Making the right decisions once a dispute or litigation starts is what sets great businesses apart from the rest. When facing litigation, the attorneys of the Law Offices of Daniel A. Kaplan can provide skilled representation that allows businesses to focus on what they do best – serving their customers and clients without distraction.
Are you the right lawyers for my case?
We may be, depending on the type of case you have, and what you expect from your attorney. We handle civil matters that are usually filed in the California Superior Court or Federal District courts. Our law firm consist of experienced, ethical and honest attorneys. We can be aggressive when the situation calls for it, but above-all we put your interest first.
Our firm has litigated cases for all types of companies, from small businesses to nation-wide corporations. As a small business law firm, we understand the unique needs and concerns of small business owners and we will be with you 100% of the way.
How will you communicate with me about my case?
In this day and age, great client service requires adaptation to client’s communication needs. This of course includes email, texts and letters. It can also include face-to-face meetings, and client briefings in the board room. We also understand that a client representative may need to be prepared to brief management on the case, including anticipated costs, and chances of success. We can provide that information without the legalese so a client representative can report to the board or litigation committee. We also provide attorney access and quick response time so you can feel at ease about your case.
What will my role be in the case?
A client’s role is to provide information to the attorney during the entire case. Typically there will be times that a client must be more involved, such as when the case begins and information must be obtained to prepare the complaint or defense, when formal investigation begins, during depositions and when preparing for trial. We have an obligation to all of our clients to keep them reasonably advised of the status of the case. Clients are obligated to stay in close communication with my office and when necessary participate in settlement discussions, mediation and ultimately trial.
What decision about the case does the client make and what decisions does the attorney make?
Our job as your lawyer is to give you sound legal advice so you can make decisions about your case. Clients decide whether to settle their case and how much to accept or pay in settlement. Clients also decide whether to take their case to trial which can be considered a risky strategy in some cases. Other decisions are made in conjunction with your attorney throughout the case. Most decisions about tactics are made by the attorney throughout the course of the case, including what motions to file, and what facts and law to bring to the Court’s attention. Most attorneys, including this law firm, reserve the right to withdraw as counsel of record if you choose to disregard your attorney’s advice.
What payment options do I have?
Our law firm enters into hourly agreements with most of our clients. Under such an arrangement the client is responsible for the hours worked by the attorneys and paralegal each month. In addition, the client is responsible for payment of the litigation costs. These costs include delivery and service costs, court reporter fees, and expert witness fees costs. In litigation matters, clients are required to pay a “retainer” that is held in trust until earned. Often clients inquire about the use of a contingency fee, commonly associated with personal injury cases, where no attorney’s fees are due unless the client wins his or her case. In some circumstances the law firm will take a case on a contingency basis. Other fee arrangements, such as a flat fee or a hybrid fee that combines an hourly rate and a contingency may be discussed.
Can you estimate the cost of the case?
It is very difficult to know how much litigation will cost. We can provide estimated budgets, and estimate the cost involved with specific tasks. There are many factors that determine overall costs. These can be discussed with the attorney at the outset of the case.
If I win my case, does the other side have to pay my attorney’s fees and costs?
In most business cases, each side is responsible for his or her own attorney’s fees and costs unless the dispute involves a contract that has an “attorney fees clause.” This awards attorney’s fees to the winning party or there is a statute that shifts fees to the losing party. If you win your case on summary judgment or at trial, certain costs may be awarded. In most settlement of business cases, attorney’s fees are generally not recovered.
Have you handled “this” type of case before?
We probably have. We have provided a description of examples of cases that we have handled over the past 22 years, above. Given our experience, we can handle most litigation needs of our clients. If your case falls outside of our areas of expertise, we will help you find the right law firm to help you.
Can you work with my in-house counsel or serve as local counsel?
Yes. We have significant experience working with in-house counsel of businesses of all sizes, and as well as with insurance claims adjustors and/or in house insurance counsel. We have also served as local counsel for clients located out of state who have their local attorneys involved in the matter.
How long will my case take?
In the San Diego area, cases that are filed in State Court can often take more than a year to get to trial or resolution. Due to the expense of long litigation, we sometimes advise clients to seek a resolution before spending considerable time and money in the litigation process. Cases filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of California, which encompasses San Diego, may proceed more quickly because the Federal court system has additional resources to move cases more quickly to trial. When matters are in arbitration, it is up to the parties to determine when to schedule the hearing. Given the length of time that it takes for cases to reach final resolution, we may use tactics that preserve assets such as writs of attachments, temporary protective orders and preliminary injunctions.
Most importantly, we will be with you every step of the way, no matter how long it takes to resolve the issue.
When is the right time to contact an attorney?
If you have been served with a summons and complaint, it is very important that you contact an attorney immediately. Often you must respond within 20 to 30 days after you have been served with the summons. Your attorney may need several weeks to gather information and determine legal issues that affect how to respond.
If you believe that your rights have been violated, the best practice is to seek a consultation with an attorney at your earliest opportunity. There are laws that limit how long you have to file a lawsuit, and these time periods vary greatly by the type of claim you are making and who you are making claims against. Claims against governmental agencies must often be made in a very short time frame.