|Association name||Position name||Duration|
|Santa Clara County Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|American Bar Association||Member||N/A|
|Lincoln Law School of San Jose||Law||JD - Juris Doctor||N/A|
|University of Maryland||Political Science / English||BA - Bachelor of Arts||N/A|
Posted by anonymous
Great initial interview with Martha and her associate Cheryl. Martha said all the right things:
-We're going to take excellent care of you
-We're going to "fix this"
-We carefully screen our clients, as closely as you interview us to really make sure we can help you.
-and what turns out to be many more useless cliches.
Martha's philosophy turned out to be, "If you have a court hearing today, you get my attention, otherwise I will not be communicating with you, until something is on fire, at which time I may or may not communicate with you." Unfortunately with this philosophy, there is no preparation, strategizing, proactive communication. You are just left wondering what's going on as days tick by.
On countless occasions, I'd reach out to her office to get updates, and I was told to communicate through their office staff. The assistant then would print out the emails and put them on Martha's chair so, as Martha says, "If I sit on them i might read them."
Office assistant would send emails that did not make sense, and rarely answer my concise questions. An example of a reply, "Sorry Monday Is not good sorry for not getting back to you if I was suppose to been a little hecktic around here . We have thursday morning 11AM I believe.Let me know Thank you." Just a major lack of professionalism.
I would schedule appointments through the assistant but it didn't mean I'd actually get to meet with Martha. In one specific example, I show up, Martha is heading out the door and had no idea I was arriving. If it was a phone meeting, I would call promptly at the agreed time, and would always be waiting 30-60 minutes for her to call me back, IF SHE CHOSE TO. Many cases, she'd call me later that night or the next morning.
I tried several times to improve our frequency of communication with Martha. She said, "I'm trying to save you time and money." I said, "Please, I'm happy to pay you more, just communicate with us!"
I could go on for volumes, but will distill it for you. Martha may know the law, but she is NOT interested in partnering with you on a proactive strategy for dealing with your situation. Essentially nothing happened with my case until the day before the court hearing. I heard nothing from their office. I had to call, frantically, leaving voicemail for her, only to receive a call from the associate stating that Martha was out sick today, "Can I help you?" ZERO SUPPORT. NOTHING. In the 3 months that I tried to engage with this office, essentially nothing happened until the morning of the court date when I was working with an associate that knew nothing about my case.
In having a post-mortem discussion with Martha, she told me that she was working tirelessly "behind-the-scenes" to move things, but I never knew what that work was, or the impact it had on my case. Of course, the majority of my entire retainer was still somehow gobbled up yet I received nothing substantial in terms of strategy or service.
All along the way, I tried to be reasonable and open with Martha about what I needed and was expecting. Even after the court date, I tried to talk with her about how disappointed I ultimately was in her lack of support and didn't feel I received services commensurate with her billing. I'll tell you, the only frequent communication came from Martha after the fact, when she actually started responding to my emails of dissatisfaction - however, she would reply to my emails with paper snail mail letters. Just ridiculous. If she had spent half the energy she put into sending those snail mail letters during the time I actually needed her - I might have actually gotten some service.
Posted by Alexander
"Martha J. Olson, Attorney, handled my Case Management Conference in Family Court where my wife and I were working out the necessaries needed to complete the divorce process without trial. The situation was especially difficult for Ms. Olson as my wife had a restraining order and thus we could not communicate directly. I was nervous as this was the first time in my long life experiences, with over half a dozen attorneys, where my attorney was not male.
What a discovery. Ms. Olson is by far the best attorney I ever had. She was meticulous in detail and directed to making the process of mediation as thorough and complete as possible, advising clear and sensible, as well as practical and viable solutions for seemingly difficult issues. Her grasp and application of contemporary law and of the necessaries and protocol required in Family Court demonstrated her outstanding expertise and professionalism. I wish I could give her more than five stars. Ms. Olson is certainly far and above at the top of her profession."
Posted by anonymous
Martha was my attorney for the last 4 months of a 5 year long divorce. I chose her because she had high reviews on Avvo.com. Unfortunately, it was a big mistake. Our personalities just did not mesh, and she was too busy to ever truly understand the ins and outs of my complicated, long-running case. She was an atypically (compared to other attorneys I dealt with who were business-only) kind and empathetic woman (at times), but she never spent enough time on my case and we had significant communication problems. I communicated my displeasure with the level of service I was getting but always kept it respectful and professional, framing the issues as mutual communication challenges. One reason for that was I rarely was able to communicate directly to her, having to go thru her assistant (Angela). This caused major problems, since messages thru her assistant often did not get translated correctly/fully or were no longer current by the time I got to speak to Martha. Martha was personally offended by my displeasure and reacted in an unprofessional manner, writing me letters with YELLING font. That really should have been the end of it, but with trial just around the corner, I felt I had no choice but to use her. She didn’t know what the prior 5 years had been like, so she couldn’t understand what I was dealing with and why I had a strong case for sanctions. She just wanted me to settle. At a pre-trial, she was not very on top of the case at all. It is not entirely her fault, since my spouse gave us his 200-page accounting document the Friday of a long weekend and the pre-trial hearing was on Tuesday. I felt she should have objected to it coming in so late, but she seemed to just want me to get it over with and settle. She was so unfamiliar with my position that at the pre-trial, she even offered a settlement to the judge and Opposing Counsel whereby I was paying some cash to my spouse (she thought she was helping me by suggesting that this cash be treated as Spousal Support, so that I could deduct it in my taxes). However, in my mind, my spouse should have been the one paying me. It was I who had to argue (successfully) for no cash to change hands at all. Under pressure from her and the judge, I reluctantly agreed to settle (even though my spouse's accountant's reports had significant errors), and the judge ordered Martha to write up the judgment. For 2 months, she did nothing, in spite of the fact that I contacted her office on at least 3 occasions to find out if she had ordered the transcript yet. She never did and ultimately ended-up asking Opposing Counsel to write-up the judgment. At that point, I suggested things weren’t working out and e-mailed her that I wanted to discuss with her the best time for her to substitute out. That same day, she was attending a meeting with the judge and Opposing Counsel to discuss an issue that required clarification. Since she knew I was going to have her substitute out, she attended the meeting only because she was obligated to do so, but she did not make the recommendations that I had requested she make. So, I wrote her I would not pay her for her time to prep/attend that meeting, which was less than $300. I paid all the rest of her bill (never later than 1 billing cycle), even though I was so unhappy with her services. In spite of all this, she continues to bill me for the less than $300. Also, after she substituted out, she refused to give me my records. I had to threaten a complaint with the state bar to get it. Once I got it, I discovered documents from Opposing Counsel that were never shared with me. These could have had a material impact on the outcome of the case. While Martha seemed knowledgeable of family law and may be effective if engaged early on, I do not recommend her to anyone who is going thru a highly contentious divorce and wants an aggressive attorney who is willing to fight for you to the end.