Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does your firm accept contingency cases?
   
A: Yes. In fact, more than one-half of our cases are accepted on a contingency basis. However, not all cases are suitable.
   
Q: What type of cases will your firm accept on a contingency basis?
   
A: The cases must meet the following criteria:
   
1) The claim must be by a plaintiff suing for money. If you are suing to force the defendant to do something or refrain from doing something, the case is not suitable, because if you prevail, there will be no money from which to pay our fee.
   
2) The likely judgment amount must be large enough to justify the cost of providing the required legal services when factoring in the risk of prevailing. A legal fees provision in a contract or statute giving the prevailing party the right to their attorney’s fees and costs is an important factor.
   
3) Any judgment against the defendant must be collectible.
   
Q: Why do some law firms refuse to accept cases on a contingency basis?
   
A: Some common reasons are as follows:
   
1) Some law firms do not have the financial resources to accept contingency cases because payment of legal fees can be delayed for a year or more. During the litigation, salaries, rent, utilities, insurance and other costs must be paid by the firm while it waits for the case to settle or go to trial. Many firms do not have the financial resources to accept the risk of not prevailing.
   
2) Some firms are just philosophically opposed to working on cases where payment is not received monthly.
   
Q: Why does your firm choose to accept some cases on a contingency basis given the stated disadvantages?
   
A: First, we recognize that many people in need of legal services cannot afford to pay for the fees on a monthly basis. Their only source of cash to pay their legal fees is to obtain the money from the defendant who caused their harm. Fortunately, we are in a position to help clients who need a contingency fee law firm, assuming the case satisfies the necessary criteria. Secondly, in most contingency cases, we are able to earn more than our standard hourly billing rate. Of course, this is not certain.
   
Q: Will your firm advance costs when it accepts a contingency case?
   
A: Sometimes. After carefully reviewing all of the factors, our firm will often advance some or all of the costs, but not always.
   
Q: Does your firm ever provide discounted legal services to clients?
   
A: Yes. In appreciation of their extraordinary service, Michael T. Chulak and Associates is pleased to offer a 20% discount on all hourly legal services provided to the following:
   
  • Active Duty Military
  • Paramedics
  • Fire Fighters
  • Police Officers
  •  
  • Sheriffs
  •   We also offer the same discount to retired persons over the age of 65 who are renters.
       
    Q: Does your firm ever provide pro bono legal services?
       
    A: Yes. Most of our pro bono legal services are provided to churches, synagogues, non-profits, or charitable organizations or individuals referred by one of these groups. We Amend Living Trusts / Wills Free when you leave a donation to your church or synagogue and regularly provide free legal seminars as a community service.
       
    Q: Does your firm accept credit cards?
       
    A: Yes. We accept VISA and MasterCard.
       
    Q: If I am short of cash, but require legal representation or services, will you consider barter?
       
    A:  Yes. Our firm will consider accepting the following types of property in exchange for legal service: Advertising, California Land or other Real Property, Trust Deeds, Antiques, Political or Historical Memorabilia, Classic Cars, LLC Interests, LP Interests, Stock in Small Corporations, High Quality Jewelry, or Restaurant Gift Certificates. Since our need for services will vary over time, please call to discuss the barter of your goods and / or services for legal services.

    When goods or services are accepted in exchange for legal services, both parties exchange their services based upon the fair market value of the service provided. The IRS requires that the fair market value of goods and services traded must be included in the income of both parties.
       
    Q: Are any of your attorneys available speakers?
       
    A:  Yes. Michael Chulak is available to speak on several topics including, but not limited to, asset protection strategies, legal considerations when starting a business, and homeowner associations - everything you need to know.
       
    Q: Can I have a free legal consultation?
       
    A: Absolutely. Call Michael Chulak at (800) 565-2232 today.  you may also want to attend one of our free legal seminars.
       
    Q: How can I thank you for your no cost initial consultation?
       
    A:  Please let us match your financial donation to ALS Association or L.I.F.E. Animal Rescue.
       
    Q: What is Of Counsel at your law firm?
       
    A: Of Counsel is the title of an attorney who is an independent contractor as opposed to an employee or partner. Attorneys who are Of Counsel pay their own taxes and report their income and expenses as a business.
       
    Q: Does your firm carry professional liability insurance?
       
    A: Yes. Professional liability insurance is intended to protect us and our clients against the possibility of making an error. Obtaining professional liability insurance is standard procedure for all first class law firms. We believe the only reasons a law firm would have no professional liability insurance protection are:
    They cannot obtain it for one reason or another;
    They cannot afford it;
    They have nothing to lose if they suffer a claim; or
    They are willing to gamble.
       
      We believe it is unwise to hire an attorney or law firm that does not protect itself and its clients with appropriate insurance.
       
    Q: Do you represent clients in appeals?
       
    A: We represent clients in California Superior Court cases in all 58 counties. We do not represent clients in felony appeals or in the federal court system.
       
    Q: What are the disadvantages of retaining a sole practitioner attorney?
       
    A: When a person makes the decision to retain an attorney, he or she can retain a sole practitioner or a law firm consisting of two or more attorneys.

    There are significant advantages to hiring a firm and many disadvantages to hiring a sole practitioner.

    In nearly every instance, a team of professionals will produce a better result than a single individual.

    Law is complex and no one attorney can possibly develop a high degree of expertise in every legal subject.

    The fact is that most legal matters involve several areas of the law, and the ability of an attorney to consult with his or her colleagues is critically important and necessary if the attorney is committed to excellence.

    For example, while our law firm is a full service law firm, we focus much of our practice on homeowner association law.

    When advising homeowner associations, as well as individual members of an association, the following areas of law are routinely involved:

    • HOA Law - The Davis-Stirling Act


    • Construction Law


    • Construction Defect Law


    • Employment Law


    • Independent Contractor Law


    • Insurance Law


    • Contract Law


    • Real Estate Law


    • Corporate Law


    • Collection and Bankruptcy Law


    • Foreclosure Law


    • Americans with Disability Act


    • Nuisance Law


    Before your hire a sole practitioner attorney for any matter that can lead to litigation, ask him or her, and yourself, the following questions and see if you are satisfied with the answers:
    • Do you have the staff to handle the work that can be generated by a large aggressive law firm hired by the opposing party?


    • Do you have the financial staying power to litigate a case for two years if necessary? Three years?


    • Can the attorneys hired by the opposing party bury you with work to the point that you will want to settle the case prematurely?


    • Will the opposing law firm perceive you as someone that can be crushed because you don't have the financial resources to take a case to trial?


    • What is your backup plan if you get sick or are injured and cannot work?
       
       
       
       
       



     
     
     
     
     
     

     
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