SAPPHIRE LEGAL - Employment, Unemployment, Construction & Real Estate Attorney
Our hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. We are also available evenings and weekends by appointment. We are working remotely. All appointments are conducted by phone or videoconference.
No. Most people who contact us want specific advice they can use and rely on. A free consultation is not going to meet those needs, so we do not provide free consultations.
For a reasonable fee, we provide a Coaching & Counseling appointment, which involves an in depth review and analysis of documents and a case evaluation followed by an appointment with our attorney. She will answer your legal questions and provide advice and opinions regarding your specific case. She will also strategize with you regarding accomplishing your goals. You are not obligated or pressured to retain us further and we will only recommend further legal representation if it is truly needed. Many clients only need a Coaching & Counseling appointment to get some advice and do not need further representation.
We wish legal analysis could be that simple, but it is not. We may be able to provide a preliminary opinion regarding whether or not you have legal claims, but that opinion can change based on the facts and any defenses that may be asserted. To determine whether or not you have valid legal claims, a Coaching & Counseling appointment is needed because we need to review the evidence you have and gather information from you. We are unable to perform this analysis on a ten-minute phone call and case evaluations are performed for a fee.
We do not track our rate of success like that. In addition, our definition of success could differ from yours. For example, obtaining a settlement could be a successful outcome to some but not others. What we can tell you is that we have a successful and effective practice, and we have achieved positive results in most cases we have handled. Of course, we cannot win them all, nor make everyone happy, but we try hard to do so and have a solid history of success.
Please click the Contact Us tab and submit an intake form. A member of our team will then contact you to discuss scheduling your appointment. You may also call us at (425) 322-2848.
It is difficult to predict how much money a client could recover based on a brief conversation without knowing what defenses might be asserted. We may provide an estimate of your damages, but this estimate is subject to change. We cannot and do not guarantee recovery, but it is obviously our goal to maximize recovery in every case we handle.
We take some cases on a contingency basis depending on the facts and claims. We cannot take all cases on a contingency fee basis. We try to offer several fee arrangement options so clients can choose the option that works best for them.
We provide pro bono representation through local non-profit and charitable organizations. We do not provide pro bono representation to individuals who call the office seeking free representation. We encourage those who are seeking pro bono representation to dial 211 and request the services of Northwest Justice Project or Snohomish County Legal Services.
Our fees for legal representation are customized for each case and client. We offer flat, contingency, and hourly fee arrangements on a case-by-case basis. The hourly and contingency options usually require a retainer fee. We charge a flat fee for unemployment benefit determination appeals, which is based on the issues to be determined on appeal and the facts and evidence in your case. Coaching and Counseling appointments are provided at rates ranging from $500 to $1500, depending on the issues and work involved.
We are now offering payment plans for flat fees and retainer fees, which we customize for each client. If you are trying to determine whether you can afford our services, we require a minimum payment of at least $500 per month for up to twelve months, which will depend on the fee for your case. Payment plans are not offered for initial/coaching and counseling appointments.
15117 Main Street, Suite 205, Mill Creek, Washington 98012. We work remotely, however. We do not accept walk-ins and and conduct all appointments by phone or videoconference.
We are not meeting in-person at this time. Appointments are conducted by phone or videoconference.
No. We prefer to meet with clients one-on-one unless there is a valid reason for including another person, such as an ADA accommodation or court order. We have a number of reasons for this, including but not limited to confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege, not wanting anyone else to mistakenly believe we represent them, the risk of miscommunication, it creates more work for us and may increase our fees, and it can result in problems down the road. We appreciate that your spouse, family, and friends support you and understand how important it is to have their support. If they have questions, you can always ask us and relay our answers to them. If you must involve a third-party, please discuss this with us in advance.
Yes. We prefer you you do so. You may complete the form by clicking the "Intake Form" button on the Contact Us page.
It is okay if you do not know if you need legal representation. You obviously have a gut feeling that something is awry or you would not be on our website. Many people retain us to evaluate their situation so they can determine whether or not a legal claim is worth pursuing. Those who do not have strong legal claims to pursue usually find the investment in an appointment well worth it as they now have an answer and tips and strategies to use in the future.
