CREATE YOUR FUTURE
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
WHY CHOOSE CPC LAW?
The legal profession is broken and unresponsive to client needs in many ways. It’s over-populated with over 100,000 licensed attorneys in the State of Florida. There is no shortage of law firms to consider for your legal needs.
How do we differentiate our firm from all the others and what sets us apart?
The law firm of CPC Law strives to build long-term trusted-advisor relationships with its clients rather than “one-off” interactions. We help real estate investors, entrepreneurs and consumers create a better future through problem-solving and strategic planning legal services. Many of our clients return for assistance in new matters as well as refer their friends and family, which is the greatest honor we can receive. The large majority of CPC Law’s business comes through referrals from current and former clients and our referral source allies in the local real estate and business communities.
CPC Law serves clients throughout the United States and internationally. Charles Castellon founded the firm in 2008 and has been practicing law since 1992. People from all over the world invest in Florida through real estate or businesses and we serve them. We have represented clients with Florida legal issues from countries including Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Italy, Egypt, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, China, South Africa, France, Spain, Morocco and Norway, among others we are likely forgetting.
Believing that it’s better to avoid problems than to solve them, CPC Law emphasizes careful and thoughtful planning strategies for our clients. We’re paid to consider all the “what-ifs” in life and draw from many years of legal experience and the mistakes we’ve seen to help our clients solve and prevent problems. We’re paid to be paranoid and worry about the many things that can go wrong, so that our clients don’t have to worry.
At CPC Law, we follow the Japanese principle known as Kaizen, which refers to constant, gradual improvement. We’ll never be perfect but if we aim for perfection, we can hit excellence and excellence is pretty good. When we make mistakes, we work diligently to fix them. The CPC Law team is always working on ways to improve the firm and the results we achieve for our clients. It’s a team effort and everyone is available to help, with no one ever saying “that’s not my job.” If we don’t have a ready answer, we’ll find it.
The most common client complaint in the legal profession is that attorneys don’t return messages. Good communication is critical and we respond to calls and emails in a timely fashion.
CPC Law encourages its clients to consider a budget for legal services before having the initial consultation. Sometimes, the client needs only one specific service and there’s a regular fee attached to that. More commonly, there is a range of ways we can help a client in a given situation, from “doing a little” to “doing a lot.” Whenever possible, we try to give the client the power and freedom to decide on an amount or range of fees they feel willing and able to pay.
The attorney will try to propose a service plan that fits the client’s budget. Sometimes we’ll pleasantly surprise the client by saying we can handle a matter for far under budget. Other times, there’s nothing we can do for that amount, but every potential client we speak with gets quality, thoughtful legal advice and guidance.
We turn away many prospective clients and walk away from a lot of fee-earning opportunities. Sometimes, we just can’t help the client and we ‘ll never take a fee without a good faith belief in our ability to do some good. The doctors’ motto is “do no harm” and that should work for lawyers too.
Not every client is a good fit for every law firm. If you’re sure of what you need from a lawyer and are just shopping around for the best price with cost being your only concern, we’re probably not a good fit. CPC Law will not likely request the cheapest nor most expensive fee for a given job. We always want to talk with potential clients to determine if what they think they need is really the best thing for them. That’s one reason why we’re unlikely to quote a fee over the phone without discussing the matter during an attorney consultation. We’ve had many consults where the attorney shows the potential client that what they thought they needed isn’t the best thing and often, the recommended alternative is less expensive.
FLEXIBLE AND CREATIVE BILLING OPTIONS
One of the ways the legal profession is broken stems from the long-held adherence to the hourly-billing method. For most non-litigation matters we offer flat-fee arrangements, often with reasonable payment plans. CPC Law does offer hourly-billing for many services and sometimes will only take on a given matter under such terms, but this is usually only for litigation. Sometimes, the nature of the representation is so open-ended and fluid and we can’t accurately estimate the amount of work that will be required. Those matters tend to be billed hourly.
In lawsuits, the amount of time that the attorney and support team will devote to a case is very hard to estimate. This is because litigation can go in many different directions and so much of what we do depends on the actions of others we cannot control, like the opponent in the case, their attorney, the judge, etc.
