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What You Can Expect - A General Lawsuit Chronology and Lawsuit General Costs

disclaimer

**Disclaimer: The guidelines outlined herein are for general informational purposes only and should be viewed as a general guideline for your particular civil lawsuit/action. They are not intended to be and should not be used as an "all-encompasing" guideline to your particular case. The costs and general attorney fees estimates stated herein are based on an hourly rate of $225.00 per hour and are general guidelines and you may incur legal fees during a case exceeding or far exceeding the general estimates below. Each civil lawsuit/action is unique of itself and the facts and law applied to your case are unique. While the law may be established for a particular case subject, how the law applies to the facts of your case and the legal issues involved in a case are unique such that the Attorney may be required to do legal work not listed herein below and/or substantial legal research and/or legal writing into an area of the law along with the general items discussed herein below.  If this is being viewed by a Client of Attorney, Schaefer & Associates, it should be used as a general guideline for your particular case/matter only and you should discuss any issues or questions you may have regarding this guideline or relating to legal fees promptly before they become any issue for you in your case.

What to expect

Whether you are suing someone or being sued, a lawsuit is a complicated legal process, and it can be full of stress, unpleasant surprises and frustrating delays. Don't forget, there are at least two parties to every action plus a court or arbitrator, and that means the schedule and the events which take place can be out of your and your attorney's hands at times. There may be multiple appearances which were not anticipated which drive costs and attorney fees up. There may be motions, discovery, and legal research which drive costs and attorney fees up. Nonetheless, some things happen in the same order in most civil litigation, and you can at least get a general idea of what's likely to happen. It will also help to know some of the words and phrases that come up in a lawsuit. Remember to always discuss any questions you may have at any time with your Attorney.

The initial Pleading phase

Each party to a lawsuit file "pleadings" in a case which is a formal statement of the claims made or opposed or the causes of action in a case or defenses of a case.

Initial Document Review

1. The Attorney will discuss the case in detail with you prior to filing the lawsuit or preparing any defense or other pleadings for the case. The Attorney will review all available documents regarding a matter prior to filing any pleading.  This will generally include all contracts and other documents between the parties, all correspondence, all prior pleadings (if taking the case over), all court documents and rulings.

This can take anywhere from a few hours for routine simple matters to multiple days in a particular case and may generally range anywhere from $500.00 to $5,000.00 for general civil matters to even $10,000.00 in some cases to as much as $25,000.00 or even $50,000.00 for complex multi-party litigation. Generally the more parties that are a part of the lawsuit the more expensive the costs and attorney fees will be.

The Complaint (Cross-Complaint) & Response(s)

2. THE COMPLAINT: Litigation begins with the preparation, by the Plaintiff (or Plaintiff's Attorney), of a summons, complaint, civil case cover sheet, and civil case addendums. The complaint describes the casues of action the plaintiff has against the defenadant(s), what the defendant(s) did or failed to do that caused harm to the plaintiff and the legal basis for holding the defendant(s) responsible for that harm.

CROSS-COMPLAINTS: A plaintiff initiates the lawsuit by filing a complaint but a defendant or defendant(s) may also file a cross-complaint which is just a complaint with another name filed by the defendant or defendant(s) against either the plaintiff or a third party. The plaintiff or third party would then become the cross-defendant.

After the summons, complaint, civil case cover sheet, and civil case addendums are prepared and filed with the court (including the payment of court filing fees), the complaint package is then served onto the defendant, usually by way of a process server. The plaintiff may not serve the complaint. The costs of the court fees for Los Angeles Superior Court are found here: http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/civil/UI/#.  Process server fees usually range between approximately $100.00-$500.00 per defendant served. In certain cases where a defendant can not be found a special motion is filed to serve the defendfant(s) via posting and/or publication. The costs for preparing and filing a motion to post/publish may be normally be approximately $500.00-$1,000.00.

The legal research and preparation to prepare a complaint package(or cross-complaint) for a normal civil action usually can take anywhere from a 4-16 hours for a simple routine matter to multiple days in a civil case ranging in cost from approximately $1,200.00 to $10,000.00 for general civil cases to even $25,000.00 in some general cases involving substantial legal research into the issues to more than $25,000.00 for complex multi-party cases.

