FAQs


What can I expect the fist time I call?
What can I expect during an initial telephone consultation?
What does “without obligation” mean?
How much do you charge?
What forms of payment do you accept?
May I email copies of documents?
Can I transmit documents to you over a secure, encrypted connection?
Do you represent me in court?
What is limited scope representation?
Served with a lawsuit? Do these things in this order.

What can I expect the first time I call?

  Your call will go to voicemail because you are an unknown caller. Leave a professional message that includes:

  1. Your first and last name, articulated clearly and spelled;
  2. Your telephone number;
  3. The reason for your call, including a brief description of the nature of your legal matter.

  If you provide all of this information, I will promptly respond with a return call or text message. If you have not received a timely response, your voicemail was incomplete, unintelligible, or your number does not receive text messages. For example, if you left the following message: “Hi. This is John. My phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. I have a legal case: call me” — your call would be ignored because you failed to include your last name and a description of your matter.

  This procedure allows me to avoid solicitations and other telephone spam. On subsequent calls, if you do not have number blocking enabled, your telephone number will be recognized and I will personally answer your calls and greet you by name when I am available.

Jump to top of FAQs

What can I expect during an initial phone consultation?

  I need to obtain general preliminary information from you before we can discuss your matter and determine if I can help. I will verify the spelling of your name and ask for your email address. I may ask for additional information such as your physical address and the identity of others so I can run a conflict check. Once I have this information, unless I have a conflict, we can discuss your matter.

  I may suggest that we continue our consultation after you have emailed documents. Document review may be needed before we can decide if I can help. For example, if you were served with a lawsuit, I will want to review it.

  After I believe I have enough information, I will make a recommendation, and we will discuss fees and terms for my proposed services. I may ask about your budgetary constraints and ability to pay. Please be prepared to share this information. It will influence my recommendation and ability to help.

  Initial phone consultations are without obligation. I may require a retainer (advance fee deposit) before providing further services such as email and document review, legal analysis, and further consultation.

Jump to top of FAQs

What does “without obligation” mean?

  Initial telephone consultations are without obligation. I am not your attorney—so there is no charge. If I am retained, however, all services including your initial telephone consultation and related services are charged according to our fee agreement. If you are billed hourly, time and charges are posted to your account. No-obligation telephone consultations are not, therefore, “free.”

  I provide no-obligation consultations to those seeking representation. The purpose is to determine if I can help, if we are a good fit, and to determine if we can agree on the terms of my representation. If you are seeking substantive legal advice or are representing yourself—I reserve the right, with notice, to charge a reasonable agreed consultation fee.

Jump to top of FAQs

How much do you charge?

   My goal is to provide quality, effective legal services which meet or exceed your expectations for a reasonable, affordable fee. The fees I charge relate to my training and experience but are generally based on the amount of time it takes to provide services.

   An hourly billing arrangement is the best example of how my fees relate to time. When I can quote a flat fee, because the amount of time is fairly predictable the main component in determining my fee is still time.

  The only exception to this rule is when matters are handled on a straight contingency basis – when my fee is a percentage of any recovery. Due to the contingency nature of the fee, actual fees received on a contingency basis are usually substantially higher than fees would have been had a standard hourly rate been used to compute the fee.

  If we agree on my representation, we will enter into a signed written confidential attorney-client agreement that sets forth our respective obligations. If the cost is expected to be $1000 or less, or when the situation makes a signed written fee agreement impractical such as in an emergency, our agreement will be confirmed by email and invoice.

  I follow the court approved practice for hourly billing clients: Time is entered contemporaneously when services are rendered on an non-bundled basis in tenth of an hour increments, rounded up to the next tenth of an hour. Invoices are generated periodically, usually monthly, or more frequently as requested. View a sample invoice.

Jump to top of FAQs

What is your policy regarding initial office consultations?

  Your initial telephonic consultation and my electronic document review of your matter are rendered without obligation, except in cases where I have quoted a fee. In most cases it is sufficient for both of us to determine whether my services can be of benefit, and whether we can agree on the terms of my representation. Should you desire an office consultation, instead of or in addition to those services, I provide an initial 50-minute office consultation on a prepaid basis at $350.

Jump to top of FAQs

What forms of payment do you accept?

  I accept checks, eChecks, most major credit cards, PayPal, and ACH and wire transfers. Online payment links are on the Client Portal page. pay-your-invoice_edited-1

Jump to top of FAQs

May I email copies of documents?

 Yes, if I have requested documents from you. In fact, it is my preferred method to receive documents. I also accept faxed documents under 20 pages. I do not open or review unsolicited file attachments or faxes so do not forward documents unless I have requested them. Document forwarding instructions are here.

Jump to top of FAQs

Can I transmit documents to you over a secure, encrypted connection?

  Yes. You may use the free secure document delivery service DropSend, or your secure service, to forward sensitive documents. Once a case file is generated, sensitive documents will be shared through your SmartVault online case file. SmartVault allows you to view, download, and print case documents over a secure, encrypted web session. You may also securely upload documents. To protect your privacy and the attorney-client privilege, I also communicate with clients and third parties via secure, encrypted email when appropriate. Your SmartVault is available 24/7 from your desktop web browser. Apps are also available for iPad, iPhone, and Android.

