Law Offices of Peter M. Stanwyck

Firm Overview

I started my own practice in January of 1975, about the same time I started purchasing A's season tickets and thankfully, I am still doing both.

We have recently moved to a Victorian in Old Oakland, 725 Washington Street, Oakland, California 94607 Link To Contact Information.

The Law Offices of Peter M. Stanwyck in Oakland, California has more than 35 years experience offering a broad range of legal services and legal advice to small business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs. I am an experienced business attorney and litigation lawyer. Our services include: forming business entities, such as a corporation, LLC or partnership; buying and selling businesses, mergers and acquisitions; contracts, agreements and terms; employee and independent contractor issues; commercial leases; intellectual property including trademarks; internet law; and business and civil litigation including lawsuits, arbitration and mediation. Our services are fully explained on our Link To Stanwyck Law Legal Services.

Example cases

Before I give examples, know two things. First, my client's legal challenges, what they tell me and what I do for them, are confidential and sometimes even talking about such things generally may unwittingly convey information to someone familiar with my client's affairs. Second, I do not handle transactions or disputes worth many millions of dollars with a high degree of notoriety; I represent small businesses with their everyday opportunities and challenges. It may be assistance with buying or selling their business, or forming an entity, or writing an agreement between two new business partners. It could be helping navigate issues of employer versus independent contractor, or dealing with the EDD or Labor Commission when a business is accused of not getting it right. It might be preparing business to business terms and conditions, or navigating a commercial lease. Half the time my office is generally dealing with disputes, with partners, or customers or employees.

Main Office
725 Washington Street, Suite 200
Oakland  CA  94607
  • (510) 444-5082
  • (510) 834-0701


Free Initial Consultation?
I generally have an extensive telephone consultation with a prospective client without charge before an initial appointment is scheduled. While I do not charge for that part of the initial meeting focused on getting to know each other better, I usually do charge once the client and I begin evaluating the problem and the options for solution.
Services Offered For Fixed Fees?
In circumstances in which the extent of my legal services have a narrow scope, I will often offer clients a fixed fee and other matters are handled on an hourly basis. I never handle disputes on a fixed or contingent fee. For certain disputes involving large sums, I will sometimes offer my client the option of a substantially reduced hourly fee as well as a negotiated contingent fee.
Hourly Rates
$325 to $400 per hour depending on the lawyer doing the work and the type of matter.

Office Information

Office Hours
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Office Manager
Tanya Yee
Emergency After Hours

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

I like business and the people who engage in it!

What is your firm's point of view regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?

Of course I encourage clients to be well-informed on matters of importance to them, including legal matters. Business owners may choose different forms of legal self-help, and for different reasons; experience, money, temperament, perceived complexity and readiness of available self-help options. For at least some, self-help is an over-arching philosophy. And while there is a price to pay for legal help, there is also a price to pay for self-help. For self-help, one may take a lot more of their own time, worry a bit more, and possibly, not get what they really need. People who can accept those outcomes are in my opinion the best candidates for self-help legal options. Unfortunately, in most circumstances one is not able to discern in advance if a self-help choice is adequate to one's needs until it fails and then it is too late. If you form your own entity or prepare your own buy-sell agreement or write your own commercial lease or characterize a worker as an independent contractor, then much of the time things will not go wrong at all, or if things do go wrong, not in a way for your self-help documents to fail you. But some of the time, things will go terribly wrong in a way that is very harmful or even fatal to a business which could have been avoided had a lawyer been involved and prepared the documents. Like any approach to problem solving, self-help depends on thoughtful and judicious use to be a solution rather than another problem.

Is your firm willing to review documents prepared by clients?

Sometimes I will review documents prepared by clients, but with two strong caveats: (1) It is my experience that it takes at least as much and sometimes more time to review a document rather than to write one. Since lawyers charge for time, the math does not always favor the expense of review only. (2) If it is not a document that I created, I will not subject myself to the rigors of legal liability for the document's defects.

Is your firm willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?

If this question refers to going to court, I often coach clients for their appearance in small claims court where attorneys are not allowed. For appearing in more complicated court proceedings, I generally regard it as unwise for a non-lawyer to represent themselves because the court dynamic is subject to much detail and nuance and many surprises that demand immediate action in the moment.

Peter M. Stanwyck

Since my last previous employment ended in January of 1974, there is not much to say which may be of interest. I did work for a small Oakland firm for a couple of years which was headed by a charming Oakland icon, Joe Smith. Joe had been Oakland's mayor about the time I was born and possessed an engaging smile and a (very) strong handshake, and with whom you could not walk a single block without being greeted by many. My focus was business, and Joe's firm mostly did personal injury work and worker's compensation, so we remained friends and parted company. During law school (at U.C. Berkeley - Go Bears!) I did work coaching Cal's undergraduate debate team, and at Giant Burgers, and spent one long summer at a big dog New York Wall Street law firm where I mostly learned that wasn't for me.

While I believe I have led a great life, it has not been without challenges and some scars (as well as two titanium knees). There is no doubt that I am a better and more empathetic lawyer for the challenges and the scars and there has been no better crucible of improvement than the nearly 40 years I have spent representing thousands of small businesses.

Oh Lord, strengths and style? I do value humor, I don't take myself too seriously, and I dare say, I can be a tad irreverent. I enjoy writing in a manner that lawyers typically don't. I am a very good listener and, as men and lawyers go, I am rather intuitive. I am direct and to the point and tend to go to the heart of the matter quickly.

Personal interests:

I aspire to be a CK underwear model but feel time is starting to run out on me. Just in case that doesn't happen for me, I have spent the last decade being a dedicated single dad, whose two sons are now both in college, so I am busy de-cluttering my empty nest. My youngest, a freshman at UC Davis, is a pitcher on their baseball team so I can add that to my A's season tickets (for 30 years) and umpiring youth baseball. This is starting to sound like, but I also do toddler storytimes at various Oakland branch libraries. Over the years I have Chaired the Oakland Library Commission and served on the Boards of the Easter Seal Society, Zoo, Museum and Ballet. I enjoy writing but since this is the last sentence of the last answer I am about to stop, writing that is.

About us.

  • Bar Number: 51640
    California , 972
  • Bar Number: 51640
    California , 0972
  • Boalt Hall, U.C. Berkeley
    J.D. , 1971
    Berkeley, CA
    Even though Boalt's tuition was less than 5% of what it is now, I had this minor problem of needing to work in order to live while in law school, and did so 20-25 hours a week by coaching the debate team, flipping hamburgers and writing the law school's public relations material.
  • U.C. Berkeley

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