Learn More About Our Legal Practice
Initial Meeting with Mr. Musemeche
A contested family law case, a probate matter, or a business dispute is often the first time that a prospective client will consult with an attorney. The legal process can be confusing and stressful, and is often marked by anger, frustration, fear, and uncertainty. The first step is to squarely face your legal issues and ask for help.
You can count on Musemeche Law, PC to counsel you and assist you during this difficult and challenging time in your life. Our mission is to make the legal process as simple as possible, while achieving the results that matter to you. Our team will share important information about what you can expect, the potential costs of hiring qualified legal counsel, and answer as many questions as possible so that you are comfortable.
What to Expect
To help you make an educated and informed decision about how to proceed with your case, we would like to share important information with you.
Knowledge of the Law and Sound Legal Advice
It is important for your attorney to discuss the law openly from the very beginning. An experienced lawyer will not only advise you about what you need to do, but will also thoroughly explain the "why" behind your case.
At Musemeche Law, P.C., we believe that educating our clients about the law is first and foremost. We believe our clients not only want to know the law that affects their case, but they also need to know how the applicable law may affect their position so that they can evaluate their settlement options and make informed decisions.
Rob Musemeche not only knows the law, but he also knows how to apply the law in the real world to real families. Rob prides himself on offering common sense, practical solutions, and advice tailored to your needs and concerns.
An Honest Assessment of Your Situation
One of the primary duties of an attorney is to provide you with a frank and honest discussion of the facts and issues of the case. We understand that legal disputes and challenges are often emotional and very personal. It can often be difficult to see anything but your own perspective. Here at Musemeche Law, P.C., we are your advocate, and in advocating effectively for you, it is our duty to be objective with you about all of the facts, the law, and your options.
With nearly three decades of trial practice, Rob Musemeche believes it is a lawyer’s obligation to be candid and honest with a client in evaluating all sides of your case. At Musemeche Law, P.C., we promise to discuss with you the “good, the bad, and the ugly,” so that you can make informed and educated decisions.
It has been said that “time is money,” and both are important factors for a client to consider. You can trust us to discuss all viable options. With extensive courtroom and litigation experience, we understand that litigation can be complex, contentious, time-consuming, unpredictable, extremely expensive, and, quite often, very frustrating for clients and lawyers alike. We are strong advocates for our clients and we pride ourselves on being solution-oriented and discuss with our clients all available options to resolve their dispute outside of litigation, including resolution through negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Loyalty, Commitment and Communication
Attorneys owe an undivided duty of loyalty to their clients. When hiring an attorney, one of the most important factors to consider is the "trust" factor. You should not only feel that the attorney has the knowledge and experience necessary to win your case, but you also need to trust and believe that your attorney understands the goals, cares about the outcome, and will ardently advocate for your rights.
You must remember that your attorney cannot control the ultimate outcome of your case. If the case is litigated, a judge or jury will decide all issues in dispute. We cannot promise results. However, we will zealously advocate for you and work as hard as possible to further your cause.
We understand that legal proceedings are complex, and we strive to provide you with a timely response to all of your questions. We will return your call or email within twenty-four hours. We use a cloud-based law office management system to upload copies of correspondence and other documents we receive related to your case. You will be given a personal login and will have unlimited internet-based access to your file, including a calendar of the events in your case.
You can trust us to keep all your information confidential. Without your permission, we won't reveal any of your information to people outside our law firm. Whatever you discussed with our attorney is "privileged". The attorney is forbidden to repeat or discuss what you have told the attorney. What you discuss in our office remains here unless you allow us to discuss your case with someone else. Your attorney should not wonder whether you're telling the truth or not. We are on your side and you shouldn't be afraid to tell us the truth. We won't be able to help you unless you tell us the whole story.
