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Matthew Scott Berkus

Matthew Berkus’s Answers

6,940 total


  • If legal aid services met with my ex-husband, but he opted to hire a private attorney am I not allowed to use them for myself?

    Financially I qualify for legal aid services, my ex-husband has filed for custody of our daughter. Since he met with legal aid services, but then decided to hire a private attorney does that mean I cannot use them as my representation? If so, t...

    Matthew’s Answer

    All you can do is call legal aid, go through its process, and see if they will help. Legal aid offices are sensitive to this sort of thing and can do what are called chinese walls to compartmentalize the attorney that met with your husband. However, whether we think it is legal won't matter, it is up to the legal aid office and your state law. Call legal aid, apply for representation, and do not mention it.

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  • Bankruptcy Lawyer

    Filing for bankruptcy

    Matthew’s Answer

    I think you misunderstand the purpose of this forum. You didn't ask question.

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  • I have an involuntary tpr case

    That i believe there is substantial unethical and rules of professional conduct were not followed and i have contacted the bar, they have insisted that i file a complaint against the attorney but i am wanting to know if I request the email commun...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You need to file the complaint, but the bar will investigate. No, you have no legal standing to request and recieve emails betweem the attorney and other people.

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  • Is it too late to do anything? It happened in parkview elementery in el Monte ca

    grade which I believe was in 1997 I had a substitute teacher aggressively grab me from the wrist and pull me to the front of the class. Earlier this year I for some reason remembered the event and also that I was put into a type of counseling /the...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Way too late, sorry. And candidly, if the facts are as you state (teacher aggressively grabbed you from wrist and pulled you in front of classs.....then what happened), that is not much of case to begin with. Altnough you may believe there is some cause and effect between that action, the connection will be difficult (read, nearly impossible) to prove in court.

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  • Can my in laws legally search my education records?

    My wife and I are going through a rough patch, and my inlays recently acquired all my college transcripts. All was fine with them but I am curious if they were allowed to do that legally. They own a business and I know potential employers can ru...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Not normally, the pertinent question is how exactly they obtained the transcripts (and for that matter, how you found out about it). That may shed some light on the issue and context. However, FERPA doesn't provide for the right to sue, so even if the school wrongfully released the records, you can't sue the school.

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  • If a lawyer has a judgement against you to garnish your state taxes for credit card debt can they garnish your pay 5 years later

    Capital One has a judgment against me for credit card debt the account is closed they have been taking my state taxes I received papers today from court that they're going for garnishment is this still my state taxes or are they going after my pay

    Matthew’s Answer

    They can use all legally available means to collect a judgement until the balance is paid. They can employ multiple methods at the same time.

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  • Is it legal for a college to hold your transcripts after graduation due to unpaid parking tickets?

    I graduated from my school about three months ago, and I feel like they are holding my transcripts hostage because I apparently have some unpaid parking tickets (in which I don't have physical copies of). I asked my mentor if I had any holds befor...

    Matthew’s Answer

    Yes, it is legal...........................

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  • Can student workers at a University unionize for better wages?

    I'm a student employee at a University in Maryland. I do a very hard job and I'm not paid enough. The people who run my University make hundreds of thousands of dollars according to the Baltimore Sun state-employee salary database. Meanwhile, I'm ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    This is more an employment law question than an education law question, so I am changing the practice area.

    Your enrollment at the school and job at the school are separate, so that will not likely be a problem, but given the transient nature of student employees, I think it would be impractical to have a union.

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  • Can I ask my attorney to cap my billed case costs to $500 for law suit without filing?

    Can I ask that there is a cancellation option with X fee if after 6 or 8 months if X amount of dollars isnt settled upon? I know that isnt ideal but every contract I have seen seems to protect the attorney and give them the right to terminate, but...

    Matthew’s Answer

    You can ask, but no attoreny will agree to that because the length of time a case takes to resolve is not within the attorney's control. You can fire your attorney at any time, but no one is going to agree that doing so will have no consequences (e.g. the attorney being entitled to compensation for the work performed).

    Nor can you "cap" costs because an attorney is duty bound to act in your best interests. You can, and it is somewhat common in fee agreements, that if a particular cost will exceed $x amount, the attorney needs to get client approval (but, the provision is a token jesture because if the client says no, the attorney then terminates representation).

    As stated, unless you have some leverage, the bulk of the terms in attorney retainer agreements are non negotiable. Dont be so full of yourself to think your case is a make or break case for an attorney or law firm. If a prospective client tries to negotiate the terms of my fee agreement, i simply dedline to represent them at that point because that is a big red flag that they will be a problem client.

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  • I fired my attorney. Can she refuse to return my client file and retainer refund until after her motion to withdraw hearing?

    I have reported my divorce attorney to the Bar for misconduct involving a serious conflict of interest issue. I fired her last week. She has filed a motion to withdraw with the court and a hearing is scheduled. She is refusing to return my client ...

    Matthew’s Answer

    The attorney cannot hold the file. She doesn't have to drop everything and give it to you immediately (5 to 10 business days is typical). As for the retainer, the attorney must provide you an accounting of the retainer and fees earned, but your expectation that there is any remaining retainer to refund may be woefully optimistic. However, if there is unearned retainer, she CAN hold onto that until after the withdrawal hearing. Until the withdrawal hearing, she is still leagally your attorney and may still perform work and spend time on your case in the interim and you would be obligated to pay for that time and expense.

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