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What is a legal service?


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A Description of Legal Services
 

  • ​Coaching - Your attorney will consult with you about your problem, give you legal advice, and help you formulate a plan for what to do.  If you are in a situation such as small claims court, where you cannot have an attorney appear with you in court, your attorney will coach you 
     
  • Case Investigation and Assessment - Your attorney will research the facts of your situation, including interviewing you and others involved, in order to be able to give you meaningful, useful advice and to best advocate for you.
     
  • Legal Research & Report - Your attorney will research the legal issues implicated by your situations, in order to be able to give you meaningful, useful advice and to best advocate for you.
     
  • Negotiate Plea/Sentence - Your attorney will negotiate with the government on your behalf regarding whether they will offer you a plea bargain (agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser offense) and what your sentence will be (for example, a fine, a record, probation, jail time).
     
  • Negotiate Fine/Penalty - Your attorney will negotiate with the government on your behalf regarding what your fine or penalty will be.  
     
  • Single Motion, Pleading or Brief - Your attorney will prepare documents to be filed in court on your behalf.
     
  • Single Motion, Pleading or Brief, Case Dispositive or Complex - Sometimes the documents your attorney has to prepare to file in court on your behalf are complicated and/or contain many filings at once as part of making a motion to the court. At times, they can be so important that your case could be decided based on the papers and arguments submitted.  If that is the situation, your attorney will charge you for a complex motion, pleading or brief.
     
  • Single Discovery Request or Response - When you are in litigation (involved in a court case) and your attorney needs to force the other side to give you information that can be used in motions or at trial before the court, or the other side asks you for information, your attorney will make the appropriate request or response.
     
  • Single Deposition - A deposition is a formal interview, recorded before a court reporter and taken by an attorney, where what is said can be used in motions or at trial before the court.  Your attorney will take a deposition of a witness for you, or represent you if the other side has asked for your deposition.
     
  • Single Deposition, Complex or Multi-Day - Sometimes the deposition that your attorney needs to take of other witnesses, or sometimes when your attorney is defending you at deposition, the deposition is especially important for the outcome of your case, or raises complex issues and involves many documents.  Sometimes, the deposition takes longer than anticipated or more than a day. If that is the situation, your attorney will charge you for a complex deposition.
     
  • Single Court Appearance - Your attorney will go into court on your behalf and advocate for you in front of the judge.  
     
  • Plea Agreement - Your attorney will prepare and present any agreement reached with the government concerning what charges you agree to accept, and the sentence you will face (for example, a fine, a record, probation, jail time).
     
  • Single Mediation Appearance - Your attorney will go with you and represent you if you attend a mediation, which is a session conducted by a third person (often, but not always, a retired judge), designed to help you reach an agreement with the other side so that you resolve issues without having to go to trial.  Your attorney will help explain the process to you, assert your interests on those points that are most important to you, and make sure you understand what you are agreeing to at mediation. If you do not reach agreement with the other side during the mediation, you can continue with your case.
     
  • Settlement Agreement - If you are involved in a dispute that might go to trial, your attorney will prepare any agreement you reach with the other side to resolve or settle your dispute.  This will serve as a formal, binding contract.
     
  • Record Preparation for Trial - If you have to go to trial on your case, your attorney will have to compile all the evidence and present it to the court in a way it can be used at trial, before the trial begins.
     
  • Expert Witness Report & Presentation - Often if you have to go to trial in your case, your attorney will recommend using a report or testimony from an expert witness to help the jury or the judge understand the evidence or resolve an important issue. Your attorney will charge you legal fees for working with the expert witness. The expert witness will probably also charge you fees, which will be negotiated and paid for as separate, additional fees.
     
  • Trial Motion or Brief - If you have to go to trial in your case, your attorney may write a brief explaining your position to the court, or make a motion during trial on your behalf.
     
  • Trial Appearance, Daily - Going to trial involves a lot of work for your attorney.  Your attorney will charge you for each day they go to trial on your behalf.
     
  • Post-Trial Briefing (to the Trial Court) - After trial is over, the court will often request or allow the attorneys to submit written legal argument explaining why the court should rule in their favor. 
     
  • Initiating Appeal or Appellate Motion - If you have lost at trial on one or more points, an attorney can often initiate an appeal on your behalf, asking a higher court of appeals to review the legal issues involved.  Or, sometimes if you or the other side has initiated an appeal, your attorney will have to make a motion asking the court of appeals to find in your favor on some point of law involved in the appeal.
     
