1) If the free information on the website and the Kits did not provide what you need to know, then a consultation with a lawyer is what you need. There are no paralegals giving information as many other low-cost services offer. These consultations are ONLY with an experienced lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant law representing tenants. There are different ways to arrange for the consultation.
2) Unlike most legal consultations, these are entirely by phone or Skype, so you don’t need to leave your home to learn what you need. All payments are online by card or PayPal. All services are piecemeal, like a legal vending machine, so you control the costs. Accounting is electronic through the shopping cart’s optional registration and sign-in feature, as well as on request to CalTenantLaw.com. All documents are faxed or scanned to PDF format, so there is no paperwork to lose or mis-order.
3) Consultations are normally verbal over the phone, but can be by email upon request. Emailed communications except to correct mistakes in paperwork, arrange a consultation time, or request accounting information, are all billed as consultation time with a minimum of $75 payment required.
$6/min. for unlimited time during scheduled hours.
As the name implies, this would be an immediate consultation with the lawyer; because it is disruptive of the lawyer’s workflow and is in essence a “rush job”.
½ hour for $150 — This is where to start, in all cases. It is highly organized, cost-effective, and extremely helpful. It is by most accounts an extremely valuable session. This is not the “free consultation” pitched on TV where the lawyer explains what they’re going to charge you, but no more. This is a heavy information session, where you will learn what your rights are, what the real situation is, the strategy of how to achieve what you want, expected landlord tactics, and the next steps you will need to take. Eliminate the anxiety of not knowing, to emerge with peace of mind, confidence, understanding, and a plan. You will download two PDF files immediately after, one of instructions for the consultation and the other of forms you will fill out and submit prior to the consultation. You will have the ability to submit a fax or PDF scan of the Complaint of other paperwork you have [Please, no pictures of documents!]. The consultation can be scheduled for the same day you order it, or the next day, even on weekends.
½ hour for $150 After you have had the initial consultation, this is the preferred consultation thereafter. As with the initial consultation, immediately after paying, you are directed to a download page with a followup consultation form, explaining what has occurred with the last consultation and what you want to know now. This may involve additional paperwork which should also be sent in. It can be divided into two sessions [e.g., 15 and 15 or 20 and 10], but no more.
1/4 hour for $75 — You may and probably will get paperwork from the landlord, their lawyer, the court, or otherwise. Most times it is important and something should be done in response to it. Bring it to our attention immediately, so that you don’t miss a deadline and the required response will be done.
1 hour for $300 > OR 2 hours for $600 > — In pinning the landlord down on their case and whatever opposition they may have to your defenses, you need to submit paperwork to them asking questions and requesting paperwork. Usually, the landlord is uncooperative, realizing that they will lose the case if they reveal their weaknesses, so they don’t properly respond. At that point, you need to have the lawyer review their responses and advise what is best to do. A lawyer has to go over these responses with you, and that takes time, but it is valuable in terms of identifying what your landlord is trying to hide and going for the jugular.
1/2 hour for $150 — While it is rare in eviction cases, when you sue your landlord there will probably be a deposition of you, and you need to be prepared for it so that you are not afraid, don’t make bad mistakes, and have control over the situation to keep your case intact and make them nervous about fighting you.
1 hour for $300 — Trial is coming up and you want to be sure that you are ready. This is the empowerment session where you are advised of what your case is, going over what you will need, helping with organization, and giving you the comfort level you want to scare the landlord into surrender. Since there are several types of additional services you may want and need, they will be discussed at this time.
Having the lawyer on call when you are in court – $150 -up to ½ hour — Most clients find it invaluable when they are in court, such as at trial, and something unusual happens, or help is needed to negotiate a settlement agreement. You pay, whether you use it or not, to have top priority to immediately reach Ken Carlson to find out what to do in your given situation.
You may decide that you want a lawyer to handle your case in its entirety, or just get a second opinion. For your convenience, here is a list of tenant lawyers identified by region and city, whom you may consult. They are affiliates of California Tenant Law and not employees, so you pay whatever rates they charge independently of whatever you are doing through California Tenant Law.
There are several legal organizations in California which provide low cost legal services to tenants, including Legal Aid, California Rural Legal Services, Basta, and Bet Tzedek. Most of them rely upon paralegals to meet with and advise you, and prepare legal paperwork. Some charge a small amount, other are free or use a sliding scale. You pay whatever they charge. However, keep in mind that with rare exception, they do not do much more than help you fill out an Answer in an eviction case. You should not expect them to “buy time” for you by filing various motions that have that effect. IF you are lucky, you will talk to a lawyer, and if even luckier, you may get to have them in court for you.