together with a single civil lawyer or law office to form a class action lawsuit.
Most people will turn to a lawyer during a divorce to navigate the emotionally charged legal proceedings. A divorce attorney can assist in determining grounds for separation, division of property and custody of children.
Family attorneys deal with much more personal matters. If you're getting married, a family lawyer can help you prepare a prenuptial agreement or other family planning paperwork such as adoption or inheritance documents.
To ensure you find a competent attorney who won't abuse your trust or drain your finances, you have to make the proper inquiries. There are several questions you should ask, but the majority will fall under three general topics:
Training and Experience Questions
One of the best ways to determine quality is to examine an attorney's history. When you first step into a lawyer's office, you should check for the appropriate certifications and diplomas. You have to ask how long he or she has practiced law and request information that demonstrates the practice's success. Look for precise details such as percentage of cases settled out of court.
Once you inquire about the broad details of their legal career, you should ask questions about their experience that pertains to your specific issue. You should ask how many similar cases they have handled and if they have special skills or training that applies specifically to your needs. Lawyers can't mention clients by name, but you should ask for basic details about identical past cases.
You need to ask about every possible fee that will come up when working with an attorney. You should request a list of all costs in advance so you won't be surprised by additional expenses like overhead. Also determine exactly when you will start being billed. You want to inspect paperwork carefully. If the attorney charges you for his or her experience, you need to make sure he or she will perform tasks personally and not hand it off to an assistant.
Find out if the attorney has a flat fee or charges by the hour. Many civil lawyers work on contingency. Whatever the payment plan, make inquiries about how the lawyer plans to provide service for your money and what you can do if you start to feel unsatisfied with his or her performance.
Lawyer/Client Relationship Questions
When you hire a lawyer, you're agreeing to work with someone over a certain period of time. You need to ask questions about how the attorney will communicate with you and what responsibilities you hold in the relationship. The attorney should let you know the best channel for quick communication and you need to inform him or her when you want updates.
You should also ask questions to get to know the attorney as an individual in order to ensure this is a person you can trust. Ask about their legal philosophy and how he or she views the lawyer/client relationship. Great questions to start off with are ones that will make your life easier, such as how to keep fees down or what daily disruptions you should expect from a long legal battle. The more forthcoming the lawyer appears to be with individual needs, the better.
You may keep a lawyer on retainer or you could turn to an attorney during specific situations. Here are some common reasons people begin seeking legal representation or advice:
You Know Your Limitations
If you sign documents and you come across a word you don't recognize, you need assistance. You may need a third party to help you navigate important employment or real estate paperwork. It's essential you fully understand the terms of any legally binding documentation or activity you become a part of. If you are not an expert in a given field, you'll want to hire an attorney who is.
A lawyer may find legal implications or opportunities you might miss. If you find yourself in a civil or criminal matter, a proper attorney ensures you don't receive a harsh punishment for a small mistake.
You're Facing an Important Event/Decision
When making decisions critical to your financial stability or personal life, you may want a lawyer with expertise in your situation to make sure you do everything you can to arrive at the proper resolution. This is especially true when you become involved in a criminal case and your freedom is on the line.
It's not just a matter of legal knowledge; lawyer's have access to numerous resources you do not. They have staff ready to work around the clock and experts in a variety of fields to give your important issues the attention they deserve.
You Can't Be Impartial
During times when personal matters intersect with legal proceedings, you may need to have an advocate to prevent your emotions from getting in the way of level-headed thinking. For example, divorce lawyers can mediate a heated argument and help both partners get on with their lives.
Emotional investment could be subtle. You may want to have a lawyer look over an investment opportunity that looks too good to be true or investigate the merits of a possible civil suit when you feel wronged.
You're Out of Options
Many people turn to lawyers when they are in trouble. If you've been accused of a crime or are in a terrible financial situation, you can find an attorney who will work with what you have available to assist you as you deal with your problems.
Personal injury lawyers find solutions for people who can no longer work under their own power and bankruptcy attorneys prevent people from giving in to debt. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't find a solution, a lawyer may be able to offer the counsel you need.
When it comes time to choose a lawyer, you should start by searching close to home. While you probably don't want the conflict of interest that comes from being represented by a family member, friends and loved ones can recommend lawyers who served them well in the past. If you do have attorneys you are familiar with, ask who they believe would be best for you.
After going through personal references - especially from individuals who had similar needs - you should broaden your search through public information resources. You can call your area's attorney referral service or check legal organizations like Martindale-Hubbell. There are other resources available online. You should check websites for client reviews and other third-party forms of approval.
When you build a list of possible candidates, perform a background check on each one. See if you can find information on their history and success record. Once you find a possible lawyer, you should call to arrange a consultation so you can ask your important questions in person.
By performing the necessary research and taking every available precaution, you can narrow your search to the attorney most suited to your needs.