The non-profit and for-profit corporations served by Zatopa & Stephens
contract with counties or special educational agencies to provide residential,
special education or mental health services to dependents and wards of
the court and to emotionally disturbed or developmentally disabled children
and adults. Michael Zatopa has represented numerous non-profits for over
25 years assisting such corporations in their relationships with various
If you are a non-profit corporation that contracts with government agencies,
you may have a specific legal issue or problem for which you seek legal
advice, or you may be interested in obtaining legal counseling on ways
to prevent problems in your relationship with the government agencies
with whom you deal.
The following is a brief summary of how Zatopa & Stephens may help
We generally begin with a 10-15 minute, “no-cost” phone interview
with an attorney. We will discuss the nature and size of your corporation,
the types of children or special needs adults you serve, which government
agencies pay for the services you provide, and what types of services
you provide. In addition, we will discuss your specific concerns and what
led you to seek legal advice.
At the end of the initial phone interview, we will discuss with you whether
you need legal services and if so what kind.
Determining the Appropriateness of Legal Services
During the initial interview, we will help you determine whether you need
our assistance based on the following concerns and questions:
- The cost our services compared to the risk to the corporation if an
attorney is not retained.
- The risks, if any, to your working relationship with the government
agency(ies) involved should you openly retain counsel.
- Whether we can provide you with legal counseling that will allow your
corporation to make better and more informed decisions as a result of
our legal advice.
At the end of the consultation, we may:
. Establishing a Legal Relationship
- Advise you that our firm will be able to provide
you with legal counseling that will provide value to the corporation
in excess of the cost of our services.
- Refer you to an alternative law firm that may have
expertise more suited to your legal problem or concern.
- Advise you that legal counsel is not appropriate
for you, and why.
If we have agreed that our office can help you, there are three different
financial arrangements for a corporate entity retaining our services:
- Fixed Fee
In certain situations, where we agree to do a specific legal project
for you, such as staff training, a specific research project, or other
identifiable tasks, we will negotiate with you a fixed fee for the project.
- Retainer Fee
Where the client has ongoing needs for legal advice or seeks risk management
services, we can establish a Retainer Fee arrangement, in which our
firm bills a monthly or quarterly fee for a fixed number of hours of
- Hourly Fee
In many cases where it is impossible to identify the extent of the legal
services to be provided, our services are billed on an hourly basis.
We maintain hourly time records and then bill for services on a monthly
basis. We generally begin with a fixed deposit, placed in a trust account
and then hourly fees are billed against the deposit.