In many cases, it makes sense and it’s fair to both the attorney and client to work hourly and it can be done fairly and ethically. In avoiding hourly-billing and using a flat fee, there is often a risk that either the client or attorney will get burned, depending on whether the matter turns out more simple or complicated than expected. There are, however, problems associated with the billable hour method that often hurt the client if the attorney is looking out for their own self-interest above the client’s.
Attorneys often abuse the hourly-billing system and that’s is a poorly-kept secret in the legal profession. A friend of CPC Law’s Founder and Managing Attorney, Charles Castellon, works in commercial real estate. This friend went back to a prominent and highly-regarded large Orlando firm with whom he had worked in real estate matters for years when he needed to update his family’s estate plan.
Even though most attorneys offer flat fee arrangements for estate planning (for which the time put into the matter is usually consistent and fairly predictable), this “white shoe” firm refused to budge from its hourly-billing model. Worse yet, the attorney handling the estate plan billed her time at the rate of $450 per hour. An example that illustrates the potential for abuse is when the attorney emailed the client to request information a paralegal or legal assistant could have handled capably.
The exchange went like this: “What’s your daughter’s address?” [click and send]. On the next bill was an entry for .1 hour and $45 for that exchange. You may wonder why there are so many lawyer jokes but this example of abuse is all too common and not funny.
Lawyers have managed to change the laws of physics. The smallest increment of time in the universe isn’t the nanosecond. It’s six minutes because most billing software won’t break down any entry below “.1 hour,” which is six minutes. As such, acts that may take seconds, like the email above or making a call and leaving a voice mail add to the “death by a thousand cuts.”
Other abuses include firms that bill all work at the highest-billing attorney’s rate, no matter who did the work, including paralegals. The long-standing practice of the legal community is to say “we can’t tell you how much it’s going to cost,” collect a retainer deposit and then say “we’ll tell you when we need more money.” Consumers, investors and small businesses have had enough of this and have rebelled against it.
We understand that most clients would prefer compensation alternatives to the hourly model and CPC Law strives to accommodate our clients whenever possible by offering them fair billing arrangements. For most flat-fee services, we can accommodate the client’s need for a payment plan.
In litigation matters, we have sometimes broken-down fees into flat-fee stages along the lines of pay $X to get from “point A to point B” in the case, then we’ll talk again about terms for continued services. Sometimes, we’ll work on a contingency for a percentage of the amount recovered for a client. Other times, we’ve taken cases on a “hybrid” model of an up-front flat fee or hourly billing up to a cap, then a contingency percentage afterward.
We charge reasonable fees and don’t try to gouge our clients. When the arrangement is hourly-billing, we don’t abuse it. Quite often, we’ll send our clients bills showing the time put into a given task, but with a courtesy “no bill” entry if it’s just fair not to charge. The 10-second email and call with a voice mail discussed above are examples. When we take longer than we reasonably should have to do something, the bill will read something like “.4 to research legal issue (actual time: .7).” Also, we bill our senior and junior attorney time at certain rates appropriate to their skill and experience levels and paralegals at lower rates. When someone can capably work for a client at a lower rate than another member of the firm, the lower-priced team member will do the work to keep the client’s fees down.
FLORIDA REAL ESTATE INVESTORS
Investing in a property is not easy as one is bound to make mistakes at any time. The help of an experienced attorney will do well in ensuring that everything goes as planned.
The areas we cover under real estate investment are:
- Florida Landlord & Tenant Disputes – We have helped many landlords handle tenant issues.
- Florida Eviction Attorney – If a landlord needs to evict their tenant, we can handle the case from the initial notice to the final judgment for eviction. For landlords who want to handle the eviction on their own, they can download the Florida Eviction Kit on this website.
- Florida Plaintiff Foreclosures – CPC Law represents private lenders, community banks and investors who are mortgage lenders. When borrowers default, we’ll seek to negotiate out of court resolutions, including deeds in lieu of foreclosure, short sales or loan modifications. When all else fails, CPC Law will file a foreclosure action to protect our client’s investment.
- Florida Land Trusts – Land trusts are an effective and versatile tool for real estate investors to hold title. A land trust will help the investor achieve privacy, avoid litigation, serve estate-planning needs and many other benefits.
- Private Lender Documentation – There’s an entire industry of real estate investors, private lenders, note-buyers and local community banks holding mortgages. CPC Law effectively serves and represents these players in the mortgage-lending world.
