General Legal Questions?
Frequently Asked Questions – General Questions
Q – I have never hired a lawyer to represent me, how does that work?
A – In California, to begin an attorney-client relationship, the client must enter into a written contract with an attorney at law, who is licensed to practice by the State Bar Association. From that point forward, the lawyer is the client’s representative for purposes of the subject matters stated in the contract. This often includes (on the client’s behalf) making a pre-litigation demand, filing papers in court, conducting discovery, approving subpoenas, participating in hearings and depositions, communicating with the other side in settlement negotiations and dispute resolution, and communicating with the client, as appropriate.
Q – How much can I expect to pay to hire Robert Stempler as my attorney?
A – Much of that depends on what you need me to do. I try to cover that in more detail under each of the areas that I cover on this website, under that page’s FAQ. I do not charge for a consultation with a prospective client, which most often is by email and/or telephone. Except for cases involving an unpaid credit card or other personal debt, typically I do not ask for any funds from a client up front, as the fees and costs would get deducted from any funds that are recovered from the others side at the conclusion of the case.
Q – How often will I need to appear in court, if I hire Robert Stempler?
A – I realize that my clients are busy and have plenty of other things, but there are a few times when the client must appear in person in a court case. Appearing in court, other than for trial, is rare. In some cases, the other side demands a deposition to ask my client questions under oath. A deposition is almost always under one day, sometimes only two to three hours. In some cases, there may be a hearing to try to settle the case, known as ADR or mediation, which is usually under a day, sometimes only an hour or two. Finally, there may be a trial or other official proceeding, which may last a few days to perhaps three weeks. Juries and judges often understand if someone cannot attend for the whole trial, but certainly the client needs to be there for their testimony, which is presented live (a video tape will not suffice).