We can represent individuals and companies from out-of-state if their case is in Washington. For example, if a person works for a Seattle-based technology company out-of-state and signed an employment agreement that gives Washington jurisdiction, we can represent them. However, if a person works out-of-state for an out-of-state entity with no ties to Washington, we cannot represent them. Our attorney is licensed to practice law in state and federal courts in Washington only.
We probably can answer your question, but you will need to schedule an appointment. Nothing in the law is simple, so it will likely take more time than you think to answer your question.
There is always a risk that your case will not yield the results you want. We cannot guarantee it will, but we will do our best to get you the justice you deserve. However, you need to determine if your legal issue is worth pursuing. You know your situation better than anyone and are in the best position to determine how a lawsuit may impact your life. While we are certainly here to help and want to be successful in every case we handle, the truth is that no attorney wins every case they have. In addition, cases are won and lost based on facts. While it is important to have a good attorney, it is not likely that the attorney's skills are going to be the reason you win or lose your case. Be assured that we work hard for our clients, and we want to win too.
The Washington State Bar Association's website (wsba.org) offers an attorney directory. Users may search for attorneys licensed to practice law in Washington and obtain information regarding the attorney's firm, date admitted to the bar, license number, and contact information.
You can also verify that Sapphire Legal is licensed to do business in Washington using the Washington Secretary of State's business lookup tool (sos.wa.gov).
We consider the following factors when deciding if we will take a litigation case.
- Conflicts. We identify conflicts between clients at the outset of a case. We prefer to handle cases that do not create a potential conflict. We cannot take a case if there is an actual conflict of interest.
- Practice Area. We only take cases in our practice areas.
- Jurisdiction. We cannot represent clients in court in any state but Washington.
- Evidence. We prefer to take cases that have evidence over cases that are based only on witness testimony.
- Procedural Background. We prefer to handle cases from the beginning rather than taking over a case that has been handled by another attorney or pro se.
- Strength of Claim - We obviously want to win our cases. We will take a case if we believe there is a strong likelihood of success. We will reject cases that involve weak claims or strong defenses.
- Client History/Character. We prefer to represent clients who do not have a history of making legal claims and who have strong reputations. Credibility is important.
- Rapport. We are more likely to represent a client with whom we easily developed a rapport versus someone who has been rude or demanding. Cases take a long time to resolve and dealing with a difficult client for years is not enjoyable.
- Type of Claim. Some claims are more difficult to prove than others The easier the better.
- Value of Claim. The higher the value of the claim, the better. We will most likely reject cases that involve claims worth only a few thousand dollars as attorneys' fees will likely exceed the recovery or our fee will be so small that it will not be worth the time we spend working on the case.
- Our Caseload. We consider how busy we are, the type of cases we have, and our current schedule. We will not take on a case if it will make our caseload or schedule unmanageable.
- Deadlines. We are less likely to take a case if we are contacted at the last minute before a deadline.
- Client Goals and Expectations. We will not take cases if unreasonable results or practices are expected.
No. We provide legal services, not an outcome or product. Pursuing a legal claim involves risk, and you must decide if you are willing to accept that risk. We do not guarantee any outcome or result.
If you are having difficulty reaching the firm, please understand that I am a solo attorney and do not have a receptionist to answer my phones. I do the best I can to prioritize my work and communications, but my availability depends on deadlines and prioritization of my work. I return phone calls and respond to emails in the order I prioritize them according to my workload and schedule.
Calls made to the firm, including to my direct line, are routed to voicemail. I am not notified, and do not hear a phone ring, as calls come in. Voicemails are routed to my email, which I check and prioritize daily.
If you are a potential new client, you need to complete an intake form through the website. If you have questions that have not been answered on our website, please include them on the intake form you submit. We will contact you after we review your intake form. Do not worry about being spammed with calls or emails. We do not do that.
If you are contacting us for any other reason, please leave a voicemail or send an email. It is best if you do not do both and do not send or leave multiple messages, as that will only increase the amount of time it will take me to get back to you due to the amount of time it takes me to sort through and prioritize messages. Please be patient and I will be in touch.
I cannot respond specifically because confidentiality and the attorney-client privilege apply. Generally speaking, the first thing I would like people to know is that there is a campaign that most of the negative reviews are associated with and that campaign is led by a former disgruntled employee I fired for good reason over a year ago. In addition, most of the negative reviews are from names I do not recognize. If clients are actually submitting them, they are doing so using an alias. For a number of reasons, I believe they are fake and made up by my former employee. Google has removed several that were confirmed to have been posted by her.
