Firm Overview
Representation Philosophy
Unlike many attorneys, I entered the legal profession after working for a number of years in an industrial setting instead of going straight through college and law school into law practice. This "real life" experience has been very helpful in the hundreds of cases I have handled since becoming a lawyer. I relate to my clients and their legal problems with a better understanding of what they are going through.
In talking with juries after trials, I confirmed that they clearly understood the arguments I made in each case. They felt like they had come to an informed and just verdict. Over ninety percent of my jury trials to date have resulted in a favorable outcome to my clients.
After working with law firms in California and New York I decided to become a sole practitioner for a number of reasons. I learned that multi-attorney firms are more concerned with billing the clients than solving client problems. Furthermore, clients in large firms are less likely to maintain the level of communication needed to properly administer their cases because they are charged for every second of time. I will not charge you for every two minute phone call or piece of paper I print out on your behalf. I make myself available to my clients because I know that legal problems can be very stressful and communication is the key to a successful outcome.
Case Handling Methods
If you are forced to protect or enforce your legal rights through the court system because another person, business or government entity has caused you monetary or personal harm, you are a potential plaintiff. If your legal problem involves one of my areas of practice, call me for a free case evaluation. You must file your claim or complaint within a certain period of time depending on what type of case it is or else the relevant statute of limitations will come into play and you will lose your right to sue.
I will help you formulate the best course of action going forward. You may just need a strongly worded demand letter.  However, you must always be ready to back up any threat of litigation with action. That is where my trial and litigation experience comes in. I will focus on the key issues in your case, gather the appropriate evidence to back your claim and ultimately, if your reasonable demands are not met, present your case to a jury in the best possible light.
If you are the defendant in a lawsuit, you must respond to the plaintiff's complaint within a specified amount of time, usually 20 to 30 days after you are served. If you do not respond within the required timeframe, the plaintiff will take a default judgment against you. At that point you will either have to pay the plaintiff without the benefit of a defense or start digging yourself out of a legal pit.
You can avoid the default judgment by answering the plaintiff's complaint on time and establishing a sound defense. If you feel it is in your best interests to settle the case (maybe litigating will cost you more than paying the plaintiff), we will discuss the best settlement approaches for your situation. However, you usually cannot obtain a favorable resolution unless you are prepared to litigate. I can help you attempt to settle the case while preparing a strong defense in the event the case does not settle.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Not every case needs to be litigated. With careful and thoughtful preparation, some cases can be resolved informally through simple negotiation and/or mediation. In evaluating your case, we will discuss Alternative Dispute Resolution and if you approve, we will make an attempt to resolve your legal problem without litigation, or with as little legal wrangling as possible.
Hilton Legal, LLC Fee Structure
Hourly Litigation Cases
I model my fee structure after my father's. William M. Hilton (January 27, 1934 - November 20, 2009) was well regarded as one of the world's foremost legal experts in the field of interstate and international child custody jurisdiction. Other attorneys often told him he could charge double what he did for his level of expertise. He felt that because his fees and fee structure were reasonable, his clients were better able to afford and pay for his services.
Much of the time that attorneys charge is for research. It is important for any lawyer to carefully research all possible legal issues in a given case in order to represent a client competently. Like my father, I charge half my usual hourly rate for legal research because it is so time intensive. I will take the time necessary to pinpoint the statutory and case law relevant to your legal issues without causing an undue strain on your litigation budget.
Award of Attorney's Fees
By Statute
Some cases, such as wrongful denial of insurance coverage, civil rights violations, Americans with Disabilities Act cases, Fair Labor Standards Act cases, Clean Water Act cases, etc. may include remedies such that the prevailing party is awarded their attorney's fees on the basis of a state or federal statute. If your case is one of these types, you may be able to recover some or all of the attorney's fees you spent in bringing or defending your claim. As part of your free consultation and case evaluation, I will determine whether or not your case falls into this category.
By Contract
Most breach of contract cases put attorney's fees at issue pursuant to specific language in the contract. Generally, a clause of the contract in dispute will provide for attorney's fees to either the drafter of the contract or the prevailing party. As part of your free consultation and evaluation, I will discuss the possible risks as well as rewards of engaging in litigation under a contract dispute.
Contingent Fee Cases - Personal Injury
Most personal injury cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. The law provides that attorneys can charge for the cost of litigation (filing fees, deposition costs, expert fees, etc.) even in a contingent fee case no matter the outcome. At Hilton Legal, LLC, you will not be charged any fees or costs if I accept your case on a completely contingent basis unless I obtain a settlement or verdict in your favor. Only then will you be charged a percentage of the recovery, plus costs. If I do not recover any money for you in a case that I accept on a completely contingent basis, there is absolutely no charge. Call today for a free consultation and case evaluation.
Other Contingent Fee Cases
If your case does not involve personal injury, it is still possible that I may take it on a contingent basis if there are attorney's fees awarded by statute to the prevailing party. Call today for a free consultation and case evaluation. I will let you know if your case falls under this area and whether or not I can accept the case on a contingent basis. Typical cases that may provide for statutory prevailing party attorney's fees are wrongful denial of insurance coverage, civil rights violations, Americans with Disabilities Act cases, Fair Labor Standards Act cases, Clean Water Act cases, etc.