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Barrister Bits - Legal Questions Answered - by Debra Newby

Do you have a legal question on your mind? If so, please email me at debra@newbylawoffice.com. Your name will remain confidential. This Q & A Legal Column is intended as a community service to discuss general legal principles and does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Debra A. Newby is a resident of Monte Rio and has practiced law for 34 years. She is a member of the California, Texas and Sonoma County Bar Associations and currently maintains an active law office in Santa Rosa which emphasizes personal injury law (bicycle/motorcycle/motor vehicle accidents, dog bites, trip and falls, etc.) and expungements (clearing criminal records). Debra can be reached via email (debra@newbylawoffice.com), phone (707-526-7200), or fax (526-7202).

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2019-03-23Mar 23, 2019

I am going through a nasty divorce so I hired a family law attorney last month.  The initial retainer was $3500, which I paid.  I just received the first itemized bill, and all of the $3500 is spent (and now the attorney wants another $5000)!  When I reviewed the itemized bill, it looks like the attorney is charging me outrageous amounts, like $100 an hour for a secretary to organize and set-up my file, $150 an hour for the paralegal to review the file, and of course the whopping $400 an hour every time the attorney touches the file.  Are there any rules or guidelines regarding how attorneys can bill? 

2019-01-21Jan 21, 2019

One local and valuable resource is the Sonoma County Public Law Library.  Yes, a law library dedicated to legal topics.  You probably won’t find “Estate Planning for Dummies”, but you will find over 26,000 books, CD’s and other legal resource materials available and free to the public (Note:  You must be a member of the Law Library to check out the materials or you can use the available copy machine — bring your sock of quarters.)   

2018-12-30Dec 30, 2018

As part of my annual New Year tradition, I am highlighting some of the new California state laws (most of which are in effect as of January 1, 2019 unless expressed otherwise in the law). Keep in mind that during the 2018 Legislative Session, over one thousand Assembly Bills (AB) and Senate Bills (SB) collectively passed. Governor Jerry Brown signed 1,016 of the 1,217 that landed on his desk (he vetoed the rest).  New laws limiting plastic straws, increasing renewable sources for electricity, Gun control, protecting Net Neutrality and others.

 

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