For any allegation about me "stealing" money from clients, what is really being referred to is my no refund policy. I do not have a trust account and do not put funds in a trust account for clients. All fees paid to Sapphire Legal become its property on receipt. Therefore, I do not have access to any funds owned by clients and cannot steal from them. If a client pays a flat fee to me and I do not complete the representation I agreed to provide, I may owe a partial refund, which I determine by calculating the value of our work by reviewing the time spent on the case. I refund the difference of the amount paid and the amount calculated to value our work. If there is no difference or the value of our work exceeds the amount paid, no refund is provided. As this is a provision of the contract clients sign and we are only paid for the work we perform, characterizing our no refund policy as stealing is plainly wrong.
The other criticism is the timing of my work and communications. I admit that I am sometimes behind schedule because I was forced into a situation where I was doing the work previously done by four full-time staff. This situation could not have been predicted and there is no doubt there was an intention for me to fail. I informed my clients of what was going on. Unfortunately, that was too much work and I could not keep up. I have never denied that. I have since reduced my work load and continue to work on balancing it so I can free up my time.
I have also read complaints about how much I charge, especially for an initial appointment. My initial appointment goes far beyond what a free consultation appointment provides. I require payment for it because I dive deep into the facts and analysis I perform and provide advice and an opinion that is specific to a client's case rather than generic. I can recall only two clients ever alleging that their coaching and counseling appointment was not helpful, and I believe they only did so in an effort to get their money back and that complaining is just something they do. I have had many many more, regardless of whether they found out they had a legal claim or not, tell me how helpful the appointment was and that it was well worth the investment. If the client retains me for further work, I also take off the amount they paid for the initial appointment from the fee for the additional work. In the end, the fees I charge may seem higher up front than other attorneys, but the total fee is almost always thousands of dollars less. Therefore, those who allege my fees are high likely have no understanding of what attorneys typically charge or they do not realize all the work that I put in to a coaching and counseling appointment that free consultations do not include.
Finally, related to the allegations made by my former employee, please understand that she has been trying to ruin my career and reputation for over 13 months. I am not going to post allegations about her faults and character like she has done to me. I think you can probably fill in the blanks by simply knowing she was terminated over a year ago and is still at it. Her criticisms should be taken with a grain of salt. They are half-truths that have been gaslighted to make me look as bad as possible. You should also note that she fails to disclose important facts and does not acknowledge the many great things I did for my employees. They were paid regular bonuses of thousands of dollars, gifted many nice gifts such as handbags and jewelry, had parties thrown for them for any life celebration, were bought lunch every time we had a firm meeting, were provided free snacks and beverages, were released early from work regularly, were treated to massages and facials, were given the last two weeks of December off paid, and were given great flexibility and autonomy. While I am certainly not claiming to be the perfect boss and likely made some mistakes, I am not the type of person to deny an employee family leave or fire an employee for taking leave. Moreover, I am open-minded and approachable. I encourage employees to share feedback and suggestions and do not anger easily. I asked my staff at every meeting how their workloads were and whether we needed to hire more help. None of my employees ever refused to sign on clients nor did they ever tell me that they felt we were taking too much on. If they had done so, I would have hired more help or stopped taking new clients. I would not have fired them for sharing their thoughts. I am also not a greedy person without ethics. Ethics are important to me, which was a common topic with my staff. I know my ethics are being attacked for this very reason. I am sorry my former employee is (still) upset about being fired, but the truth is, she loved her job and always expressed very high regard for me. She is simply trying to punish me for her own actions that led to her losing a great job she wishes she still had.
Finally, I think anyone who has taken the time to explore my website is smart enough to realize that attorneys are not going to satisfy every client they have because the law inherently has two sides with only one side winning. This means that attorneys regularly are blamed by their clients for a loss when in reality the case was lost based on the facts and the law. The nature of my career involves argument and it is not possible to win every case. For every negative review you read, I have another 20 clients who are pleased. They are just less likely to post an online review about it. If you choose not to work with me because of what has been posted online, that is okay and I understand. I just ask you to please remember that no one is perfect and there are always two sides to every story. I do my best to be a good person who is reasonable and fair. I acknowledge that I make mistakes and there are situations I could have handled better, but overall I always try to do the right thing.