We are dedicated to creating informed clients. Read our frequently asked questions below.
Because even attorneys who have had years of legal training and experience barely understand complex legal topics. Clients with varying degrees of sophistication just need to understand basic concepts about what it means to become a client (or “retain our firm”)
Smith Law offers free initial consultations to help workers understand all their employee rights before making big career decisions. Even better, if we take your case, we never charge you directly. That is right. The only way we get paid is we if we settle your case or win at trial. Paying a lawyer by the hour makes it almost impossible for people to get the representation they deserve, especially if all they want is to find out if they have a case in the first place.
A contingent fee arrangement is best for individuals who want to sue their employers, but cannot afford or prefer not to pay a lawyer by the hour. A contingent fee is an agreed upon percentage of any sums that the lawyer recovers for you in the action, whether by settlement or a jury award. We accept qualified cases on a contingency fee basis, usually in the amount of 45%, meaning employees never pay our law firm unless we win money for them.
You will also be responsible for certain case costs, such as the charge from the court to file your lawsuit (if we file one), copy charges, and postage. These fees will be taken out of your settlement as well.
While we have substantial confidence in our ability and we appreciate this question, it’s not realistic(or ethical) for a lawyer to guarantee an outcome (e.g. the client will get a certain amount of money or will win at trial, etc). The reason is because that outcome will depend on many factors that are outside of the lawyer’s control. At a minimum, it will depend, for instance, on what evidence the opposing party or parties have, what witnesses will testify to, and the habits and idiosyncrasies of the judge and jury.
The average length of time it takes to litigate a California employment law case is typically anywhere from one to two years. If the outcome of the case is appealed, clients should expect to tack on at least another year before it is officially resolved. Although this is the standard length of time, every case is different and may take shorter or longer depending on a number of factors.
It does not adversely affect termination claims. Actually it may help them. I strongly urge all clients to state in their unemployment application the unlawful reason that was the cause of the termination (discrimination, complaint of harassment, objection to off the clock work). That forces the employer to articulate in response a lawful reason for the termination. Usually, the employer, acting without a lawyer, is caught off guard and gives a reason that is very easy to disprove. Then we request a copy of the EDD file and we are that much closer to winning our case.
People who are still employed often try to ascertain whether they have a legal claim against their employer or others because of the company’s conduct generally or due to the behavior of a supervisor or coworker. We counsel the employee about how to attempt to solve the problem without counsel’s intervention. If the employee wants to retain his or her job, counsel should carefully consider whether the issue is serious enough to intercede on the client’s behalf, because (despite prohibitions against, and penalties for, retaliation) taking an adversary position is likely to have a negative impact on the employment relationship. But, we do not charge for these consultations and you should always feel free to speak to us about your situation because we can assist you through it the best we can.