3. THE RESPONSE(S): The defendant (or cross-defendant if a cross-complaint has been filed) is given a specific amount of time to file a response to the complaint(cross-complaint). The response generally takes the form of either a demurrer, answer, or special motion.  There may also be multiple responses which are filed in a case (ex: first a demurrer coupled with a motion to strike then later after the demurrer/motion to strike hearing an answer). If a response is not timely filed then the plaintiff(cross-complainant) may fle pleadings to request entry of default judgment. The request for entry of default documents usually take approximately an Attorney between 1/2 to4 hours plus process server costs or the time to file if attorney does filing himself.

A: ANSWER: An answer is the most common way to respond to a lawsuit. The answer is the defendant's opportunity to admit or deny the specific allegations brought against them in the complaint (cross-complaint).  The legal research and preparation to prepare an answer for a normal civil action usually takes anywhere from a 4-26 hours for a general civil cases to multiple days in other civil cases ranging in cost from approximately $1,200.00 to $6,000.00 for general civil cases to between $6,000.00 to $10,000.00 in some more complex general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $10,000.00.  An answer is also filed after a demurrer or special motion.
B: DEMURRER: A demurrer is used to tell the court that the allegations in the complaint (cross-complaint) do not provide a legally sufficient reason for the defendant (cross-defendant) to be sued even assuming  (for argument sake of the demurrer  hearing) that all of the allegations in the complaint are true. If a demurrer is granted then the party who lost the demurrer may have an opportunity to amend the complaint(cross-complaint) and then the pleading process starts over again based on the new amended complaint (cross-complaint). A demurrer is less common than an answer and more common than a special motion at the initial pleading stage and filed in certain circumstances.  The legal research and preparation to prepare a demurrer for a normal civil action usually takes anywhere from a 6-40 hours for a general civil cases to multiple days in other civil cases ranging in cost from approximately $1,350.00 to $9,000.00 for general civil cases to between $9,000.00 to $12,000.00 in some more involved general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $12,000.00.
C: SPECIAL MOTION(S): Special intial response motions are not common and generally not prepared and not filed in most civil cases. However, in certain circumstances they are appropriate. The two main types of motions filed in response to a complaint (cross-complaint) are the 1) motion to strike and 2) motion to quash service of the summons. A motion to strike is used to strike out portions (paragraphs, sentences or words usually)of the complaint while a motion to quash service of the summons challenges the method the plaintiff used to serve the complaint. A motion to strike is sometimes used in conjunction with a demurrer.  An answer is usually filed after these motions when the plaintiff corrects the issues challenged or if the defendant loses the special motion.  Sometimes a motion to change venue (change where the lawsuit is being heard) will be filed also.  The legal research and preparation to prepare each special motion for a normal civil action usually takes anywhere from a 6-40 hours for a general civil cases to multiple days in other civil cases ranging in cost from approximately $1,350.00 to $9,000.00 for general civil cases to between $9,000.00 to $12,000.00 in some more complex general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $12,000.00.

4. OFFERS | NEGOTIATIONS FOR SETTLEMENT | MEDIATION: Sometimes your Attorney and you may discuss sending the other side an initial settlement offer or like to make initial settlement discussions or attend mediation. In some contracts mediation is a mandatory requirement prior to litigation. Settlement discussions also usually occur throughout the case from side to side. Most cases settle before trial. However, your Attorney must prepare for trial assuming the case is not going to settle. Settlement discussions and offers and mediation may be done during the pleading stage and/or the discovery stage described below. There are advantages and disadvantages to doing an early initial settlement offer. One advantage is that the case may settle quickly with reduced cost and attorney fees. However, a disadvantage is that you may appear weak to the other side in your facts or legal argument by making early settlement offers or negotiations (even if this isn't the case).