  • Appellate Record Preparation - If you file an appeal, your attorney will have to create a written record of all the important evidence and rulings to be reviewed by the court of appeals. If the other side files an appeal, your attorney will have to create a written record of evidence and rulings as well, to defend you against the appeal.
     
  • Appellate Brief - If you file an appeal, your attorney will draft a written brief to the court of appeals explaining the legal points you want to have reconsidered and the reasons you should win the appeal.  If the other side files an appeal, your attorney will explain why the jury or trial court got the answers right, and why you should win the appeal.
     
  • Appellate Oral Argument - if you or the other side has filed an appeal, your attorney will go to the court of appeals, make arguments on your behalf, and answer all of the judges’ questions regarding the case and the legal issues involved.
     
  • Petition for Expungement/Sealing of Record - If you have a criminal record, in certain circumstances it can be expunged (meaning it will be erased) or it can be sealed (meaning it will not be available to be viewed by others).  Your attorney can prepare a request to expunge or seal your record on your behalf.
     
  • Review & Draft Contracts, Agreements, or Policies - Your attorney will review a contract, agreement, or policy your business has, make suggestions, or draft one for you.
     
  • Negotiate Contracts, Agreements, or Policies - Your attorney will negotiate a contract, agreement, or policy for you or your business, with your business partner, their attorney, or another person as appropriate.
     
  • Review & Draft Correspondence - Sometimes one of the most important things your attorney can do for you is write a persuasive letter on your behalf explaining your position and making a written record of it.
     
  • Demand Letter - If your dispute with someone else, a business, or business partner is escalating, your attorney will write a formal letter on your behalf, which will serve as a demand that they take certain action or face a lawsuit, and which create a written record of your position in the event you do decide to file a lawsuit.
     
  • Preparing Business Forms - Your attorney will prepare any official forms that your business needs (e.g., incorporation documents, registration forms).
     
  • Preparing Copyright Registration - Your attorney will prepare a copyright registration for you if you have an original work of authorship, which will give you the exclusive right to reproduce the work.
     
  • Patent Application: Provisional - Your attorney will prepare a provisional patent application for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) for you, which will describe your invention and allow you to file a full and complete patent application at a later time.
     
  • Provisional Patent Search - The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) requires that you search for and explain other inventions that are (or may be) similar to yours as part of applying for a patent. Your attorney will conduct the search and explain the other inventions for you.
     
  • Illustrations for Provisional Patent Application - Often it is necessary to create and submit drawings to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to explain your invention, as part of filing a provisional patent application. Your attorney will create those for you.
     
  • Trademark Application - Your attorney will prepare a trademark application for you if you want to protect your brand, which will give you the exclusive right to use a name, slogan, or design for commercial purposes.
     
  • Response to USPTO Office Action - Often once you have applied for a trademark, often the examining attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will have questions or concerns about your application that need to be resolved, or your application will be rejected. Your attorney will respond to any of the examining attorney’s questions that can be addressed in a straightforward manner (meaning those that can be addressed by a phonecall or simple written response).
     
  • Response to USPTO Office Action, Complex - Often once you have applied for a trademark, often the examining attorney at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) will have questions or concerns about your application that need to be resolved, or your application will be rejected. Often that will require a substantial, written response with factual and legal arguments. Your attorney will prepare that response for you.
     
  • USPTO Maintenance Documents - The United States Patent and Trademark Office requires you to make periodic filings, pursuant to set deadlines, to keep your patent or trademark “alive” and in good standing. Your attorney will advise you of these deadlines and prepare the documents you need to submit.
     
  • Tax Forms & Related Documents - Your attorney will prepare simple, tax-related documents on your behalf.
     
  • Responding to State Assessment or Audit - If you have received a notice from your state’s tax authority, your attorney will prepare a single written response on your behalf.
     
  • Responding to IRS Assessment or Audit - If you have received a notice from the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), your attorney will prepare a single written response on your behalf.
     
  • Credit Counseling & Negotiation of Credit - Your attorney will analyze your situation, advise you and help you make a plan to handle your debt, and will negotiate on your behalf if appropriate.
     
  • Review & Draft Contracts, Agreements, or Debt Restructuring Plans - If you have reached an agreement with your creditors about how to handle your debt, your attorney will assist you with reviewing or drafting any contracts, agreements, or repayment plans you have agreed to.  This contemplates that you want to handle your debt outside of the bankruptcy process. 
     
  • Negotiate Contracts, Agreements, or Debt Restructuring Plans - If you need assistance negotiating with your creditors and restructuring your debts or creating repayment plans, your attorney will assist you with reaching an agreement. This contemplates that you want to handle your debt outside of the bankruptcy process. 
     
