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Onboarding Guide

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about working with us!

WELCOME!

We are so happy you’re here! We sincerely appreciate your consideration of our firm, and we are honored to serve you.

At Ana Law, we have made a conscious decision to reduce our caseload to ensure that your case gets the attention it deserves. I and my staff remain constantly aware that your IP law case is the most important issue in your life at this moment. You are not just a name on the file.

Thank you again – we look forward to serving you.

HOURS OF OPERATION

We do not keep traditional working office hours. In general, we will be available and working on your case.

Monday – Thursday 9 – 5 | Closed Friday

Contact us: (202) 266-7100

Vacation Dates
Fall Mental Health Break | October 20 - 27 (6 days)
Will be working remotely but intermittently
Thanksgiving week | November 20 - 24 2023 (5 days)
Will not be doing any work
Winter Break | December 18 - January 5, 2024 (10 days)
Will not be doing any work
Birthday Break | February 13 - February 23 (9 days)

PAYMENT

Please use the button below to submit payment.

Secure payment

NAVIGATING THE PORTAL

The Home page of your portal has contact information, information regarding the folder structure on the portal, communication policy, etc.

On the left-hand side of the page, beneath the “Home” tab, is the “Case File” tab. The folders in the Case File will contain correspondence, pleadings, etc.

If you need to upload any documents to us, you should upload them here – https://tinyurl.com/EFLUpload

The tab entitled “Notes” is where you will send us your messages, questions, etc. Click the button below to access the messages tab.

The “Events” tab will be where we place hearings, mediation, etc. Click the button below to access the events tab.

Tip – Use the “at” symbol (@) to direct a note, message, comment, etc. to Regina or Krista.

Download Policy

Your entire file, with the exception of discovery materials will be available on this secure server through the duration of the case and for at least 10 days after termination of the case and or/ representation.

If you do not download it within 10 days, we will still have a backup copy we can provide upon request.

You are responsible for downloading all materials when the case is complete, prior to the file removal date of 10 days.

In the event the client hires new counsel, the client agrees for the firm to deliver the file to the new attorney via Dropbox. The client acknowledges that the correct use of Dropbox requires Microsoft Office 2003, Adobe Acrobat Reader, or Later compatible software.

COMMUNICATION POLICY

Text Message (SMS/MMS) Policy

Pursuant to our Telephone Policy, no staff or attorney cell phone numbers will be provided to clients except in extreme or necessary circumstances. This includes text messaging. Because text messaging is not a secure or reliable form of communication, we generally do not communicate with clients via text messages regarding secure matters. Text messages received by our attorney or office staff may not be responded to due to security concerns.

Phone Call Policy

We do not accept unscheduled phone calls. This is different from most firms, who will be happy to let you call whenever you like, and then send you a bill for $100 per call. 

I am often out of the office at meetings, in court, busy working on your case, working on other cases, or on the phone, and as a result, there will be times when you will be unable to reach me. 

To honor everyone’s busy schedules, any conversation that needs more than 10 minutes will be scheduled for an attorney meeting. Meetings can be conducted via telephone, the web, or in person, based on the circumstances of the conversation and our mutual needs. 

As a client of this firm making an appointment saves you time, avoids playing “phone tag”, gets your prompt attention, and allows me to better serve you by preparing for the phone call. Phone calls can be scheduled by emailing Krista. We find that we are most productive when we are able to work on our cases without constant interruptions. We do not accept calls from anybody – opposing counsel, judge, anybody. 

The answering service takes a message and sends it to us, and we call back when we are ready and have time to prepare for the call, which might involve looking at a case, research, and/or calendar in order to have a ready answer. Unscheduled phone calls will be billed per the schedule below. Please use the Clinked portal for all messages. If we feel a call is needed, we will call you, but most questions can be answered in writing. This policy is what allows us to provide quality legal services at fair, flat fees.

UPDATES

Your case status will be updated in your portal AT LEAST every two weeks.

Please check the home page of the portal first. It may be updated more, but not less than two weeks. The Last Modified will tell you when the status was updated. If that date is not less than 2 weeks in the past, please do not ask us for an update. That IS the update 🙂 Below is an example of an update.

