Become a Client of Ken Carlson
A Different Kind of Lawyer
This DOES NOT commit you to pay and pay, somehow stuck on a never-ending slippery slope, in case you were wondering. Rather, it sets us up in a special legal relationship where as your lawyer, I am obligated to keep what you tell me confidential, to look out for your best interests, to avoid conflicts of interest, to take only such actions on your behalf as have legal justification, and to account to you for money you pay me. There are more rules, but those are the main ones. You can end our relationship at any time, and I can also end our relationship if need be with some conditions. The State Bar, which regulates attorneys, requires that we have this formal relationship, and even to have our understanding in writing, generally referred to as a "retainer agreement." Beyond those formalities, I will be helping you in your dispute with your landlord.
Unlike the standard attorney-client relationship, we will do things differently because this is on line and not in an office. What you are paying for is the knowledge in my head from specializing in this area for over 32 years, the paperwork you have me produce, and the guidance I can give you as needed. You don't have to drive to my office through traffic, pay a huge parking fee, and wait in my lobby; you can call me from home, or your cell phone, email, fax, or talk to me by Skype, video Skype if you prefer. It doesn't matter that I may be hundreds of miles from you, or thousands, when I travel; distance is dead, and we conduct our discussions using the technology of today. You pay by credit, debit or PayPal, and you get your receipt immediately by email. I've been doing this for 14 years. It works just fine.
Another big difference is that I do not personally go to court or put my name on the paperwork as your lawyer. I "ghost write" for you, and you officially represent yourself, called being "in pro per." The whole idea of this operation is to cut costs, and make my services available throughout California. So much time is wasted, and money spent by you, having a lawyer doing things for you that you could do yourself, like driving to court, waiting around for a hearing, having the judge decide on the paperwork without any argument and then driving back to his office. You may want to hire a lawyer to do the trial with you, substituting in for you in the last minute, but until that time, it just doesn't pencil out to have a lawyer paid by the hour to do these things. If you're wealthy, or extremely busy, and just can't make it to court or do the other things, that's different. Most of my clients are not in the position, however, so you do what you can do, I do what only a lawyer can do, and you get the best bang for the buck. I provide a list of tenant lawyers on my site whom you can hire to take over the case at any time. You don't have to stay with me. You are free to change lawyers. Just let me know if you are!
Another big difference is that everything is piecemeal. Rather than your paying $1,000 up front and make additional periodic payments to keep up a positive balance as is done in the typical lawyer relationship, you just pay for what you want, like a vending machine. You want a motion, you pay for the motion. You want a consultation, you pay for the consultation. Some items may be flexible because we don't know how much it will cost, but the rate is still the standard $200 per hour for my time, in 1/4 hour increments. That way, YOU CONTROL your legal costs, and I am ONLY authorized to do what you specifically pay for. In a typical eviction defense, you might pay $700 altogether, but it's done in small increments over the months that the case is pending. YOU control how much you are spending.
Each time you need my help, whether for consultation, preparing legal papers, or whatever, you go to the Shopping Cart on my site and buy the service you want. You begin with Item #101, the Initial Consultation, oddly enough, because then you get the retainer agreement, your contact information, a summary of your situation, and instructions on how to do the consultation. I set up your account and files from there, and from your summary and documents you send me, I can hit the ground running and spend the entire 1/2 hour explaining where legally you are in this and how to get where you want to be. It's very Point A to Point B and practical. You don't complain about what a bad guy the landlord is; I assume that or you wouldn't need to talk with me. We get right to the point. By the end, your head is swimming with information, the flood lights have lit up the legal darkness, and you have a real plan. Most clients say that the initial consultation is the best money they've ever spent. I don't doubt it.
Using the Shopping Cart
It's a law practice, but being on line, the website has a "shopping cart" for you to use to pay for the various legal services you may need. It is connected to the the standard credit/debit card processors and PayPal, as with any other shopping cart. You don't send checks. You don't pay directly through PayPal to my email. You don't wait for an invoice to pay. It is like a vending machine.
I have tried to keep the various services organized into related subjects by topic and sub-topic. There are different kinds of consultations: initial, follow-up, "just got this", courtroom "lifeline," etc. The paperwork is mostly for eviction cases, organized into the various phases of the lawsuit. Every case is different, so some papers apply in one case, but not in another. In our consultation, I will TELL you which paperwork you will need. Please don't guess -ASK. I will also contact the courthouse clerks to try to unscramble some mess they've made without your having to pay for expensive paperwork to do that. I will also talk to the other lawyer, such as in final negotiations. The posted prices are the minimum, and almost always are the stated price. However, due to some peculiar things in a given case, there may be additional charges, which you can pay as Miscellaneous items.