  • Bankruptcy Counseling - Your attorney will analyze your situation, advise you and help you make a plan to handle your debt, which will include counseling you as to whether bankruptcy is a viable option for you, and if so, which type of bankruptcy you should consider filing.
     
  • Preparing Bankruptcy Petition - If you decide after consulting with your attorney to file for bankruptcy to discharge your debts, your attorney will prepare the documents to initiate the bankruptcy process. 
     
  • Preparing Documents for Bankruptcy Court - If you have applied for bankruptcy, your attorney will prepare documents for the Court on your behalf to facilitate the process. 
     
  • Single Court Appearance, Bankruptcy Court - Your attorney will go into bankruptcy court on your behalf and advocate for your financial interests in front of the judge or trustee.
     
  • Preparing Bankruptcy Plan, Chapter 7 - A Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidating assets and paying creditors in keeping with the provisions of the bankruptcy code (unsecured debt is wiped out without being paid). Your attorney will create a plan to facilitate the liquidation and repayment process. 
     
  • Preparing Documents for Bankruptcy Court, Chapter 7 - If you have applied for chapter 7 bankruptcy, your attorney will prepare documents for the Court on your behalf to facilitate the process. 
     
  • Single Bankruptcy Court Appearance, Chapter 7 - Your attorney will go into bankruptcy court on your behalf and advocate for your financial interests in front of the judge or trustee.
     
  • Bankruptcy Plan, Chapter 11 - A Chapter 11 bankruptcy involves reorganizing your business affairs, debts, and assets if your business requires time to restructure.  Your attorney will create a plan to facilitate the reorganizing, restructuring and repayment process.
     
  • Preparing Documents for Bankruptcy Court, Chapter 11 - If you have applied for chapter 11 bankruptcy, your attorney will prepare documents for the Court on your behalf to facilitate the process. 
     
  • Single Bankruptcy Court Appearance, Chapter 11 - Your attorney will go into bankruptcy court on your behalf and advocate for your financial interests in front of the judge or trustee.
     
  • Preparing Bankruptcy Plan, Chapter 13 (Personal) - A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows people the chance to pay creditors and discharge debts without having to sacrifice important assets like a home or a car. Your attorney will create a plan to facilitate the repayment process. 
     
  • Preparing Bankruptcy Plan, Chapter 13 (Business) - A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to keep your assets while reorganizing and paying off all or a portion of your debts through a repayment plan. Your attorney will create a plan to facilitate the repayment process. 
     
  • Preparing Documents for Bankruptcy Court, Chapter 13 - If you have applied for chapter 13 bankruptcy, your attorney will prepare documents for the Court on your behalf to facilitate the process. 
     
  • Single Bankruptcy Court Appearance, Chapter 13 - Your attorney will go into bankruptcy court on your behalf and advocate for your financial interests in front of the judge or trustee.
     
  • Adoption Petition - If you want to adopt, formal paperwork needs to be filed in court to start the adoption process.  Your attorney will prepare that for you.
     
  • Guardianship Petition - If you want to become a guardian of a child, which allows you to make legal decisions for the child (without terminating the parental rights of the child’s parents), formal paperwork needs to be filed in court to start the guardianship process.  Your attorney will prepare that for you.
     
  • Divorce Petition - If you are getting divorced, formal paperwork needs to be filed in court to start the process of dissolving the marriage and dividing your marital assets.  Your attorney will prepare that paperwork for you.
     
  • Child Custody or Visitation Plan, or Motion - If you need assistance negotiating or setting up a custody plan for your children, including where they will live and how often they will visit each parent, or if you need to ask the court to enforce or change a custody or visitation plan, your attorney will prepare that agreement or make that motion for you.
     
  • Spousal Support Plan, or Motion - If you are divorcing and need assistance negotiating or establishing an agreement providing that one spouse will make regular support payments to the other, or if you need to ask the court to enforce or change the amount of spousal support being paid, your attorney will prepare that agreement or make that motion for you.
     
  • Child Support Plan, or Motion - If you need assistance negotiating or establishing an agreement providing that a parent will make regular support payments for their child, or if you need to ask the court to enforce or change the amount of child support being paid, your attorney will prepare that agreement or make that motion for you.
     
  • Emergency Motion for Restraining Order or Protective Order - If you have concerns for your safety or those of your children because of domestic violence, your attorney can prepare a motion for a court order of protection, asking the court to prohibit the violent person from contacting you or being near you.
     
