We provide a comfortable and collaborative go-to source for a variety of superior legal services for East County residents. We are doing everything we can to live up to our tagline: “Your Legal Challenges Just Got Easier.”
We recently brought on a new attorney, Hallie Zimmerman, who has experience and training in Family Law and is able to help with Civil Litigation and helping my partner Marie with her Business Law specialty, which she has a lot of experience in. Hallie’s special abilities assist us in rounding out our practice, adding more coverage, so we can service our clients better. Hallie has been practicing law for a decade and takes pleasure in assisting clients to navigate through the legal challenges of the breakdown of a marriage and preparing them for a fresh start.
One important way in which we make things easier for our clients is by providing one-stop-shopping legal services. We are prepared to handle Estates, Trusts, Probate, Business Law, Patents, Trademarks/Intellectual Property, Family Law, Real Estate & Landlord/Tenant, and Litigation.
The law doesn’t always move smoothly within orderly and insular categories. We often meet with clients who need legal assistance in more than one area, and we spare them the aggravation of having to move between multiple law firms. For example, a client can have an issue that requires the services of a business law attorney. But a second issue, for example, probate might also arise. In that case, rather than seeking help from two different law firms, we can deal with both challenges in a coordinated and integrated fashion. BY AM For a more detailed example, if a client needed my legal assistance in carrying out some estate planning but then required the formation of an LLC or a Limited Partnership, Marie could step in and handle the business formation.
Our firm’s diversity makes us an easy choice for clients by eliminating the dreary and sometimes risky task of trying to identify the published skill-sets in a list of law firms in order to find the firm with a focus on the particular client’s legal needs. Whether they are concerned about a family matter, real estate, a business they might be partners in, or need to rewrite their will, we have the experience and training to help them solve their problem. For example, a client who is getting divorced may need legal assistance in each of the four example areas I just mentioned.
Accessibility is another way we make things easier for our clients. Our office is in the Sean McCauley building, which is in a central Downtown Brentwood location. Marie is often here on Saturday. People can pick up some vegetables and fruit in the Farmer’s Market and then pop up to our office to set up a living trust, or have us read the contract for the new pickup he’s buying.
We have recently expanded our business beyond East County by opening a satellite office in San Francisco within walking distance of BART. Marie finds opportunities for offering legal services to San Francisco developers and contractors. Having a presence in San Francisco provides a welcome base of operations for East County residents facing legal issues involving businesses and operations based in the City and throughout the Bay Area.
ASSISTING CLIENTS TO DODGE BULLETS
We’ve reviewed a number of terrible documents that would have been disastrous if the clients had signed without securing our counsel upfront. We appreciate it when clients seek our counsel for such things as contracts and business strategies so that we can protect them against the storms and conflicts that needlessly arise in almost any kind of relationship when things fall apart, as they tend to do much too frequently.
We recently helped a couple of young entrepreneurs back out of the problems associated with a start-up business they had founded with a third party who passed away unexpectedly. Even though they were engaged in a profitable business, they had assembled the legal foundation for their enterprise out of bits and pieces automatically generated by an online service. Nobody had warned them against the minefield that you walk through when you lack the protection afforded by appropriate legal documentation, so when their third partner died, they ended up paying $60,000 in legal fees. They were engaged in a lengthy fight with the estate of the deceased that should never have happened.
The case of the two men provided a clear example of Ben Franklin’s “a stitch in time saves nine” principle. In their case, however, as in many similar cases that we have seen, Franklin’s ratio was wildly understated. The relatively small “stitch” they would have paid for our counsel would have saved them a whole business-suit quantity of fabric made from the “stitches” of unnecessary expense.
Seeking legal counsel, as I have been describing it, is like purchasing insurance; you pay a relatively small amount now in order to possibly save a lot later. It will pay off in the long run to have an attorney check out the situation before you enter into marriage, estate planning, business, or any transaction with another person. We lawyers make a lot of money when people don’t prepare for trouble. Nevertheless, we take more satisfaction from the relatively smaller amount of income we generate helping to save our clients from disaster than from the larger profits that come from helping them to recover.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Marie and I are two very different people with personalities and attitudes that stand in marked contrast with each other but that fit together in a harmonious fashion. Marie has a more aggressive approach to the law and enjoys the adversarial role that courtroom confrontations sometimes force her to play. An opposing counsel who hasn’t learned better will occasionally imagine from Marie’s sunny smile and charming appearance that she can be intimidated and bullied. They quickly discover her steel-beneath-velvet quality. She likes a good fight, but she also knows when the time is right to resolve a case through mediation. On the other hand, my personality is characterized by a natural spirit of compassion and a desire to play the roles of mediator and peacemaker, when working as a family law mediator, to facilitate parties at odds to come to a mutual resolution. When I am advocating for my client I encourage them to consider the risks versus benefits of their issues so they are fully prepared to make rational decisions and search for genuine win-win solutions. I am however, at the same time always ready to go to the mat for my client if the need arises.
Marie and I gladly acknowledge the essential role that our team of experienced and committed support staff plays in helping our business run smoothly. Laura Matejcek is our cheerful and capable office administrator. Rachel Rodrigues, Terrie Thors, and Denise O’Connel are experienced paralegals who assist in managing the complicated processing of the mountains of paperwork and client relationships that are essential to the law firm’s work. The firm depends upon Sue Wright-Broughton’s skills and energy in maintaining the flow of income billing and ensuring that company expenses are paid on time.
Marie and I, together with the rest of the team, are committed to providing effective and efficient customized legal solutions tailored to the needs of each of our clients. We have gone on record with a formal pledge: “We dedicate ourselves to taking care of clients from the moment they walk in the door to the moment they walk out.”
Our success in following up on our words of assurance is evident because the legal firm of Alvis Quashnock and Associates has been designated Best of Brentwood every year since we opened our doors in 2010.