Court Costs/ Small Claims

Once again I am not a Lawyer… yet. I am a Paralegal. Also lets not forget when a paralegal or a lawyer become involved your problem becomes an issue.

As promised I am now gonna talk about Small Claims court. Small claims court system is a court set up to deal with small problems/issues. For example you move and your landlord refuses to refund your security deposit. You can use the small claims court system to try to force your landlord to pay up. On the flip side your landlord can also file a counter-claim saying you trashed your apartment and you owe them money. If you have a neighbor that won’t keep their dog from pooping in your yard and won’t clean it up you can take them to small claims court to try and force your Irresponsible Owner to pay for a yard cleaning service. Another reason, you may have loaned Cousin Fred $2500 and hasn’t paid you back yet, you can take him to small claims court to try to force him to pay you back. There are hundreds of things you can take into small claims court.

There is a limit on the amount of damages you can ask in small claims court. On average the most you can ask for is $5,000. In some states and or cities you like Los Angles can ask for as much as $10,000. If you want more after then that your case gets moved over in to Civil Court where sky’s the limit.

This is a piece of friendly advice not legal advice. If you are asking for damages over $3000 strong>PLEASE GOD SEE A LAWYER!
SIDE-NOTE: A good rule of thumb the more you ask for in damages THE MORE YOU NEED A LA<wyer!!!

SIDE-NOTE: A counterclaim is when the person you are suing is telling the judge ‘Yeah but the complainant (you) caused me damage too and my damage is more important.

SIDE-NOTE: Damages is supposed to mean how much money it will take to repair or fix your problem (issue) and make you ‘whole’. Your Lawyer’s fees also count as damages.
Now we come to the actual filing fees. Filling fees can vary from city to city and by how much you are asking for in damages.

For example in the county of San Diego California you decide to file a small claims court case asking for $1500 this is going to cost you $30 in filing fee. The same case in Dallas Texas will cost you a $61. Understand though if you ask for more in damages it will mean a higher filing fee. Going back to San Diego if you ask for $5000 the cost jumps up to $50.

strong>SIDE-NOTE</wyer!!!: Service of Process is the methods used by the courts and lawyers to notify the person you are suing that there is now a law suit filed against them. If mess up notifying your opponent, your case ends. I will get deeper into that in future posts.

Next week I’ll finish with small claims, also I might do more opinion pieces

Lawyer & Money 5

Once again, I am not a lawyer, I am a paralegal. Also when a lawyer or a paralegal become your problem becomes an issue.

Getting back to Virtual Firms. When the intake form you filled out online has been downloaded, and has been be evaluated by a paralegal or lawyer. One of 3 things will happen after the evaluation. 1st a paralegal may call you asking for more information about your issue, 2nd a receptionist will call you to set up an appointment with the firm lawyer that is best equipped to deal with your issue, Last if your issue is something like Incorporation, a paralegal will be in contact with you to gather the needed information to correctly create the Incorporation forms after which the forms will be either mailed, faxed or emailed to you. Also, the paralegal will give you the instructions on how to make sure the form is correctly filed when you get to the courts. You will still need to deal with the court costs and filing fees. A lot of Legal documents like Incorporation, a Will, bankruptcy discharge do not become real until they are registered with the court. Unfortunately these fees vary from city to city and state to state. Just wait until I start getting into the money you will need when you and your lawyer actually go to the court house.

Side-Note: The web-site legalzoom specializes as a 3rd type law firm.

Okay, I’ve covered some of the personal expenses faced by your lawyer. I’ve also touched on the support staff used by law firms. I should include the tech support personal your lawyer will need people to keep all the computers and other tech. up and running. I have yet to hear of or meet a judge willing to accept ‘Oh, yeah we had a computer crash’ as a valid excuse. Let’s not forget about the contract support personal like accountants and investigators. All these people want to get paid.
There is additional support personal like experts in different types of evidence that will have to be paid for. Which, I will be getting deeper into later. In the mean time let’s talk about office costs.
Just renting an office costs a small fortune. Let’s say you’ve gone to a small firm located in an older building. Your firm has only 2 or 3 lawyers and only needs about 500 square feet. Smaller than the apartments many people live in. The landlord is a real nice guy and is changing your lawyers only $10 per square foot. Not a lot of money huh?
Well that comes out to $5000 a month and your lawyers haven’t even turned on the power yet. Next worry, equipment for the office. Desks, chairs, filing cabinets and the potted plant. All of which costs money too and I haven’t got into the technology yet.
That’s why a lot of independents work from home. They take over one of the bedrooms or basement and build their office there.
See you Next week