  • Response to Emergency Motion for Restraining Order or Protective Order - If a motion for a protective order has been filed against you alleging that you are violent, your attorney will prepare a written response for the court on your behalf.
     
  • Single, Motion, Pleading, USCIS Form or Petition - If you need immigration paperwork filed with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (“USCIS”), your attorney will prepare it for you.
     
  • Single, Motion, Pleading, USCIS Form or Petition: Complex - If you need immigration paperwork filed with the United States Customs and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) that involves substantive factual or legal argument, your attorney will prepare it for you.
     
  • Single USCIS Interview Appearance - Often if you have made an application to stay in the United States or if you are facing deportation or removal proceedings, you will be interviewed by the United States Customs and Immigration Service (“USCIS”). Your attorney will prepare you and represent you at the interview.
     
  • Single Immigration Court Appearance: Administrative Appearance - Your attorney will go to immigration court on your behalf, for administrative matters (e.g., for case calendaring issues).
     
  • Single Immigration Court Appearance: Substantive - Your attorney will go to immigration court on your behalf, for important hearings and argument.
     
  • Single Immigration Court Appearance: Emergency - If you have a pressing deadline and need emergency representation on an immigration matter, your attorney will go into court on your behalf.
     
  • Board of Immigration Appeals Petition or Brief - If you have lost your application to stay in the United States, meaning it has been denied by the United States Customs and Immigration Service (“USCIS”), your attorney will initiate an appeal on your behalf, asking the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider your application based on the facts and law relevant to your situation.
     
  • Oral Argument to Board of Immigration Appeals - If you have made an appeal asking Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider your immigration application, your attorney will go to the Board of Immigration Appeals on your behalf an argue your case.
     
  • Federal Circuit Court, Appellate Petition or Brief - If you lost your appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the last step your attorney can take is to initiate an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court on your behalf, to argue that legal errors have been made in denying your application.  Your attorney will either initiate the appeal or prepare a written brief to the Federal Circuit Court on your behalf.
     
  • Oral Argument to Federal Circuit Court - If you have made an appeal to the Federal Circuit Court on your immigration application, your attorney will go to the Federal Circuit Court on your behalf and argue your case.
     
  • Review & Draft Contracts, Agreements, Leases or Subleases - If you need to have a contract reviewed or created involving your property, be that a lease,  sublease, or other type of agreement, your attorney will review what you have, make suggestions, or prepare a contract for you.
     
  • Negotiate Contracts, Agreements, Leases or Subleases - If you are having discussions with another person, business, or their attorney regarding your property, your attorney will negotiate a deal or contract for you.
     
  • Prepare Title, Sale, or Transfer Documents - If you are buying or selling property or want to transfer title, your attorney will prepare the necessary legal documents.
     
  • Prepare Property Tax Documents - If you need to contest your property tax bill or assessment, or file other property tax documents, your attorney will prepare them for you.
     
  • Draft Will - If you need a simple will drafted to provide for how you want your property distributed upon your death, and/or who you want to have custody of your children, your attorney will prepare a will for you.
     
  • Draft Will, Complex or Multi-Party - If you need a will to provide for how you want your property distributed upon your death, and/or who you want to have custody of your children, and that will is relatively complicated because your estate is substantial or you have several heirs, your attorney will prepare a more complex will for you.
     
  • Draft Trust - If you need to have a trust created to hold your assets and avoid probate costs, taxes and other issues, your attorney will prepare a trust for you.
     
  • Draft Trust, Complex or Multi-Party - If you need to have a trust created to hold your assets and avoid probate costs, taxes and other issues, and that trust is relatively complicated because your estate is substantial or you have several heirs, your attorney will prepare a more complex trust for you.
     
  • Petition for Conservatorship - If you need to apply to the court to have legal authority to care for and make decisions for another adult because that person is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of handling their own affairs, your attorney will prepare the application for you. 
     
  • Petition for Conservatorship, Complex - If you need to apply to the court to have legal authority to care for and make decisions for another adult because that person is incapacitated or otherwise incapable of handling their own affairs, and that application is complex because it is contested or because of other complicating factors, your attorney will prepare the application for you. 
     
  • Financial Power of Attorney - Your attorney can prepare a financial power of attorney for you, which gives another person legal authority to handle your finances in certain instances (e.g., if you become incapacitated or die).
     
  • Health Care Directive - Your attorney can prepare a health care directive for you, which will clearly state your wishes for advanced care in the event that you are unable to communicate or make health care decisions for yourself. 
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