What We Expect From Our Clients
We need to know the truth; even if it hurts. If you believe that there is some fact that may be harmful to you, it is much better to discuss this openly with your attorney rather than trying to hide it or hoping no one will ever learn about it. With 32 years of courtroom experience, Rob Musemeche believes almost nothing is ever successfully hidden from the other side. If they know the truth, it is essential that your attorney know the same facts at an early stage in the process, rather than being ambushed with the information in the courtroom for the first time. Surprises of this kind can harm your case. With advance knowledge of problems or difficulties, your lawyer can often suggest a course of action that can defuse/disarm the anticipated impact, or avoid exploitation of the problem by the other side.
Cooperation, Communication, and Input
Family law, probate and business disputes can be very emotional, painful and stressful, and sometimes a client simply wants to avoid having to deal with the issues. We are here to help you, but we cannot do it alone.
The lawyer and the client are a team. The lawyer’s job is to provide the client with sound legal advice so that the client can make informed and educated decisions. As the client, your job is to provide us with the information we need in order to advise you appropriately, and to follow our advice.
Additionally, we may advise you to take certain actions regarding various matters in order to advance your cause. It is very important that you follow our advice, as it may affect the overall outcome of your case. Finally, you need to communicate with us and keep us updated on all matters relevant to your case and respond to our requests for information in a timely manner as well, especially if your case is in litigation where there are court-ordered deadlines in place. Also, please be sure to let us know if there is a change in your telephone number, email, place of work, or home address.
Payment for Legal Services
Our firm is committed to working hard for you to resolve your legal dispute in the most timely, cost-effective way possible. While our firm offers payment plans where appropriate, and periodically offers pro bono services to those in need, we generally bill for our services, and the client is expected to pay all legal fees incurred in the client’s case as requested by the firm.
Legal fees are an important part of the “team” and “communication” concept. We need to work together. We promise to keep you apprised of fees incurred, the likely cost of pursuing various options in your case, and to advise you of the overall financial benefit of moving forward with a particular option in your case.
We will continuously evaluate and re-evaluate your options, and we will be practical in our advice. You will also be expected to evaluate your settlement and trial options based on the amount of legal fees you will incur to accomplish a certain goal. You are expected to pay your legal fees with our office and inform us immediately of any changes in your situation that may prevent you from paying your fees.
We believe in discussing fees early and openly with our clients. It is our belief that a client who knows important billing information will be better informed and more satisfied with the services we provide. In order to retain our firm, you will be required to sign an Agreement for Employment of Legal Counsel and pay an initial deposit towards the representation. The amount of the initial deposit will depend on the legal issues we are handling for you. Typically, $3,500 is required for most routine divorce and probate matters, while high conflict cases, or contested custody and property disputes can require a higher retainer... usually $5,000 and up. However, some legal services, such as estate planning, including a Will and other related documents, can be quoted on a flat fee basis, and will be explained during the initial consultation.
At Musemeche Law, P.C., we understand that no two clients are alike, and no two cases are alike. Simple cases may turn out to be very complex. No good lawyer in most cases will tell you that your case is “easy” or “no problem.” Many cases that appear to be routine at first glance can mushroom quickly into complicated problems. A case that one client may think can be resolved quickly in a settlement may end up being a complex or high-conflict dispute. Because of the unpredictability of litigation disputes, we believe the fairest way to bill for legal services is for the client to pay only for the time the lawyer and his staff bills.
We maintain detailed records of the time we spend on each client’s case. Our firm sends out monthly invoices detailing the legal services rendered to the client, so you should be able to look at your invoice and know immediately what work was done on your case. We bill on the basis of tenths of hours (six minute increments). Thus, a one-half hour phone call would be listed as: “conference call with client – .5 hours”. If the call is 36 minutes long, the invoice time entry will read "conference with client - .6 hours."
A detailed listing of the hourly rate charged by each member of our firm will be provided in your contract and always available for your review. Rob Musemeche has been a trial attorney since 1988, and can give you an estimate of costs for the case when he talks with you about the case “game plan.” However, any quote for the total cost of our legal services is merely an educated estimate. Your adversary, the opposing party or others may engage in activities beyond our control that require time that was originally not contemplated.