Occasionally, there will be glitch in the system, and I may not get the notification that you have paid, or you may think that you have paid, but somehow the process did not complete. DO NOT TRUST THE COMPUTERS. They are out to get us, and we need to circle our wagons. Vending machines get jammed, and you need to kick them. All kinds of things happen. As card processor, PayPal will handle up to $2,000 in payments from a non-PayPal member and then suddenly refuse to process without notice or warning. A billing address might be different, or you didn't hit the final button, or some other nonsense. If you paid for something and don't hear back from me by the next day, please CALL ME. Nothing like a human being seeing that it was a glitch and getting you what you need despite it. Time is important, and I don't want you to miss out because a diode went on strike.
I highly recommend that you "create an account" when you first use the Shopping Cart. It just takes a minute, but it saves you time and gives you a running report of what you are spending. It sets a cookie, so when you sign in, it says Hi to you, and your card information is already there for your convenience. You can see what you've done. It's just a very handy thing. The information remains confidential, so no one but you will have access to that information.
When you pay for services, pay attention to the information required in the spaces, your ability to attach files to your payment to me, and especially to the download page to which you will be directed, such as in your initial consultation. This process makes it so easy for you to get me the information I need, but if you don't download the forms and send them to me, I don't set up the consultation or otherwise due what you need, thinking that you're not ready yet. That can be a problem. Let's avoid that.
Rules to help us work together
I need to include a few simple rules about how we need to work together. These are important, and keep us from having conflicts with each other. We're on the same side, so let's work together.
Rule 1: WHENEVER you contact me, by phone, fax, email, Skype, letter, or text, it is on the clock at $200 per hour, paid in advance, $50 minimum, UNLESS you use the Hotline, for which you pay in advance by the minute. If you need to talk to me immediately or just have a quick question, the Hotline is the better way to go, although it is more expensive per minute than a scheduled consultation. You will have my phone and email FOR CONVENIENCE, but you will always need to have paid in advance for that contact. Otherwise, I would be deluged with free calls and emails, and never be able to get your work, or anyone else's work done. You are paying for my time, thinking, talking, writing, but always measured in time. You don't shoplift in a store, so you don't pilfer my time, either.
Rule 2: Paperwork that you send me has to be either FAXed to (888) 764-1919 or it may be scanned to PDF format, as a single PDF file. DO NOT send me Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, photos, ZIP files, or any other format. DO NOT send me pictures of documents as you might take with your phone, or send me scattered and disorganized pages of a document, or separate pages of a document that I will have to compile. It is my pet peeve. Everyone has one. This is mine. I am able to keep costs down and save you money by having my entire operation electronic and paperless, with all documents in everyone's file being PDF [my FAX is an e-FAX]. If you don't send the papers as I ask, here, the time I spend converting your documents will be billed to you for my secretarial services at the rate of $200 per hour. If you don't know how to do anything else, FAX the papers. Don't go to a FedEx or Kinko's to fax. They charge a fortune. With what you'll be saving in rent over the next few months, buying a FAX machine, even at a thrift store, is a no-brainer investment. Please!
Rule 3: DO NOT send me unnecessary paperwork. If you send me papers I have to read, that takes time to read, absorb, make notes and store, and it has to be paid in advance. If you send me 25 minutes worth of reading in preparation for a 1/2 hour consultation, you will get 5 minutes of consultation, and no more. I do not need to read though a year's email exchanges between you and your landlord to "get the flavor" of your relationship; just summarize it in a paragraph and save the details for trial. If you are being evicted, or are otherwise in a lawsuit, I will need to see all paperwork you get, so that I can tell you if you need to do anything in response. Item #103 in the Shopping Cart is a $50 payment for me to review such papers. Maybe it's nothing, but usually it's important and requires you to take some action, and until I see it and talk to you, you won't know what to do next.
Rule 4: TIME is critical, particularly in lawsuits like evictions. If you miss a deadline, you lose, and disaster strikes. If you delay in letting me know about something, I may not be able to take the action you need in time, and you miss the deadline. If you are the type who waits to the last minute to do something, change that with me or find another lawyer. I believe in doing things on time, not missing a single deadline, and keeping the comfort level through the lawsuit. Things like court clerk mistakes or a missing signature, hastily prepared documents, and last minute races to the courthouse do not make for a fun experience. Therefore, let me know at the earliest opportunity what has happened or what you need, so that I can get it done in time and you will be happy.
Alright, let's get going. Push this button and you're going to the
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