À La Carte Services

What are “À La Carte Services”? It’s sort of like eating at a buffet — you get to pick and choose what you need and leave the rest. Many people cannot afford to retain the full services of an attorney, but are terrified at the prospect of entering into the mysterious and unfamiliar world of the “legal process”. People are generally intimidated by the legal system works and have no idea what to expect when they go to court, or even what to wear to a hearing. What’s a citizen to do?

This office provides “unbundled” legal services, acting as a kind of legal coach for the pro per (the fancy legal term for a self-representing person) litigant, in the following areas:

Legal rights

  • Understand your legal rights
  • Know where you can go to find out what your rights are
  • Know about the rights of the other side

Court procedures and resources

  • What to expect when you go to court
  • How to talk to a judge
  • How to talk to the court personnel
  • What to bring with you when you go to court
  • How to organize what you need for a court room appearance
  • Taking a “field-trip” the courthouse where you will be litigating

Settlement processes

  • Understanding what mediation is
  • Understanding neutral evaluation
  • Understanding non-binding arbitration
  • What to expect at mediation, evaluation, or arbitration
  • The things to find out about your mediator, neutral, or arbitrator
  • Issues about confidentiality
  • How to prepare for mediation, evaluation, or arbitration
  • What to bring with you to the hearing
  • How to organize what you need to get the most out of the hearing

Parenting plans

  • Understanding visitation
  • Understanding child custody
  • What is the difference between legal and physical custody?
  • What is the difference between sole and joint custody?
  • What if I want or need to move out of the State of California?
  • Understanding how child support is calculated
  • Getting presumptively correct support numbers under California law

Emotional support

  • Sometimes a person just needs a reality check with someone who understands the law and the legal system
  • Where to turn when things seem too overwhelming to handle alone
  • Suggested books for reading to help in your personal situation

Legal Research

  • Understand the difference between a statute and an opinion
  • Understand the difference between Federal, State, and Municipal laws
  • How to read and refer to a legal opinion

Factual research

  • How to determine which facts are important to your case
  • How and where to go to get what you need
  • What you should try to get from the other side
  • Privacy issues to consider before trying to obtain facts
  • Whether to hire a private investigator


  • What Discovery is
  • What Discovery is intended to accomplish
  • How to do it
  • What is needed and reasonable vs. what is excessive
  • How to avoid discovery disputes


  • Developing a negotiation plan
  • Developing a proposal to the other side
  • Get on-call coaching from the sidelines
  • Follow-up action items after negotiation has reached a settlement


  • Letters, documents, and legal pleadings.
  • Identifying the goal of the document and the content thereof
  • Drafting for the client vs. review of client’s drafting
  • What is a proof of service, how to fill out legal forms, and other introductory questions

À La Carte legal services provided by this office are charged at attorney’s current hourly rate. Call our offices for more information on payment plans and methods.