Los Angeles, CA family law attorney Robert W. Eisfelder talks about the cases his firm handles and his working relationship with fellow lawyer Robyn C. Santucci.
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Our firm is unique because we are a boutique firm. I have extensive civil litigation experience as well as family law, and Robyn and I are able to integrate our various resources in a way that gives the client a lot of common ground. We’re always available. We pick and choose our clients just as our clients choose us, and if we think it’s not a good fit we’ll maybe refer the client off to somebody else. And if we are too busy we may decline representation. So we try to keep our cases to a minimum so we can effectively work with clients.
The relationship that Robyn and I have engaged in is unique. We are two separate offices but we are of counsel to one another, which means when I need Robyn to help me she’s available and vice-versa. We divide up our work with our specialties. Robyn is an extremely capable legal writer and researcher. My specialty is going to trial and taking cases through to a judgement. So we combine our two skills, and I think the most unique thing about us is if somebody ran into us on the street and asked what’s going on with their case we’d be able to tell them, because we are hands-on with our clients. We do not delegate things to other lawyers as sometimes occurs in family law.
Bob and I decided to merge forces in family law vis-à-vis he is of counsel to my firm. And what that means is I bring him in on cases where I think that his expertise and experience of 40-plus years litigation could really be an asset to my clients. He’s also very strategic, so on cases where I think that he can add to the analysis of the case, maybe see something different that I haven’t seen, I like to bring him in for that purpose. He’s very well-liked by my clients and very respected by opposing counsel and the court, so I really have a great working relationship with him and am very happy that he’s a part of my team.
When a client retains me or is considering me as their lawyer, the first question I ask the client is, “Have you ever interviewed a lawyer before?” And oftentimes they’ll say no. So I give them a list of things to ask their lawyers. How available are they? How much experience do they have? How many times do they go to trial? What is their caseload? What is their hourly rate? What is the cost of the litigation going to be? And how do they approach family litigation in particular where you’re dealing with not only property issues but issues involving children and custody?