Frequently Asked Questions

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If you have any questions of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

How does Panagopoulos Embry P.C. defend my rights and protect my interests?

Panagopoulos Embry P.C. is a full service law firm focused on and dedicated to the responsibility of ensuring the highest quality of justice for our clients in today’s complex legal environment. The firm practices in those areas of law which impact upon the estates, and businesses of our clients. To meet this responsibility to our clients, Panagopoulos Embry provides intelligent legal counseling, sound ethical guidance, practical strategic planning, and robust representation for our clients.

Panagopoulos Embry P.C. uses a concerted approach that integrates the latest technology & research materials and professional collaboration amongst a solid core of networked professionals. Our cutting edge practice model help us confidently navigate through even the most complex legal matters that impact our clients.

What is the history behind Panagopoulos Embry P.C.?

Panagopoulos Law P.C., is a full service law firm focused on and dedicated to the responsibility of delivering to our clients the highest quality of justice, in today’s complex legal environment. We approach each case or matter with a unique collaborative strategy which integrates a team of professionals and forensic experts with a broad range of knowledge and expertise to provide our clients with effective solutions, the most up to date legal research, and practical legal guidance.

The firm’s founder, Dimitri Panagopoulos Esq, began his career in 1994 working as a private investigator in Las Vegas, Nevada. He honed his sharp investigation skills, and keen appreciation for detail while earning a degree in Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada Las Vegas while working as an investigator.

At UNLV, Dimitri focused his studies on Organized Crime, Business Crime, White Collar Crime, as well as street crime and the psychological and sociological causes of crime. After college, Dimitri moved to Arizona and opened his own detective agency, which grew beyond himself to include several associates. In 2004, Dimitri began attending law school.

After completing law school and winding down his investigation practice, Dimitri moved to San Diego and founded Panagopoulos Law P.C. in 2010. Panagopoulos Law P.C., was founded with a sensitive understanding that business owners are vulnerable to legal complications in more ways than the mere day-to-day transactions and governance of their businesses. Examples of the various exposures that clients face include the reality that government regulation, and criminalization of conduct is constantly on the rise, to the extent that sound business representation must include a sound grasp of the criminal justice system. Likewise, when a business owner suffers personal injuries at the hands of another, in most cases the task of the business owner to prove precisely what their damages are in terms of economic losses in determining adequate compensation is for more complicated than those whose economic losses are limited to an easily verifiable pay stub. Of equal importance, business owners can also suffer from both financial setbacks necessitating the relief of the Bankruptcy Court and personal relationship breakdowns that require Family Court intervention. As such, Dimitri geared the firm to meet these multifaceted client needs.

In April, 2013, Dimitri completed his LL.M degree, which is a post law school graduate degree reflecting specialized knowledge in a dedicated area of law. Dimitri’s LL.M is in the realm of representing small businesses and their owners. The curriculum he studied was focused on advanced studies in the areas of taxation, entity selection, corporate governance, business succession planning, tort liability, and contract negotiation strategies.

In July, 2013 Dimitri finalized a strategic alliance with a long time friend and respected colleague Ben Embry and Panagopoulos Law P.C. became Panagopoulos Embry P.C.

This foundation, together with each attorney’s longstanding respective legal backgrounds allows the firm to provide a broad, but sharply focused, range of representation in matters impacting small businesses and their owners. These practice areas include: all criminal cases whether Business and White Collar type criminal situations, or other crimes; the full gamut of Business and Corporate law, Business Succession Planning & Estate Planning, Bankruptcy matters, Family law and Personal Injury matters.

Panagopoulos Embry P.C. is a results driven firm, where our reputation for success is a fundamental cornerstone of our practice. Please call or email us with any questions.

How exactly does Panagopoulos Embry P.C. establish solid relationships with its clients

Each initial conference is structured to achieve this through candid discussion and analysis of the client’s matter. Our approach recognizes that there are legal, social, moral, and financial facets to many of the matters that bring our clients to us. The initial conference is designed to allow you and your lawyer to get to know each other, and build a dialogue that allows your lawyer to develop a solid factual understanding of the matter.

