Frequently Asked Questions
- How is this different than a normal lawyer?
A normal lawyer, or law firm, will ask you for a fair amount of money up front and will bill out of that money. Often, clients feel like they don't understand the process, or why they got the results they did. We offer fixed-price services, and we strive to make our billing as transparent as possible. We like to say the difference between other law firms and us is the difference between a witch doctor and a caterer. We want you to know what you're getting, and see where your money went.
- How do I know you're competent?
Well, we've got a lot of varied experience, but more importantly, our business model doesn't work if our products aren't both excellent and current. It's common in law to use the same document over and over for years, and to charge each new client for the three hours you spent drafting it a decade ago. We can't get away with that, because for many clients, the document is all they want and all they get. Thus we stay on top of our research, and we incorporate new cases into our forms and pleadings. Our documents have to be good enough to stand on their own, even if you choose not to have one of our lawyers with you in court.
We also pay a lot more attention to local court rules than is standard. Having spent a lot of time in regional courts, we know that a party representing herself with a document from a document prep service is in for a lot of grief if the document doesn't match the court's preferred format. Little things like the spacing of holes on the top of filings can be the difference between a smooth and easy hearing and a judge who starts out angry.
- Are Verbeck Law lawyers easy to get a hold of?
Way easier than the vast majority of lawyers and firms. You may have noticed our website scales for mobile or tablet use, because we like new technology and aren't afraid of it. Anyone who works for us has a smartphone, and our streamlined process allows lawyers to respond quickly, wherever they happen to be.
That said, remember that you need to pay a lawyer for constant communication. Some cases absolutely require a full retainer, and we'll go over that in our initial consultation, but the advantage of our fixed-price products is that you're not tied into a long and expensive lawyer relationship. Accordingly, if you want to be able to call or text or email your attorney on new issues or questions as they occur, then we'll add that service in and take a retainer to cover it.
- I got a document from you guys, are you my lawyers now?
Not necessarily. We try to be as clear as we can about which services include ongoing representation, but as a rule of thumb, if you paid us for the document, and got the document, we're not representing you anymore. We'd be thrilled to rep you on a new matter, or produce more responsive documents, and we're happy to tell you how to arrange that.
- Can I come in and talk about my case? Where's your office in X?
We're in Berkeley, and maintain offices in and around San Francisco. Generally, though, we handle our cases over phone, or Skype, or email. We know some people appreciate having a brick-and-mortar place to go, but honestly, those places cost money and they push a law firm to get long-term, dependent clients. We'd rather be cheap and efficient, and we hope you feel the same way. Remember, if you see a nice office, clients are paying for that.
If you really need a face-to-face during the course of your case, we can often arrange to meet you somewhere convenient, or bring in a local affiliated attorney. Sometimes this costs more, but probably less than you're thinking. Let us know if you think you might need this.
- I need one more document in my case. Can you guys do that?
Of course! What's more, we can do it faster and cheaper, since we already have your information and know about your case.
- What's the difference between this and a document prep service?
Some doc prep shops don't have actual attorneys in them, and the risk there is that you may not get a legal form, and you may not be able to get additional help if there's problems with your form or your case down the line. At Verbeck Law, we use forms our attorneys create, so you're assured a great form and easily available help if you want it or need it. Otherwise, you might have to pay for the same work twice. When we take over cases from doc prep firms, we sometimes have to redo forms that weren't sufficient in the first place.