1. How do I know if I need to hire a lawyer?
You probably need to a hire a lawyer if any of the following is true:
- – You’ve been sued or someone has threatened to sue you;
- – You’re a party to a written or oral contract or other agreement, and you or another party has violated the terms of the agreement;
- – You feel that you have suffered an injustice and suspect that the conduct in question may be illegal;
- – You need an agreement to be drafted or fulfilled; or
- – You’re undertaking or leaving a business venture.
2. What areas of law do you practice?
The areas of the law that the Firm practices are specifically stated in the Practice Areas section of this website. Generally speaking, the Firm focuses on business, real estate, and other civil litigation. If we cannot handle your matter, then we would be glad to refer you to another attorney in the area who can.
3. If I’m involved in a contract dispute and the agreement was not reduced to writing, do I still have legal rights?
While reducing business agreements to writing clarifies parties’ intentions with regard to a particular transaction, it is not always necessary to preserve the parties’ legal rights. Oral agreements are usually enforceable and can often be proved through (among other things) written communications between the parties and the parties’ course of dealing with each other. If you feel that a party to an oral agreement to which you are a party has been violated, please contact us to see if we might be of assistance to you.
4. How long does it take for a lawsuit to be resolved?
According to William Gladstone, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” We understand and agree with that statement and, as a consequence, do our best to prosecute matters diligently. Nevertheless, unless there is a genuine emergency (life or death situation), our court system is, unfortunately, simply not designed to operate quickly. Most state court judges preside over a thousand or more cases at the same time. For that reason, virtually every time the parties need to appear before a judge during a case, the parties must schedule the matter days (and, in some cases, weeks) in advance. Most cases prosecuted in a diligent manner should be resolved in approximately 12-18 months. More complicated cases may take approximately twice that long.
Additionally, the Firm is fortunate to have many clients who utilize its services, and it pursues excellence in all it does. Thus, many tasks that must be performed by the Firm are not performed as quickly as they might be by a law firm that is in low demand or that hastily files documents with the Court. While most of the Firm’s matters are handled within a reasonable time, we value quality over speed and quality over quantity.
5. Why should I choose to hire your law firm?
We strive to be the best we can be for our clients; have experience, credentials, and recognition from our peers; and pride ourselves on results. Most importantly, however, we place a premium on integrity, which is what sets us apart. For us, integrity means being trustworthy and accountable; doing the right thing no matter what the cost (even when no one is looking); and following the Golden Rule—treating others as we would want or expect to be treated.
6. Do you charge for an initial consultation and, if so, how much?
Mr. Carlin charges a flat fee of $250.00 for all initial consultations for matters that are likely to be charged on an hourly fee basis. Depending on the complexity of the matter, the consultation will generally last between 0.5 and 1.0 hours. For matters that are likely to be charged on a contingency fee basis (e.g., routine collections matters or actions for unpaid wages), there is generally no charge for the consultation.
7. Why do you not provide free consultations for everyone?
The trend of providing “free” initial consultations was started by attorneys who do not charge for their services until the end of a case—i.e., attorneys who take cases on a contingency fee basis (most typically personal injury attorneys)—and, therefore, by attorneys who could not charge for consultations under their fee agreements with their clients. The service offering is not well-suited for complex civil litigation matters, such as business litigation matters, which require the evaluation of complicated fact patterns in a period of time that exceeds 15 minutes. Unlike most “free consultations,” the Firm’s consultations are comprehensive and are usually covered by any initial retainer that might be provided to the Firm. Due to the ongoing demand for consultations (of which the Firm receives several requests each week), the Firm would have to increase the rates it charges to its clients to cover the cost of providing free consultations. However, it seems inappropriate for us to charge our clients higher rates to cover the cost of providing non-clients with free consultations.
8. What type of fee arrangements does your firm offer?
The Firm bills its clients on either an hourly, contingency, or flat fee basis, depending on the particular type of case that the Firm is handling. Most often, Mr. Carlin charges the Firm’s clients on an hourly fee basis. A contingency fee basis provides that the Firm’s fee will be a percentage of the recovery obtained, if any. This method of billing is usually best suited for matters in which the amount in dispute is relatively small but where there may be an award for attorney’s fees to be recovered from the opposing party, and for matters in which the amount in dispute is large but where the client, for financial or other reasons, is unable to compensate the Firm on an hourly fee basis. A flat fee may be charged when the fees are more predictable, such as when the Firm reviews a business contract or is handling a single hearing for a client.
9. What is your hourly rate?
Mr. Carlin’s current, standard, hourly rate is $350.00 per hour.
10. Can I recover attorney’s fees from the other side?
Under the so-called “American rule,” each party bears its own attorney’s fees, regardless of who wins the case. Nevertheless, there are numerous exceptions to the rule that may allow a party to recover attorney’s fees from the opposing party. The most common exception is when a contract provides for an award of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party in litigation over the contract or between the parties. Furthermore, there are numerous state and federal statutes that provide for an award of attorneys’ fees to either a prevailing plaintiff or prevailing party in litigation over certain matters. At the outset of any case that we handle, we determine whether there may be a basis to make a claim for attorneys’ fees and, if so, assert the claim. In virtually any case that we handle for clients, we seek to maximize their financial position within the context of the case.
11. How do I retain your law firm to handle my legal matter?
The process for retaining our Firm is easy: simply call our office and express your interest in retaining our Firm. We will then schedule either an in-person meeting or a telephone conference with you to discuss the possibility of the Firm representing you in your matter.
To schedule a consultation with attorney Justin C. Carlin, call (954) 440-0901 or complete the contact information form appearing immediately below. However, please note that an attorney-client relationship is not formed until you have signed a written agreement for the Firm’s representation of you and complied with all of the initial terms and conditions of the agreement.