Some types of cases are just not for us. If any of these apply to you, we are probably not the best firm for you:
- Vexatious Litigants – Litigation can make people angry. Someone did you wrong, and you want to use the court to make things right. There is nothing wrong with that. However, some litigants wish to use the system to punish the other party instead of seeking equity. These litigants sometimes file repeated pleadings that have no merit, request that we serve papers to humiliate the other party (such as during a birthday party or at church), or otherwise ask us to assist in harassing the other party. We don’t do it. There are law firms and paralegal firms that are all to happy to help litigants harass one another, all the while enriching the firms and impoverishing the litigants, but we don’t participate in such games.
- Criminal Defendants Facing Current Charges – We have written multiple criminal defense books, such as California Criminal Defense Motions in Limine, and we have prepared extensive collections of criminal defense pleadings for use both during trial preparation and during trial. We have also helped create a Bar approved MCLE and multiple tutorials on post conviction relief. We encourage you to look at our tutorials, buy our books and pleadings, and even watch the MCLE, but if you are currently facing criminal charges, you need an attorney. Many defendants see our extensive body of work and get the idea that it is easy to put on a defense, so they fire their attorney and ask us to help them as they try to represent themselves. This is almost always a bad idea. If you are a criminal defendant currently facing charges, you need an attorney. On the other hand, if your case is already over and you need help with post-conviction pleadings or help sealing your record, give us a call.
- QDROs – A “Qualified Domestic Relation Order” (QDRO) is an order used to divide retirement and pension accounts. The order recognizes the existence of an “alternate payee’s” right to receive, or assigns to an alternate payee the right to receive, all or a portion of the benefits payable from a retirement or pension plan. We can help with a QDRO, but if you have significant assets in retirement accounts, you may wish to consult with an attorney and an accountant about how best to divide the accounts. Further, we learned that another Legal Document Assistant in Kern County is also proficient at QDROs and charges significantly less than we do, so we feel obligated to let potential clients know. Karen’s phone number is 661-633-1234.
- People Needing Legal Advice (maybe)– We are a document preparation service. We can let you browse through books of pleadings; we can let you see preapproved packets of Judicial Council Forms; we can even let you browse through our collection of forms that have been approved by attorneys, but we cannot and we will not select forms for you or tell you the answers to questions. However, we do have relationships with attorneys who give low cost consultations, and we attend those consultations with our clients upon request. We can schedule a consultation for you with an attorney, who will tell you and us which pleadings to file and how to fill them out. We will complete the forms specified by the attorney in the manner the attorney advises.
- Bankruptcy – Bankruptcy is a federal matter, and the nearest federal court that accepts Bankruptcy filings for those living in Kern County is Fresno Division U.S. Bankruptcy Court at 2500 Tulare Street, Suite 2501, Fresno, CA 93721-1318. The Bankruptcy courts appear to strongly discourage the use of paralegals. For example, the total amount of compensation allowed for Bankruptcy paralegals is $150, which can work out to less than minimum wage for a complex Bankruptcy. Further, paralegals who assist with Bankruptcies are not allowed to use the word “Legal” in their advertising; however, state rules require paralegals to obtain a Legal Document Assistant license and include information about the license in their advertising. It appears that a paralegal who assists with Bankruptcies cannot be licensed a Legal Document Assistant, so their practice would be strictly limited to Bankruptcies.
- Immigration Matters – Most people with immigration issues need the services of an attorney. One mistake and a person can lose their right to stay in the country or can delay processing of their immigration paperwork. It is best to seek the advice of an attorney on immigration matters; however, we can help you with some limited services related to fiancé visas, such as translating documents in Russian, Spanish, Punjabi, Hindi, and several other languages, and we are experienced with international travel, so we can give you ideas of what to do based on our own personal experiences.
- Appeals – You need an attorney to do an appeal. If you wish to appeal a criminal case, we can help you file a Notice of Appeal to get the matter started, but only an attorney or a defendant can prepare briefs on appeal.