Zatopa&Stephens : Non-Profit
Zatopa & Siegel, Attorneys at Law

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 government agencies.

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 you:

Initial Screening
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:

  • 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.
. Establishing a Legal Relationship
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 service
  • 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.


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