A: CCP § 998 OFFERS: One offer is the California Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 998 offer. A CCP 008 offer is a legal tactic sometimes used in cases. A CCP §998 offer is a settlement offer with strings attached, as provided by law.  It takes its name from the code section from which it derives: California Code of Civil Procedure (“CCP”) § 998.  The primary purpose of section 998 is to encourage the settlement of disputes prior to trial or arbitration.  This purpose is achieved by providing incentives for the party to whom a CCP §998 offer is made to accept the offer.  The main incentive is to avoid penalties for failure to accept if the case goes to trial or binding arbitration.  As explained by one court: “The policy is plain.  It is to encourage a settlement by providing a strong financial disincentive to a party - whether it be a Plaintiff or a Defendant - who fails to achieve a better result than that party could have achieved by accepting his or her opponent’s settlement offer.”  Bank of San Pedro v. Superior Court (1993) 3 Cal.4th 797, 804.
A CCP §998 offer may be made by either party at any time up to 10 days prior to trial or arbitration.  CCP §998(b).  If Plaintiff does not accept a Defendant’s offer and fails to obtain a “more favorable judgment or award,” the penalties for failing to accept are a follows: 
(a) Mandatory Penalties:  Plaintiff loses the right to recover court costs incurred after the CCP §998 offer was made and must, in addition, pay Defendant’s postoffer costs. Plaintiff may still recover preoffer costs if found to be the prevailing party. CCP §998 (e).  These preoffer costs may include attorneys’ fees if provided for by statute or contract CCP §1033.5(a)(10).
(b) Discretionary Penalties:  In addition, the court or arbitrator has discretion to order Plaintiff to pay reasonable expert witnesses fees incurred by Defendant in connection with trial or arbitration.  CCP §998(c). 
 If a Defendant fails to accept a CCP § 998 offer and Plaintiff then obtains a “more favorable judgment or award,” Defendant’s consequences are as follows:
Expert Fees: The court or arbitrator has discretion to order Defendant to pay reasonable post-offer expert witness fees incurred by Plaintiff in connection with trial or arbitration. CCP §998(d).  Defendant is still required to pay Plaintiff its costs and where provided by statute or contract, its attorneys’ fees. The financial penalties for failure to accept a CCP §998 offer provide a strong incentive to seriously consider such offers.  Consequently, CCP §998 offers are well suited for breaking settlement impasse.  The risk of penalties, as described by one court, “...is the stick.  The carrot is that by awarding costs to the putative settler the statute provides a financial incentive to make reasonable settlement offers.” Bank of San Pedro v. Superior Court, supra, 3 Cal.4th at 804.  In other words, a party making a CCP §998 offer must realistically evaluate his or her potential liability or chance of success and make an offer based in amount on that evaluation.  Otherwise, an offer that is unrealistic (i.e., too low or too high) is likely to be beaten at trial or arbitration, in which case the offeror not only loses, but fails to recover any of the penalties to which he or she would have been entitled had the offer been more realistic.
B: Mediation: Mediation is also sometimes used in cases. Moreover, it is sometimes required under a contract prior to litigation. Mediation may be thought of as "assisted negotiation". A mediator is usually selected and paid for jointly by the parties. Mediators are usually lawyers, retired judges or others faniliar with the legal and factual subject areas and impartial and neutral in that they point out the strengths in your case to the opposing parties and the weaknesses to you in your case to try to get a mutual resolution. 

The legal research and preparation to prepare, review, communicate offer or counter-offer to Client and respond to the opposing party relating to a CCP 998 offer for a normal civil action usually takes anywhere from a 2-16 hours for a general civil cases ranging in cost from approximately $500.00 to $3,600.00 for general civil cases to between $3,600.00 to $10,000.00 in some more complex general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $10,000.00 for negotiation. Moreover, if mediation is used for settlement the costs will be more than a CCP  § 998 offer with negotiations with the opposing side due to the mediation costs, the preparation of a mediation brief and the attorney's time for attendance time for mediation. If mediation is used it usually takes between 2 to 24 hours ranging in cost from approximately $1,500.00 to $12,000.00 for general civil cases to between $12,000.00 to $20,000.00 in some more complex general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $20,000.00.

The pleading stage usually takes between 30 days to 180 days. However, in many cases and depending on the schedule of the court, the pleadings phase can take more than 6 months and even over a year sometimes. After the response and pleading stage are over the case moves to the discovery phase.