During your conference you will have plenty of time to discuss your case, ask questions, and receive the advice and counsel of your attorney. Generally included as part of your initial conference, you will receive in the mail from your lawyer, a letter which memorializes the discussion you had; as well as the advice given to you. Included in that letter will also be any post conference research findings that may effect the discussion between you and your lawyer. Also included, when necessary and appropriate, your lawyer will submit a position letter to other parties involved in your matter.

Finally, included with your intial conference you receive a fifteen minute follow-up telephone conference with your lawyer to discuss anything pertaining to your matter that you may have remembered after you you have left the intial conference.

Depending on the nature of the client’s matter there is a nominal fee for an initial conference at Panagopoulos Embry P.C. While many other firms offer a “no charge” initial conference, those conferences are often limited in the amount of time an attorney will spend with you, and generally require payment for any subsequent correspondence resulting from the conference, or follow up conferences. However, in most cases where the client hires Panagopoulos Embry P.C. after the initial conference the nominal fee is waived and applied to the clients retainer.

Panagopoulos Embry P.C. fosters a business model that promotes both paramount client service and appreciable value for our clients.

What are the financial policies of Panagopoulos Embry P.C.?

Panagopoulos Embry P.C. is a results driven firm.

Our goal in every case is to achieve optimum results in meeting the client’s needs. At the same time we are conscientious about the rising costs involved in sound legal representation. To this end, Panagopoulos Embry P.C. begins each client relationship with an initial conference. During this conference the firm determines and discusses how it can assist the client with the matter at hand, the potential costs and fees the client will be responsible for in conjunction with our assistance, and the budgetary concerns of the client.

There is generally a nominal fee for an initial conference because the client will be given valuable advice and guidance regardless of whether the client elects to retain the firm to assist them in their matter. In some instances, this fee will be waived, or applied to the overall fee for our services.

Panagopoulos Embry P.C. bases its fees on the totality of circumstances that surround any given matter taking into consideration, the level of difficulty in the matter, the benefit of our representation that will be conferred to the client, the time anticipated to be expended on the matter, any time limitations imposed, and the overall relationship with the client.

In many cases there will be a flat fee to undertake the representation, or prepare a set of documents. Other cases will require an advanced deposit on the fees expected to be charged. Those funds are held in a client trust account and billed against as services are rendered. Finally, in some cases the firm will undertake representation on a contingency basis, and the firm’s fees are paid out of and upon reaching a settlement or judgment in a case.

In any case, the client will be fully informed of the costs & fees in a written retainer agreement.

Panagopoulos Embry accepts Visa & Mastercard in most cases, excluding Bankruptcy cases.

Checks are generally accepted from current clients, and from new clients with advanced approval by the the firm.

First time consultation fees must be tendered in either cash, cashier’s check, or Visa/Mastercard.

What is the story behind your logo?

The Story of the Shield Bearer

The legal profession has arguably been around since the beginning of man. However, at least as early as the 12th century there is recorded history of groups of men who were considered to possess particular knowledge and who took on the roles of legal advisors and court advocates. A common method of resolving disputes in and about the 12th century up through the middle-ages was through the use of the “Trial” however, the trials were decided by physical battle between the disputants. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that God would reward the righteous with victory. Obviously there were problems with this might made right system and the tribunals of the time addressed the disparity. Those who were physically infirm, elderly , or children, were allowed to retain “Champions” to represent them in their battles. The “bar”barians may even be considered the first “bar” association. Thereafter, it became the practice to settle disputes through the use of these advocates.

Fast forwarding to today, we see similarities, in that while trials are arguably no longer about who can physically beat down their opponent, lawyers today are constantly put to the physical paces of out-thinking, out-running, and out-lawyering the opponent. Most lawyers, thank goodness, have surrendered their swords for pens, however one principle remains completely intact as it did nearly 800 years ago, the lawyer, the champion, is there to bear the shield and protect the client.