You also will get an email automatically when we update the status.

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SENDING DOCUMENTS AND EVIDENCE

1. Via Our Upload Link

https://tinyurl.com/EFLUpload

Link to upload all evidence you wish for us to review or documents we have requested from you. Please use this link unless otherwise directed.

2. Via Pipe file

We may ask you to upload your discovery responses via another technology platform called pipefile. This is the easiest way for us to organize your responses and share them with the other party. Please watch the video below.

A screenshot of a computer.

3. Acceptable formats

Documents must be in PDF format. Photographs may be in PDF format or jpg format. Do not send us photographs of documents. Audio files must be in mp3 or m4a format. Video files must be in mp4 format.

DOCUMENTS NEEDED

For any divorce case or family law case, you will need to gather documents.

Here is a list so you can get a head start on the document requests that the other side might send. There will be more…

DRFA (Domestic Relations Financial Affidavit

  • Last 5 years tax returns.
  • Last 2 years pay stubs.
  • Last 3 years’ bank statements for ALL accounts, even the ones you think the other side doesn’t know about.
  • 3 years of Mortgage statements.
  • 3 years of retirement account statements.
  • 3 years of all other statements (brokerage, stock, trading, crypto)
  • 3 years of credit card statements for all accounts.
  • If there are children, all records regarding their expenses, tuition, childcare costs, report cards, etc.

PORTAL MESSAGE POLICY

The Clinked.com portal or email is the best way to reach me.

Generally, I check and respond to emails and portal messages and emails twice a day between 10 – 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. Please allow us some time to respond to emails.

This allows me uninterrupted time to work on cases and attend meetings outside the office as needed.

Portal messages will be reviewed and addressed within a reasonable timeframe based on the circumstances. Generally, you can expect a call or message back within 1-2 business days (often sooner). Messages and voicemails received outside business hours or on holidays will be addressed during regular business hours.

A screenshot of a computer.
 

EMERGENCIES VS. VERY IMPORTANT VS. ROUTINE LEGAL ISSUES

ROUTINE
  • All messages may be treated for file management, billing and responsive purposes as written communications.
  • Messages may not be responded to instantly and some may not be answered for several days, depending on the importance of the matter. Please do not expect an immediate response and do not send multiple e-mails regarding the same question.
  • Messages sent outside business hours will not be received until the next business day after the e-mail. We do not require anyone at our firm to respond to e-mail outside business hours unless it is a true emergency and marked as such. (see emergency communication guide below.
EMERGENCIES

Emergencies are defined as threats to life, liberty (freedom), or property. If you are facing a threat to one of these things – call 9-1-1 if in the USA. We can, however, help you with legal emergencies, which are (thankfully) very rare in my practice based on the types of cases I accept. An emergency mandates an immediate response and I will be interrupted. The following are emergencies:

  • Your children have been kidnapped (not taken to Grandma’s house in Tennessee without your approval) but actually kidnapped
  • DFCS is at your door
  • The police are at your door regarding a family law issue
IMPORTANT

The following, while very important, are not emergencies:

  • Someone is late picking up or dropping off the children
  • Someone doesn’t appear at all to pick up or drop off the children
  • You receive notification that the other parent wants to move away with the children

My clients are asked to please consider whether the matter is very important as opposed to an emergency. Important issues will be prioritized and handled as soon as possible.

CLIENT RESPONSIBILITY

You must cooperate fully with this law firm. You must communicate with us on a regular basis. You must tell us the information that is relevant to the issues. The completion of your case may require your going to court. If so, you will be required to answer both verbal and written questions (“discovery”) within the time set by the court rules (usually 30 days).

Furthermore, your responses and documents must be reviewed and revised thoroughly prior to submission to the court.

As such, we require the “discovery” responses and documents in our office no later than 7 days prior to the court’s deadline. Any responses received after this time period will be charged at the “rush” charge as stated below. Your failure to cooperate in litigation could result in an adverse decision. We will NOT file any motions regarding the other side not complying with discovery until and unless you have completely complied with their requests.

