The current focus of my firm, Thomas A. Grossman, Professional Law Corporation, is the operation of a mediation and arbitration service known as Desert ADR. Desert ADR has been providing high quality mediations, arbitrations, and other alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services to the Coachella Valley and Riverside County for over five years. The goal of Desert ADR is to settle or decide disputes outside of the court system. Desert ADR has handled over 400 matters over the last five years.
I devote about 20% of my time to private clients, mostly in the area of business law matters, corporate issues, real estate matters, personal injury cases, consumer rights, and other matters. I work closely with a family law lawyer, who is a member of my mediation service (Desert ADR).
My professional law corporation was established in 1994, after 15 years of solo practice and a successful partnership with a local attorney (now a retired Judge and member of Desert ADR). For the past five plus years, I have co-owned (and now solely own) Desert ADR, which is a full service alternative dispute resolution service.
1. I recently helped a client negotiate down the balances owed on several credit cards, from about $80,000 to about $25,000. Unfortunately, the client then discovered she did not have the $25,000 to pay off the debts, so we could not complete the settlements of those debts. Another settlement will be attempted when she has the money. My fees came to $1,500.
2. Several years ago, I represented a body builder for the wrongful use of his image on certain nutritional supplements. He had never signed a release for those rights, and the well-known nutrition company who manufactured and sold the products in question fought the case all the way up to trial. After the first day of trial, we settled the case for $1.3 million. We were all very happy. (I took the case on a contingency.)
3. One of my current clients was sued for supplies he purchased for his store, but could not pay for. He did not fight the lawsuit, and came to me a year and a half after the creditor secured a $3,500 judgment against him. The collection agency for the creditor then tacked on another $3,500 in interest and collected that from a lien placed in the escrow for the sale of my client's house. When the client came to me, I reviewed his papers and saw that the collection agency misrepresented to the escrow company the amount of interest owed, when collecting the extra $3,500 from the escrow funds. I wrote one letter to the collection attorney, stating that he violated the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and demanded the return of the $3,500 in interest. I threatened a lawsuit and penalties for fraud. We received a check for $3,500 ten days later. (I also took this case on a contingency, so my fees were about $1,100. However, had I not succeeded, the client would have owed me nothing.)
4. I arbitrated a fee dispute between an attorney and her client a couple of days ago. The attorney had charged about $7,500 for her work, and the client felt that she deserved none of it, and wanted most of his fees back. During the arbitration, and once each side heard the other side's story, both sides began talking to each other. It turns out that the client didn't know and appreciate what the attorney had done for him, and the attorney didn't know that his mother had been in constant contact with the attorney, trying to tell her what to do. And the attorney admitted that her office was a little too busy at the time, and she had not made herself available to the client. The arbitration had turned into a mediation. Everyone agreed to split the difference on the fees, and walked out of the Arbitration talking and laughing. I never even had to make a ruling.
5. I reviewed a Note and Trust Deed for a client, in connection with a $60,000 loan that he was going to lend to a homeowner, to be secured by a second trust deed on the borrower's home. I ordered a title report on the property, and discovered that there was a missing link in the chain of title. I concluded that homeowner/borrower could not even prove that he was the lawful owner of the house that was to be the security for the loan. I informed my client of all of this, and he backed out of the loan. We will never know what might have happened, but he could have lost the entire $60,000 due to the defective title on the house. I charged by client $750 for three hours of work. I may have saved him $60,000.
I will spend up to 1/2 hour on a free consultation on any matter. I will usually do that over the phone. If I am to review documents at my office, there is a $75 minimum charge.
I will handle the following matters for a flat fee:
a) Formation of a corporation (includes all standard costs and supplies): $1,400 (Beware the attorney who only quotes you his or her fees, but fails to inform you of the costs involved).
b) Formation of a Limited Liability Company (same as above): $1,400.
c) Simple California Will (no trust, guardianship, or other issues),
For one person: $300.
Person and Spouse: $500.
$300 ($250 if you mention Nolo).
Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
My main business is operating Desert ADR, an alternative dispute resolution service handling mediations and arbitrations. I have chosen this as my primary field of practice because it gives me the greatest opportunity to help people solve problems. As opposed to litigation (where you are fighting the other side so that your client can "win"), successful mediations allow everyone to win, by ending the dispute with a great savings of time and money. I find what I do interesting and satisfying, and it allows me to use all of my talent and skill, as well as my legal experience and teaching experience. And, I get to meet and work with a lot of people.
I believe strongly that an attorney should often be only one part of the solution to a legal problem. This is because many problems that are perceived to be legal problems are - in reality - only partly related to legal issues. Such problems (like starting a new business) can often be handled with common sense, research, some business acumen, and help from an organization such as SCORE. Attorneys may be necessary for some of issues involved in a matter, but not all of them. Many people confronted with a legal problem automatically call an attorney, without first trying to solve the problem themselves.
Other than well-drafted form documents, and documents drafted with the help of professionals, I am reluctant to review documents prepared by clients because it is a no-win situation for an attorney. Most documents prepared by non-lawyers have flaws in them. We can't approve them because we will be held liable for those flaws. And, if we do approve the document, we get paid a minimal fee, yet take full responsibility for the document. I prefer to draft my own documents, and then stand by them 100%. Nonetheless, I will be happy to discuss the matter on the phone with anyone for up to twenty minutes at no charge.
I am willing to coach a client on those issues where it is clear that I am not "representing" the client. For example, I will often coach clients on small claims cases, since attorneys cannot appear in Small Claims Court. However, coaching a client on litigation matters is, generally, a bad idea. As noted above, an attorney is always fully responsible for what he tells a client, even if he is only "coaching" the client. It is, once again, the worst of both worlds: The attorney receives a small fee, but full liability for malpractice if the attorney screws up or fails to properly advise the client. As noted above, I will be happy to discuss the matter with anyone over the phone for up to twenty minutes, at no charge.
Prior to the formation of my Professional Law Corporation, I worked as a solo practitioner, and a partner in the firm of Taylor & Grossman, which handled a variety of civil matters, covering a wide spectrum of legal issues. My emphasis was in business, real estate, wills and trusts, commercial matters, invasion of privacy, and personal injury. Along with another attorney, I handled many misappropriation of image cases for several well-known models and body builders.
When I graduated from law school, and went into practice, I found out that new lawyers know the law, but don't know how to be a good lawyer. Like every profession, you need experience to learn how to succeed at your craft. For many lawyers, making money is the top priority. For me, solving problems for people is what makes me happy. And, in the process, I have made a lot of money. After 30+ years practicing law (and operating several successful businesses), I feel that I have a unique skill set that makes me an efficient problem solver. I worked as a bartender while attending law school, and for a short period after that. This taught me much about people and life. I have also worked as a real estate broker and salesperson, college-level professor, and a host of other jobs prior to law school. Every experience has taught me something about people and life. A good lawyer should be a shrewd businessman, a creative thinker, an accomplished speaker, a thorough analyst, an adept communicator, and a decent and caring person. I like to think that I am all of those things.
I am smart, creative, observant and good natured. I can usually quickly grasp what is going on with people. I am creative enough to find solutions to problems, where other people may see only roadblocks. I find that many people who are in a legal fight don't really understand what they are fighting about. I can assess a situation and see where the problems are. And, I will always give people an honest evaluation of their legal issues. I don't believe in hyping a person's case simply to bring in their business. I simply don't like playing games, and I don't like BS. Life is too short. I am tolerant of people's lifestyles, and believe that all of us have a right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as we see fit.Personal interests:
I enjoy hiking, swimming, camping, Salsa dancing, singing, astronomy, art, music, movies, and animals. I believe all life is sacred (except maybe mosquitoes and cockroaches), and I am fascinated by all living things, including humans. I am spiritual and believe there is a purpose for us being here; I just don't know what it is. I think I am living my purpose by helping people solve their problems. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that I can be of service.
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