DO NOT pay for this service unless you have first gotten the associate attorney's commitment to be able to appear for you. You may also need to pay court charges for connection, such as CourtCall.
We encourage our clients to make court appearances without an attorney wherever possible. Coaching and paperwork is usually all that is needed, and in most cases, you can "submit on the papers," meaning that your paperwork speaks for itself and you will not actually be there for court hearing. This is significant cost saving for you, and frustrates that landlord who cannot run up your bill so that you cannot afford to continue fighting. Sometimes, it does make a difference.
You have the option, IF one of our staff attorneys is available to attend for you, to pay for that court appearance and have the attorney speak on your behalf, As a result of the COVID crisis, the courts have used Zoom and other online systems, as well as the CourtCall phone connection, to enable parties and attorneys to "attend" the court hearing remotely. This saves the lawyer's time and your money in commuting to and from the court, and removes the distance factor of the lawyer being available to attend for you. There may be an additional cost for those remote connections, as CourtCall charges about $100 just to enable that service. That cost is less than the attorney's commuting cost would be. IF your assigned attorney can appear in court, because they can attend and are not otherwise booked, then this option is available. .
You are paying for the lawyer's time at $300 per hour. The charge for the court appearance is a minimum of $300, and by purchasing this item, you are promising to pay for the actual time spent beyond the first hour. The reality of court hearings is that the judge requires everyone to be there at the beginning, but then goes through the cases one by one, until the judge gets to yours. This means that your lawyer may have to wait a while before your case is heard by the judge, sometimes as much as 2 hours, which you are paying for, even though nothing is done for you during that time.
Another uncertain part of the process is the preparation for the hearing. To be your lawyer for the hearing, the lawyer must "substitute in" to officially be your lawyer, and the "substitute out" after the hearing is over, returning you to the status of officially representing yourself ["in pro per"]. Time to review the papers and issues, go over the situation with you and possibly prepare you for your testimony, may also be involved. If a different lawyer must be assigned to make that appearance, that lawyer may have to review the issues and papers to become familiar and ready for the argument.
This item does not apply to trials or depositions, where a much greater amount of time will be required, and your attorney will advise you of the approximate costs for that.