Skeletons in the closet:

We all have them. Tell me now. I don’t want to hear it for the first time in court by the other side. Letting me know the potential weaknesses of your case advance is the key to mitigating it or taking steps to blunt the effect. If I am hearing it for the first time along with the judge, there isn’t much I can do at that point except kick you in the shin for not telling me.

Social Networking:

Do not post anything on Facebook, TikTok, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other social media platform that you wouldn’t show the judge in your case. We don’t need you to document your daily life while you are in the middle of a custody case to give ammunition and evidence to the other side.

Mistakes:

Do not think we are perfect. Do not think the courts or clerks are perfect. Do not think that government agencies and personnel are perfect. Mistakes occur in the system despite everyone’s best efforts. We will correct a mistake if we find it or if you point it out. Please do not yell at us, accuse us of not doing our job, or insult us over a mistake. We reserve the right to terminate the representation of clients who act inappropriately.

If you believe you have found a mistake made by a court, a clerk, a government agency, or an employee in your case, politely bring it to our attention. Do not call the court, clerk, government agency, or employee directly. Do not yell at them or us.

MANAGING YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Access to the Attorney

By and large, we are unavailable on weekends or holidays so our employees can spend time with their families. Generally, the attorney works by appointment only and only during business hours. Please do not show up at our offices to speak with the attorney without an appointment. We schedule meetings prior to mediation, hearings, and depositions. We cannot meet early in the case before we receive discovery. We need the information given in the discovery process in order for us to be able to give you informed advice. Do not email and ask us for updates unless you have not heard anything from our office in 30 days AND your portal update status has not been updated in 14 days. (That will never happen, so the point is that we will proactively provide you updates through your portal.)

Leaving Messages

Throughout your legal proceedings or experience, you will become frustrated and upset and want an immediate response to your concerns. You may call our office for information or confirmation of your concerns (please see our Telephone Policy included in this packet).

When you call our office, please leave a message. We are good at our job, but we cannot read minds. If you do not leave a message, we do not know you called. Accusing us of failing to communicate with you or failing to return calls when you do not leave messages is inappropriate client conduct and only causes friction between you and our office when we are doing our best to assist you. This also makes it more difficult and more expensive to assist you because we will be required to reduce all contact with you to writing to avoid accusations and allegations that you may make in the heat of frustration.

Advice from Friends, Family, and the Internet

Most of the research you do about your case online or the advice you get from friends or family will be incorrect or will not apply to your individual case, so you should not compare what is happening on your case to what you find online or what friends or family may tell you. As your firm, we are the only reliable source of information regarding the process and status of your case.

Court, Judicial, or Administrative Proceedings

We cannot control the court’s schedule, calendar, or docket. Courts schedule cases as they are processed and in line with the thousands of other cases filed. We can tell you now, you will not be happy with the time it takes your case to get through the system so please do not expect to be.

Take no action based on information from friends, family, or the internet. Do not explain to us what you saw on Google or Oprah. The actions you take based on such information will likely result in additional work for us and that only increases your legal bills and may lead to us withdrawing as your attorney. If you are confused or concerned, we are happy to discuss the issue with you.

TRADEMARK TIMELINE

This is an example of a lifetime in a relatively simple litigated case. Your case may not match this timeline.

1. Trademark Search & Assessment

The search is an important first step in any trademark registration or brand launch strategy. The search enables companies to avoid adopting brands that infringe third-party trademark rights. If you attempt to trademark a name that infringes on anyone else’s rights, it will be costly and time-consuming.

2. File Application with the USPTO

An attorney will personally prepare and file your application with the USPTO. The date your application is filed is important, as it can give you priority over later filed applications. Once filed, your application sits in line to be looked at by a government attorney. The current wait time is 6-9 months.

3. USPTO Examination

Once your application finally gets in front of a government attorney (Examining Attorney), they either allow or deny your application. If denied, you will receive an Office Action that details the reasons for refusal. Alternatively, if your application is approved, it will proceed to the next step.

4. Published for Opposition

Once your application is approved, the next step is publication for opposition. In the USA, the opposition period is 30 days. During this time, any third party who does not want your brand registered can come forward and file a Notice of Opposition. If that happens, your application will have to go through the opposition proceeding, which is like a mini-court case within the USPTO system. If no third party opposes your mark during the 30-day opposition period, a Notice of Allowance will be issued for your application.

