Civil Representation

While we rarely wake up thinking that the thing we most want to do today is hire a lawyer, life has a way of handing us surprises that we cannot handle ourselves. When that happens, you may find yourself in need of a lawyer.

If you choose to come to BALA for a free consultation, our first goal is to get enough information to discuss with you whether you have a legal case or a case that will be worth your while to pursue. Many prospective clients are disappointed to learn that a case they thought would be worth millions is worth hundreds of dollars (if that).  While it is a truism of civil law that for every injury there is a remedy, sometimes the cost of going after your remedy will be too high. We will not agree to represent someone where it is evident that the cost of winning will outweigh the award, or where the legal case and facts are too weak (or nonexistent) to prevail. There are other attorneys who will be more than happy to take your case, but we believe we have a duty of candor and protecting even potential clients’ interests.

There are exceptions to this, where prospective clients don’t care about the cost, they want satisfaction, but usually “money is no object – let’s get this guy” becomes less true as the bills mount. We are not interested in making money because a client is passionate but unrealistic.

Most civil cases settle prior to trial, which is usually a good thing. You can fight things out for years, spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, only to get an award that is discharged in bankruptcy or never paid. You can also lose even the best case, because there is no such thing as a “slam dunk” in litigation. When a judge or jury makes what you believe to be a bad decision you can generally appeal the decision, but that can be another $50,000 or much more.

Negotiated settlements will generally not get you everything you believe you should win, but a settlement saves time, money and the emotional roller coaster that litigation involves. We go into settlement negotiations prepared much as we would for trial, for the stronger our case is, the better evidence we have, and the more legal arguments we present, the more likely we are to get a favorable settlement. Such preparation is not wasted, as it will be used if negotiations fail and trial becomes necessary.

Contract Formation & Enforcement

Broken Contract

Whether you have a multi-million dollar written contract for goods or services, or a verbal agreement with a neighbor about building a fence, you may find yourself in need of an enforceable document memorializing the terms of the agreement. Too many civil cases result from either poorly drafted agreements (say, using a format found online or in a stationary store) or handshake agreements between friends who later fall out. Just as good fences make good neighbors, good contracts avoid arguments and litigation later. A few hundred dollars spent at the beginning of a relationship can save tens of thousands of dollars in enforcement litigation.

Many of our clients have had agreements (oral or written contracts) which were breached by the other party, and they have come to us to help resolve the issue in their favor. Contract litigation is fact and law intensive, and often there is a way to enforce even problematic agreements. This requires creativity, knowledge, and determination, which not all attorneys bring to bear.

Even if you have a great contract, enforcement can be so costly that the cost-benefit equation quickly becomes imbalanced. We work hard for you to make sure that your result makes the time, effort and cost worthwhile.

Business Transactions

Sometimes you need a second set of eyes and ears in accomplishing a business transaction even with trusted partners. BALA brings not only legal experience and knowledge, but extensive business creation and management experience. Our staff has formed, managed, and sold a variety of businesses over the last 30+ years, and we speak business. This knowledge goes far beyond the theoretical, and our practical experience can help all sides avoid problems that might not be evident to the parties too closely involved.

Part of our initial free consultation will be to give you some idea not only of what we value your case to represent (usually far less than you thought or your best friend tells you to expect) but what kind of out-of-pocket expenses you will likely have to come up with. You will then be able to make an informed choice as to whether it is worth it to proceed.

Because we are busy and there is a great demand on attorney time, we will generally not accept a case unless we believe a probable award or settlement will be at least $100,000.

For little more than the cost of many “document preparation services” in most cases – an experienced Bay Area Law Associates lawyer will:

Set Up Your New Corporation

  • Determine with you the best choice of business entity
  • Corporate name search (includes up to two names) and reservation
  • Preparation and filing of Articles of Incorporation (one class of stock -common stock) or Articles of Organization
  • Preparation of required Bylaws for a corporation
  • Initial Shareholder and Director meetings and preparation of Minutes
  • Initial stock issuance [includes general tax advice only] (includes up to two shareholders)
  • Corporate set (“Minute Book”), including stock certificates and corporate seal
  • Preparation and filing of initial Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State
  • General advice an annual filing and corporate maintenance requirements

Basic incorporation service includes up to one hour of attorney consultation, document preparation (above documents only), for a flat fee of $550 plus filing fees and costs **   Restrictions apply.  Additional hourly fees of $275 apply to attorney services exceeding one hour (for services exceeding those included above, or for attorney consultation services exceeding one hour).

** (Corporate name search [$10 per name]; Corporate name reservation [$10]; Articles of Incorporation [$100 filing fee]; Statement of Information [$25 filing fee]; Corporate Set [$80].

Flat-fee basic incorporation service at the $550 rate quoted above (plus filing fees and costs) does not include the optional services listed below.

Optional services:

  • General corporate counseling (exceeding the one hour included in the basic incorporation package)
  • Rush and expedited California incorporation service (additional filing and legal fees)
  • Corporate resolutions (excluding the initial Shareholder and Director meetings and Minutes)
  • Preparation and filing of “S” election form
  • Obtaining federal Tax ID (EIN)
  • Corporate maintenance and annual or special meetings