The term modern lawyers attach to their name “esquire” or “ESQ” historically comes from French and European origins and means shield bearer. Our logo was inspired by the historical role that lawyers have always occupied, specifically to shield their clients from overbearing adversaries, and our commitment to the relentless pursuit of justice for our clients. Panagopoulos Embry P.C. hopes you find our website to be a resource for our basic questions, and we invite you to email us if you would like to discuss anything in particular that is not addressed within the website.

How can I structure my business so that I can pass it on to my children?

Let me preface this answer by saying that there is no magic formula that applies universally to every person’s circumstances. Generally, I recommend that people considering opening a business take some time and write out what their goals are, how they plan to achieve those goals, and what limitations or obstacles they may foresee. Once they have done that, I would encourage them to invest in the advice of legal counsel through at a minimum, a consultation. During that consultation they should explain their goals, achievement plans, and foreseeable obstacles to the lawyer so that the lawyer can them dispense sound guidance based on those elements.

Now to answer the question. Planning is critical for a broad range of reasons. Those reasons include limiting liability, protecting assets, providing flexibility for growth, business succession, and preservation of the wealth the business will hopefully produce.

I like to see small businesses formed as manager managed Limited Liability Companies (LLC) whenever appropriate. This structure will, with proper operation, shield the owner from liabilities of the company. I also like to have the owner of the LLC, also known as the “member”, be a trust. The trust beneficiaries are those who are intended to benefit from the profits and proceeds of the company. With proper planning, and drafting, in some cases the trust could also be structured to protect the LLC from claims against the beneficiaries, and in some cases even claims against the trustor.

Because the member of the LLC is a trust, on death of the founder there is no interruption of ownership, and the LLC, if not already removed from the estate of the decedent founder, will be a nonprobate asset that transfers directly to the beneficiary in accordance with the terms of the trust.

While at first glance this may appear to be a complex structure, there are limited formalities to preserving the identity of the LLC, and also limited administrative duties pertaining to the trust. When counter-balanced with the benefits and protections that will be in place, the burdens of administration and maintenance are relatively minor.

When my office prepares this structure for a client, there is at some point in the planning phase, a joint conference with an independent certified public accountant, (CPA) who provides the client with a review of the accounting and tax reporting tasks that will be involved in maintaining the structure i.e. informing the client about who files what tax returns and when. The CPA can also offer guidance with respect to income tax planning matters that may concern the client.

As I indicated at the beginning of this answer. Each circumstance requires a personalized analysis based on the goals of the client, how the client plans to achieve those goals, and what limitations and obstacles the client believes they will be faced with.

This answer is provided for academic discussion only. Your specific matter may have different facts that require different recommendations than those discussed above. No attorney client relationship can be formed with my firm without having an initial conference, and entering into a written retainer agreement.

How do you set your fees, and do you require the fee in advance?

 How do you set your fees, and do you require the fee in advance?

Answer:  We set our fees based on a totality of circumstances including the difficulty of the task at hand, the uniqueness of our intellectual contribution to the case,  the value of our service conferred onto the client, any tight time deadlines, and the overall effect taking a given case will have on our other cases.  Time is commodity.

Abraham Lincoln said it best in the following letter, written in 1842.  The principle is still very relevant in today’s legal market.

 
To James S. Irwin 

Jas S. Irwin Esqr. Springfield, Nov. 2 1842.

Owing to my absence, yours of the 22nd. ult. was not received till this moment.

Judge Logan & myself are willing to attend to any business in the Supreme Court you may send us. As to fees, it is impossible to establish a rule that will apply in all, or even a great many cases. We believe we are never accused of being very unreasonable in this particular; and we would always be easily satisfied, provided we could see the money—but whatever fees we earn at a distance, if not paid before, we have noticed we never hear of after the work is done. We therefore, are growing a little sensitive on that point.

Yours ,

A. LINCOLN