- Florida Real Estate Closings – Esquire Title Company is the title insurance agency affiliated with the law firm of CPC Law. Esquire serves real estate investors, realtors, mortgage lenders and consumers with real estate closing, escrow and title services.
- Florida Real Estate Litigation – CPC Law has an active litigation practice and we handle a variety of lawsuits for investors, small businesses and consumers. Within our litigation practice area, we handle several kinds of matters relating to real estate.
SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURS
Founder and Managing Attorney, Charles Castellon, is a small business-owner and entrepreneur and he understands our business clients’ needs and issues. We work with our clients to help them in all aspects of business. CPC Law helps businesses solve and prevent the problems business-owners face.
CPC Law helps business owners in:
- Buying a Business – Great care and due diligence should go into any business purchase. We help and protect our clients through all aspects of the buying process. CPC Law often reminds our clients that sometimes the best investment is the one you never make. Also, as Stephen Covey advised us, “begin with the end in mind.” This means helping clients devise an exit plan when they buy.
- Selling a Business – We help our clients negotiate the best terms to suit their needs, including seller-financing, and help them plan for the next adventure.
- Business Succession Planning – Most small business-owners neglect the important issue of what would happen to their business, its stake-holders and the owner’s family upon their death or disability. CPC Law advises entrepreneurs on planning strategies and helps them execute on those important plans.
- Civil Litigation – If you can own a business for an extended period of time without ever having to sue someone or be sued, you’re fortunate. Litigation or threat of it, is very common in the business world. We work to help our clients avoid lawsuits with proper strategic planning and consideration of the “what-ifs,” but when it’s necessary to go to court, we file and defend commercial lawsuits.
- Florida Asset Protection – Helping our clients “play good defense” is an essential part of our firm’s approach. There are many ways to get in trouble with debts and liabilities and we strive to insulate our clients as much as possible while helping them design an “asset-protected lifestyle” for their businesses and families.
Although all investors and business-owners are also consumers, quite often, we represent individuals and families who don’t fall into those categories in a variety of issues.
Some of the areas we cover in consumer law are:
- Estate Planning – You don’t need to be wealthy to need an estate plan. Death is the only sure thing in life and bad things also happen during life that require good planning for the benefit of your loved ones. We help clients from all walks of life with important planning tools including: wills, family trusts, health care surrogates, powers of an attorney and living wills.
- Probate – We represent families who need to go to court for probate when a loved one dies. In addition to navigating through the court process, we guide our clients through all the related and, often, overwhelming issues following death, including real estate matters, creditor claims against the estate and many other issues. Whenever possible, our firm will defer compensation for legal fees until after the probate is complete, if assets such as real estate need to be sold before legal bills are paid.
- Foreclosure Defense – Charles Castellon founded this firm during the depths of the foreclosure crisis in 2008 and we have helped hundreds of homeowners and investors fight to save their homes or negotiate exit plans with as little damage as possible. Though the historical crisis is largely over, there will always be foreclosures and clients in need of our help.
- Identity Theft – Nobody is immune to threats relating to identity theft and computer hacking. Our firm helps clients prevent attacks and rebuild if they’ve already been hacked or had their identity stolen. Through our affiliated partners, we offer world-class identify theft prevention services.
- Timeshare Cancellation -Many consumers are pressured or defrauded into purchasing timeshares and they often want to cancel the agreement and get out. We represent consumers seeking relief against the developers.
Florida Eviction Kit for Real Estate Investors
CPC Law has developed a FREE eviction kit for real estate investors with rental property in Florida. The eviction kit was developed as a flowchart on the Florida eviction process with corresponding legal forms. Simply follow the process and use the forms to legally get rid of non-paying tenants!
CPC Law is the solution for all Florida residents looking for a real estate lawyer and help in business law and consumer law.
Contact CPC Law at (407) 851-0201 and speak to an attorney now!
I am a realtor and investor for over 15 years. Mr. Charles is my attorney for over 6 years and I am very happy to work with him. I have. 4 clients the bank was about to take their homes. Mr Charles fought with the bank to stop the foreclosure and they are still in their home with a lower mortgage and very happy. He is always there for his clients and I am blessed to have him as my attorney.Ariel Francis