the discovery phase

The parties (or multiple parties) then enter into the discovery phase after the initial pleading stage. In the discovery phase the parties use different discovery tools to discovery the facts of the case and, in further detail, the particular legal arguments which are strongest. Discovery is usually done to the other parties through written discovery consisting of special and form interrogatories, request for production of documents, and request for admissions. Discovery also usually includes deposition(s) of the opposing party witness and sometimes third party witnesses. Documents and/or depositions of third parties are obtained through the use of subpoenas. Discovery is also done through the use of and hiring of expert witnesses.  Discovery is usually done by all parties in a case so that your Attorney would be preparing written discovery on your behalf to be answered by the other parties, be preparing and taking depositions, and/or retaining expert witnesses on your behalf (if need be). Your Attorney would also be responding to the other party's (parties) written discovery, attending the other parties deposition, defending and assiting you in any deposition you may take, and

Written Discovery

Written discovery in the form of interrogatories, request for production of documents, and request for admissions is usually done in most cases by all parties. Examination of Property is used sparingly usually in cases involving real property disputes. Subpoenas are used in many cases where information is needed from third parties.

5. INTERROGATORIES: Interrogatories are written questions propounded onto the other party (parties) in a case. They can be specific questions (special interrogatories) or questions written by the judicial council relating to certain subject matters or types of cases (form interrogatories). There can also be multiple sets of interrogatories sent and received by each party. If interrogatories are received it is imperative that they are properly responded to or a motion to compel (MTC) may be filed to compel a response or for more severe discovery sanctions if it is the second time or more. Vice-versa, if the opposing party fails to properly respond to your discovery then you may file a MTC. If a MTC is required to get discovery and filed then the winning party usually is awarded their attorney fees and costs for the filing and success of that MTC. A MTC usually takes approximately 4 to 40 hours and costs approximately $900.00 to $9,000.00 for general civil cases. A MTC is usually prepared for all written discovery that wasn't properly responded to by the other party. A MTC may also be used to compel attendance at a deposition under subpoena of a third party witness.

Usually some further document and pleading review is also required and done to prepare or respond to interrogatories. Moreover, there is also consultation done with the Client to get responses for interrogatories. Finally, the Attorney also reviews evidentiary rules and prepares objections to all of the opposing parties interrogatories.  These costs and attorney fees vary from case to case.

The legal research and preparation to prepare interrogatories for a normal civil action usually takes anywhere from a 4-40 hours for a general civil cases ranging in cost from approximately $900.00 to $9,000.00 for general civil cases to between $9,000.00 to $20,000.00 in some more involved general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $20,000.00. Furthermore, the time to respond to each opposing parties written discovery device is approximately the same amount of time and estimated cost.

6. REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS: Request for production of documents (RFP) is where one party asks the other party(parties) for documents relating to specific issues and the entire case.  FOR RFP's the parties exchange documents relevant to the case or likely to lead to admissible evidence. A RFP request may also be used coupled with a deposition as described below either on an opposing party(parties) or a third party (through subpoena). There can also be multiple sets of RFP's sent and received by each party. If RFP's are received it is imperative that they are properly responded to or a motion to compel (MTC) may be filed to compel a response or for more severe discovery sanctions if it is the second time or more. Vice-versa, if the opposing party fails to properly respond to your discovery then your Attorney may file a MTC. The MTC process and costs, as described above in interrogatories, also applies to RFP's.

Usually some further document and pleading review is also required and done to prepare or respond to RFP's. Moreover, there is also consultation done with the Client to get responses and documents. Finally, the Attorney also reviews evidentiary rules and prepares objections to all of the opposing parties RFP's.  Moreover, there may be bates stamping costs (copy costs)for documents. These costs and attorney fees vary from case to case.

The legal research and preparation to prepare RFP's for a normal civil action usually takes anywhere from a 4-40 hours for a general civil cases ranging in cost from approximately $900.00 to $9,000.00 for general civil cases to between $9,000.00 to $20,000.00 in some more involved general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $20,000.00. Furthermore, the time to respond to each opposing parties written discovery device is approximately the same amount of time and estimated cost.

7. REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS: Request for admissions (RFA) is where one party(parties) asks the other to admit or deny certain facts or legal conclusions. It is used to limit the items which need to be discussed and evaluated at trial.  the same costs and MTC process applies to RFA's.

8. EXAMINATION OF PROPERTY: A RFP process may also be used to examine real property in certain cases. Usually this is done in consultation with expert witnesses. Often times this is done where there is a dispute over real property or construction on real property. The costs vary from case to case but they can easily exceed $5,000.00 or even $10,000.00 in general civil cases where this discovery tool is used with expert witness consultation.