In addition to legal fees, most cases require court filing fees, process server fees, private investigative fees and expenses, court reporter fees for recording and transcribing depositions, expert witness fees, and any other expenses incurred during the representation by the firm. These expenses are billed at cost directly to the client.
Please feel free to ask any questions you wish about fees or additional costs that may be incurred in your case. Our goal, above all, is to counsel and maintain clients who are well informed and who are satisfied with the services we provide to them.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have tried to identify various questions that frequently come up about initial consultations. However, if you have any questions regarding the consultation, please do not hesitate to call our office or send us an email at admin@MusemecheLaw.com.
What is the cost of the initial consultation?
There is no charge for an initial family law consultation. After 31 years of active legal practice, Rob knows that finding the right lawyer to fight for you and protect your interests can be a challenge. So, when results matter and you need quality legal solutions, you should feel confident that you are getting what you ultimately pay for, and that your lawyer is the single most important advisor you can retain in order to make it successfully to the finish line. That takes chemistry and trust, and the initial consultation should provide you the best chance to gain enough information to make an informed choice if you've found the right lawyer to stand by your side.
How long will the initial consultation last?
Rob will typically meet with prospective clients for about 30-45 minutes during the initial consultation. The length of the consultation depends on the issues at stake. Please make sure to allow yourself at least one hour for the initial consultation, as more time may be needed in order for the attorney to gather the facts and advise you on your legal issue, and there will be a brief written questionaire to fill out before the consultation, if not completed and emailed to the office prior to your arrival.
What happens during the initial consultation?
During the initial consultation, the attorney will obtain a history and facts regarding your legal matter, advise you of the law, and then counsel you on what steps you should take to protect your legal interests. This advice may result in counseling the client to initiate a lawsuit or advising a client to take certain protective measures, or do nothing at all.
What should I bring to the consultation?
Based on your particular legal issue, you may need to bring certain documentation with you for the attorney to review during the initial consultation. Such information may include any lawsuits that have been filed, previous orders or agreements, wage earning statements, tax returns or other financial documents. This will all depend on your specific legal situation. Depending on the issue, we may ask that you provide certain documents in advance of the consultation.
Is the consultation confidential?
Yes. Even if you choose not to retain the firm, the information you disclose to the lawyer in the consultation and on the Prospective Client Application will remain strictly confidential and is protected by the attorney-client privilege. We want you to be able to be candid and open with us without the fear of our divulging this information.
I am a stay-at-home parent, and I don’t have child care. Can I bring my children to the consultation?
There are many families in the Bay Area who don’t have relatives close by to help with child care or who haven’t lived in this area long enough to develop a strong support network of friends. We truly sympathize with your situation. However, we will likely be discussing very private, sensitive, adult issues in the initial consultation, some of which may involve the very children you wish to bring with you to the consultation. Our office is not a place for children. Please find suitable child care arrangements for your children so that you can attend the initial consultation and devote your time and attention to these important legal matters.
How much will my case cost?
We believe in discussing with our clients at the initial interview such matters as the hourly rate our firm charges, the amount of the initial deposit that you pay to our firm, the approximate time we expect your case will take, the possibility of requesting an award of attorney’s fees as reimbursement to you, and other matters. It is our belief that our clients will be better informed and more satisfied with our services if we discuss these at an early stage. However, there are a number of factors that may affect the costs of your case. The tactics taken by your spouse or his/her attorney if you are involved in a family law matter, or the complications and necessity of expert business appraisers and the like if the case is related to a probate or business litigation dispute can effect the cost of litigation. Lawyers have no control over unavoidable delays in the court system, etc. Just as important, no two cases are alike. For example, a lawyer may have estimated that a case would cost tens of thousands of dollars and linger for years in the court system, but that same case may suddenly settle because of some new revelation. On the other hand, a case which from the outset may seem relatively simple and straightforward could mushroom into expensive, contentious litigation due to no fault of the client. However, in each case, we work very hard to prepare our clients for the potential costs associated with his or her case, and remain mindful that you are the client. We work for you and not the other way around.