5. Trademark Registration

After your trademark is allowed, there may be some paperwork back and forth to submit Specimens (evidence of use), which your attorney will handle for you. But overall, after the Examining Attorney approves your trademark and you are past the opposition period, the major hurdles are over. You will receive your official trademark registration in the coming months. The entire 5-step process takes a year if no hurdles are faced.

SWOT ANALYSIS

During your initial strategy session, we will also perform a “SWOT analysis” of your case.

The goal of this process is to fully inform and educate you. education is empowerment.

S – STRENGTHS

What are the provable or undisputed facts that support your position?

W – WEAKNESSES

What are the provable or undisputed facts that weaken your position?

O – OPPORTUNITIES

Where might we have the leverage to negotiate or persuade a judge or jury?

T – THREATS

Are there any provable or undisputed facts that might be detrimental to your case?

MANAGING YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Opposing Counsel & Court Pleadings

If you are involved in a contested case, the opposing attorney may be very aggravating and frustrating to you because he or she may accuse you of things you have not done, may be litigious (wanting to fight about everything), may work to delay calls, or maybe non-responsive to requests from this office.

It is unrealistic to expect that we can control how an opposing attorney handles his/her file or practices law. Venting your frustration over the opposing attorney’s behavior in our office does not remedy the opposing attorney’s behavior. The only thing it does do is increase your legal bill.

If you feel that a response to an allegation is necessary, we encourage you to write out your response and fax or email it to our office. We will follow up with a phone call or appointment if there is something that needs to be addressed.

The legal pleadings and motions (Complaint, Answer, Counterclaim, Petition, Motion, Objection, etc.) are legal documents filled with allegations that must be pled (and some that are merely made to posture for a client). Do not expend any emotional energy (get angry or upset) on legal pleadings drafted on your behalf or on behalf of the opposing party. These documents cannot be taken out of the court file or removed “from public record.”

Our office understands that clients become frustrated, angry, and upset, but venting on our office does only one thing in your case: increase your legal bills.

Court Hearings

Always remember hearings cost money. We bill flat fees for both the preparation and the hearing combined. This means if the hearing the issue is settled at the last minute, there is no refund. That means I’ve just solved your problem with less time for you so it’s to your benefit. Having a hearing may mean you may miss work.

We do not always have control over why or when a court requires hearings in cases, but we make every reasonable effort to minimize the number of hearings we attend and the length of those hearings.

Please note that some courts require what we refer to as “cattle call” dockets where several minor or uncontested hearings are set at the same time and the court hears them on a “first come, first serve” basis. This may mean that any hearing on your matter may take five or ten minutes, but the attorney had to wait for 30-40 minutes before your hearing was called.

We have no control over the court’s use of judicial resources, including the use of “cattle call” docket management, and cannot guarantee that we will be first or that your hearing will take only the time that the court has set aside to hear your matter. Calling our office to vent your frustration over this process and its potential costs, only increases your legal bill. There also may be a time when you would like a hearing on issues you have and we will discuss the process for requesting a hearing and the possible outcomes with you prior to setting a hearing that may not be necessary.

DO THIS, NOT THAT

How you can help us present your best case

DO DON'T
COMMUNICATION/SOCIAL MEDIA
Say, send, or post anything you would not want a judge to see.
FINANCES AND ASSETS
Create a budget. Open a separate account. Consider hiring a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst). Turn over ALL documents requested.
Hide assets, make big purchases or sales (cars, property, etc.), stop paying bills, lend money to anyone.
SEEKING HELP OR ADVICE
Educate yourself with professional help. Trust the advice of your legal team and find a great therapist.
Listen to others’ advice. Every case is different and nuanced. Well meaning “advice” can lead to confusion and anxiety. We will not comment on advice you received somewhere else or from Google. Do not under any circumstances, email the other side’s attorney. Do not contact the judge or file things on your own.
MINDSET AND ATTITUDE
Focus long term & big picture. Take care of your mind, body, & SPIRIT. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Panic. Resort to behavior that is beneath you. Allow shame or sadness to override hope. Allow any stigma or shame to invade your mind and heart.

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