9. DECLARATIONS: Declarations are written statements made under oath that are sometimes obtained for use in motions which are filed. The costs for preparing and obtaining declarations vary from case to case but declarations are needed for MTC and other motions.  Preparation, discussing and obtaining a declaration in a general civil case usually ranges from $150.00 to $1,000.00 each.

10. SUBPOENAS: Subpoenas are used to compel a third party to give documents and/or to attend a deposition of a third party witness. Subpeonas are used to discovery third party information. Preparation of a subpoena usually coupled witha RFP and/or deposition request in a general civil case usually ranges from 1.5 to  8 hours from $337.50 to $1,800.00 each. In many instances subpoenas may exceed this cost estimate.

A NOTE ABOUT MOTIONS: As described above a MTC can be used by your attorney or the opposing party (parties).  Many cases there will be MTC's filed on both sides or multiple MTC filed throughout the case. When any motion, including a MTC,  is filed or opposed it will certainly add to the costs of litigation and likely exceed and be a minimum of $2,000.00 for its preparation or opposition. Other types of motions like Motions for Sumary Judgment are likely to far exceed these estimates.

Depositions

A deposition is witness's sworn out-of-court testimony. It used to gather information as part of the discovery process and, in limited circumstances, may be used at trial. The witness being deposed is called the "deponent."

Depositions usually do not directly involve the court. The process is initiated and supervised by the parties. Usually, the only persons present at a deposition are the deponent, attorneys for all interested parties, and a person qualified to administer oaths. Sometimes depositions are recorded by a stenographer, although electronic recordings are increasingly common. At the deposition, all parties may question the witness. Lawyers may not coach their clients' testimony, and their ability to object to deposition questions is usually limited.

In a civil case, the opposing party(parties) will usually be deposed and you are likely to be deposed.  The Attorney will likely usually prepare extensively in advance for the deposition by reviewing documents, statements, pleadings, previous written discovery responses, and other items in the case.  This dvanced preparation time usually takes aproximately 4 to 40 hours in general civil cases per each deposition and in involved civil cases may exceed 40 hours. Each deposition will usually last at least 4 hours and most depositions are in the range of 8 to 16 hours. Some depositions in involved civil cases last longer than 16 hours.

Moreover, a certified shorthand reporter is required to administer the deposition and to obtain the deposition transcript. These costs usually range between $5.00 to $12.00 per page of transcript in costs. This certified shorthand reporter cost most often will be approximately $500.00 to $2,500.00 for general civil cases per deposition.

The attorney fees for legal research and preparation to prepare for a single deposition and the taking of the deposition for a normal civil action usually cost from approximately $1,800.00 to $12,600.00 for the taking of each deposition for general civil cases to between $12,600.00 to $20,000.00 in some more involved general civil cases. In other multi-party complex cases the costs may exceed $20,000.00. Furthermore, the time to prepare a client for and defend a deposition is approximately the same time and costs. For third party witnesses depositions where an attorney is attending the deposition and not taking the deposition or asking many questions, the costs may be reduced due to less preparation time.

For each deposition, your attorney will also obtain and thoroughly review the deposition transcript. The time and attorney fees for review of each deposition transcript for a normal civil action usually takes approximately 4 to 32 hours each transcript and cost from approximately $900.00 to $7,200.00 in a general civil case. In certain involved or complex cases the attorney fees and time may certainly exceed this amount.

Legal Motions

Before trial or during the discovery phase the parties may use various motions to ask the court to rule, act, or exclude certain evidence.  A common motion, known as the Motion to Compel, has been discussed above. There are numerous different motions that may be made in any particular case which pertain to the specific law and facts of the case. The motions may seek clarification of procedural or substantive disputes between the parties, through their attorneys. There are some motions which are more common than others and some motions which are more involved and expensive than others. Generally any motion (whether filing or opposing) will cost the client approximately at least $2,000.00 in attorney fees and/or costs each and many motions including more involved motions, such as a motion for summary judgment, may cost the client between $3,000.00 to $20,000.00 each in general civil cases. In some general civil cases the costs for all motions could likely exceed this figure.