Jump to top of FAQs


Do you represent me in court?

   Absolutely. I will appear for you, or with you, at all court appearances.

  In civil matters your personal appearance is rarely required except for trial. You may, of course, personally attend any of the proceedings. I handle most routine civil court appearances, such as case management conferences when allowed by the judge, via CourtCall. Promptly following any appearance you do not attend, usually the same day, I will report to you via telephone or email.

  I will also appear with you at your deposition and at any mediation or arbitration proceeding. I will attend most, if not all, depositions which have been noticed in the case and other discovery proceedings such as site examinations. In short, whenever my physical presence is required or beneficial to the outcome of your case, I will be there representing your interests.

  In most misdemeanor criminal proceedings, such as the arraignment, I can appear without you too. However, I usually request that you be present in the courtroom to consider a plea bargain, if one is negotiated, to save you the emotional and financial expense of a continued hearing.

Jump to top of FAQs

What is limited scope representation?

  Limited scope representation is when an attorney agrees to assist the client with specific discrete tasks for an agreed fee. Services may include consultation, document review and analysis, document preparation, and court appearances.

  Depending on your legal matter and litigation objective, I may suggest limited scope representation as a means to keep your legal costs within your budget. There are two types of limited scope representation: noticed representation and undisclosed representation.

  In noticed representation the court and other parties are notified of the limited scope representation. Undisclosed representation is when the attorney performs services such as providing legal counsel and ghostwriting but performs those services behind the scene without notice to the court or other parties. In each case, the client is self-represented and the attorney’s services are limited to the agreed services.

  If you believe limited scope representation might be right for you, please visit this California Courts page: Limited Scope Representation. The page further explains limited scope representation, when it may be appropriate and when it is not, and highlights its benefits and risks. Limited Scope representation is specifically authorized and governed by California Rules of Court, Rules 3.35 – 3.37.

Jump to top of FAQs

Served with a lawsuit? Do these things in this order. (Click here to download a copy of these instructions.)

1. Note when you were served. On a separate sheet of paper note the date, time, and place you were served along with any other details regarding the service you feel are important. DO NOT write on the summons or complaint, highlight portions of the complaint, or mark or write on any of the documents that were served.

2. Read. Read the summons, complaint, and any attached documents so you will know why you are being sued, when your response is due, and to learn of other important information.

3. Make copies. Make at least one copy of all documents that were served. If you can, scan all documents into a single PDF. You will need to forward clean copies to your insurance company and attorney, and you should always keep a clean copy for yourself.

4. Contact your lawyer. If you have a lawyer, immediately contact your lawyer and follow your lawyer’s advice before you contact anyone else.

If you do not have a lawyer:

A. But have reported the claim to your insurance company. If you have already reported the circumstances set-forth in the complaint to an insurance company, immediately contact the adjuster who has been assigned to your claim, or your insurance agent if an adjuster has not been assigned, and advise your insurance company of the service. Then promptly forward a copy of all served documents to your carrier as directed.

B. If you have not reported the claim to your insurance company. If you have not reported the claim to an insurance company, immediately locate each copy of any insurance policy, including amendments, which might cover you for any causes of action alleged in the complaint, including the declaration pages. The declaration page will tell you the covered dates, amounts of coverage, your policy number, deductibles, and will contain other important information. The claims referenced in the complaint may have dates which are several years old, outside the dates on the current declaration page. If you have older declaration pages, referencing earlier dates of coverage, be sure to locate them, too. Review your policies and declaration pages for coverage.

5. Immediately consult an attorney. You should always consult your own attorney when you have been sued before you report or talk to anyone else, including your insurance agent, about the lawsuit.

There are many reasons for this but the main reason is to insulate you from making statements that prejudice your rights or the case. In many circumstances there are insurance coverage issues which should be considered before the lawsuit is promptly reported to your carrier. In all cases, the possibility of a cross-complaint which might grant you affirmative relief should be considered as the best defense is frequently a good offense.

Only your own attorney, not one retained by your insurance company, can advise or represent you regarding these matters. Since there is always a very short window of opportunity, governed by the service of the summons and complaint, you should always contact your own attorney immediately on learning that you are a party to a lawsuit.

If you have been sued, and do not have an attorney, I would welcome the opportunity to explore your options with you. I can be reached at 818-971-9409 between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. Please be prepared to leave a voice mail message which includes your first and last name, your telephone number, an email address, and state that you have been served with a lawsuit. If I am not immediately available, I promise to promptly return your call.

Should you elect not to consult an attorney but believe you have insurance coverage, you should immediately contact your insurance agent and report the service. Failure to promptly report may result in denial of your defense and claim.

In any event, you must respond to the lawsuit in the manner and within the time stated on the summons, or your default may be entered and the plaintiff may be granted all requested relief — without you being able participate in defense of the complaint.


  Michael Daymude consults with clients and accepts cases involving the prosecution or defense of lawsuits filed in both federal and state courts in Southern California. For other types of cases accepted, please scroll the “Home” and “My Practice” pages. If you are seeking a legal consultation or representation, please give Mr. Daymude a call at 818-971-9409.

Jump to top of FAQs