Motion for Summary Judgment (MSJ): Frequently, during the litigation process one or both of the parties involved will attempt to use a procedural device known as the motion for summary judgment to dismiss certain issues from the case. As the name implies, the motion for summary judgment is a motion filed by one of the parties seeking to obtain a judgment on all or part of the case in a summary fashion. An issue or case which is decided by summary judgment is not allowed to be presented to a judge or jury at trial. In other words, the motion for summary judgment is a method to decide an issue (or the whole case), without the need for a trial.
The legal standard imposed by most jurisdictions requires that in order for a summary judgment to be granted by the court, the party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate that there are "no genuine issues of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." What this means in laymen's terms is that the undisputed facts presented in a particular case entitle one side to win because of the existing law relating to that issue.

Expert Witnesses

For some cases expert witnesses will need to be retained and obtained and enough time allowed for the expert witnesses to review critical documents, examine property, and do other things to form their opinion.  Generally speaking, experts may testify on any subject within their area of expertise so long as their testimony will assist the jury, about their conclusions in a case so long as their analysis is scientifically sound.  Expert witness fees usually range in the thousands of dollars if retained. These are often retained for real property and/or construction dispute cases.  Sometimes, handwriting experts are retained in general civil cases where there is a dispute over documents or document signatures.

The Duration and Timing of Litigation

The duration of the pleading phase, discovery phase and litigation of the case in general depend on umerous factors such as the issues in the case, the amount of discovery propounded or responded to, the number and timing of motions relating to the case, and the court scheduling and availability. Currently, most courts in California are backlogged with cases and their schedules and timing are months away to schedule a motion of other hearing (unless the case requires expedited timing preference such as in unlawful detainer cases).  Many times trial will be scheduled by the court at least one year from when the case was filed or more (unless the case requires expedited timing preference such as in unlawful detainer cases).  The parties attorneys, guided by the rules of court and procedure, usually set the timing of discovery and set motions before trial. Trial dates and discovery cut off dates are set by the court.

trial preparation and trial phase

Your attorney will be preparing for trial through use of the pleading and discovery phases described above. However, in addition to that preparation there is extensive preparation, time and expense required to prepare for the trial. Towards the end of the discovery phase, your attorney will begin to thoroughly review all of the documents, pleadings, deposition transcripts and evidence in a case and prepare for the actual trial. Your attorney will prepare all exhiits to be presented at trial, any special motions in limine to exclude the other parties evidence, prepare questions (direct examination and cross examination) for all witnesses which will or may testify at trial, and prepare any trial briefs.

Some trials, known as "bench trials," do not involve a jury and are decided by the judge alone. Other trials are jury trials. In a jury trial, both parties question potential jurors during a selection process known as "voir dire." Once the trial begins, each party presents its outline of the case in an opening statement. Then, the parties present evidence. Each party may call witnesses or introduce documents and exhibits in support of its arguments. After each witness is called and questioned, the opposing party has an opportunity to cross-examine the witness. The plaintiff presents evidence first, then the defendant. Sometimes, the plaintiff is allowed to present additional evidence, called rebuttal evidence, after the defendant has finished presenting its case. Once all the evidence has been presented, the parties give their closing arguments. After closing arguments, the court instructs the jury on the law to be applied to the evidence. The jury or judge (for bench trials) then deliberates and reaches a decision or verdict.

The time and attorney fees for preparation for trial varies widely from case to case depending on the facts of the case and law applicabe to the case. However, some general guidelines for a normal civil action for usually and customary general trial preparation costs for general civil cases range between $2,500.00 to $30,000.00. In some more involved general civil cases the costs may easily exceed $30,000.00.

conclusion

This guide is meant to help assist people in the general process of litigation and the costs and attorney fees expected for general civil cases in California.  As indicated above, no two cases are alike and many of the estimated costs, fees and procedures herein may vary from case to case depending on the facts and law of case, the needs of the case, the attorney's judgment and actual time involved that the attorney spends on your case. Please make sure that you communicate with your attorney throughout the case about all of the facts of the case. Disclose all facts relating to the other party early on in the case so your attorney is not surprised by any facts and always discuss any issues you may have with your attorney, including any issues regarding this general guide and attorney fees or costs relating to a case, before they become an issue.  We are here to help you throughout the way during your litigation or other legal matter.

Please contact Schaefer and Associates today at (661)722-7700, if you have not previously done so, for an initial consultation to retain us. We look forward to hearing from you soon.