Thursday, June 30, 2022

Why You Should Be Honest With Your Attorney

Honesty is the best policy, right? We’ve learned that since we were children, knowing right from wrong and always doing our best, to tell the truth in any given situation. Today, I want to highlight why it is extremely important that you are always honest with your attorney, no matter how embarrassing or problematic the information is that you are sharing with them.

Here are some important reasons why you should always be honest with your attorney:

- During a family law case where custody or time-sharing is an issue, things you don’t disclose or hide from your attorney may be discovered by the other side and used against you negatively.

- If you have suffered an injury you need to be truthful with your attorney as to what you can and cannot do and not lie about how bad the injury is. If you lie, it is possible that photos or videos of you doing exactly what you said you couldn’t do may be used against you and you will lose your case.

- Your attorney cannot help you with your case unless they know everything. They can only work with what you give them, and if you are not completely honest, they cannot provide the absolute best strategy for your case.

- You don’t want to lie in a court situation. If you swear under oath or in an affidavit that what you’re saying is true, but then it is discovered that you were lying there is potential for you to be charged with perjury and for you to lose your case.

- Most importantly, your attorney will NOT judge you. They are here to help you and can only do so if you are completely honest. Attorneys have seen it all and they truly want to do their best to find a good outcome for your case.

I hope you found this post helpful. It can be uncomfortable to share aspects of our lives that we are not proud of or have not been our best moments. But, at the end of the day, being completely honest and open with your attorney will benefit you, and your claim, in the long run.


***The thoughts and ideas contained in this blog are meant to be informational only and in no way constitute legal advice of any form. Should you wish to speak with an attorney please call our office to set up a free consultation with Marcie Baker.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

What is a Retainer Fee and How Does it Work?

Hi all! Today I would like to spend some time explaining what a retainer fee is and how exactly it works when you are hiring an attorney. It helps to know what exactly this fee is so that you do not feel blindsided when having to make this payment when hiring an attorney.

So, what exactly is a retainer fee? According to the Legal Information Institute, a retainer fee is, “A fee that the client pays upfront to an attorney before the attorney has begun work for the client.”

Your attorney will explain to you what their fee is, what type of retainer they require, and how that money will be used. It is important that you ask if you are confused so that later on down the road you do not wonder what is being done with your money.

The Florida Bar explains the different types of fees that attorneys can ask for:

-Advanced Fees/Retainers/Costs: these are fees and /or cost monies that you will pay your attorney in advance for services to be performed later. Costs may be anything from filing fees to travel expenses. These fees will be deposited in a special trust account that is separate from the account that the attorney maintains for the firm. Advanced fees are kept for the attorney to bill against for future work. At the conclusion of your case, your attorney will refund you any remaining money left in the trust that was not used for your lawsuit.

-Non-refundable Retainers: these are similar fees to retainers, except that they are not held in a trust account and you will not get any remainder at the conclusion of your case. You must give written consent before agreeing to any type of non-refundable fee. Additionally, your attorney should explain how they handle your fees and you should always ask questions.

Retainer fees and costs can vary depending on the type of case being presented to an attorney and can also be dependent on how complex the case may be. For example, if you are dealing with a Florida divorce case, the average retainer fees and costs can vary between $2,500-$10,000 or more depending on the complexity of the case.

Again, your attorney will explain their fee requirements to you at your initial consultation and, if they do not, feel free to ask before hiring them to take on your claim.

I hope you have found this blog to be helpful. If you have any further questions about retainer fees or need legal advice regarding a claim that you have, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office to schedule a free consultation with Marcie Baker.


***The information included in this blog post in no way constitutes legal advice and is meant to be informational only. If you need legal assistance, please contact our office.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Helpful Items to Bring to Your First Consultation

Hello all! Today I would like to provide some guidance as to what you should expect to bring to your first legal consultation with an attorney, including Marcie Baker. I hope to highlight each of the three practice areas that she specializes in and explain how you can be most prepared to have a successful consultation.

First off, what exactly is a legal consultation? According to Legal Match, legal consultation is, “an initial meeting with an attorney that takes place before you make the decision on whether to hire that attorney to represent you in your particular legal matter.” In addition, the consultation is used by the attorney so that they can determine if they are in the best position to represent you competently and to the best of their ability.

Something else important to note: during a free consultation, detailed legal advice is not provided. The consultation is meant to see if the person would like to work with the attorney and if the attorney would like to take on the case that the person is presenting to them. Any legal advice will come after the attorney has been hired by the person.

So, what should you bring to your first legal consultation? Well, this could vary depending on the type of case that you have. I will illustrate below some helpful items to bring when consulting with Marcie Baker on one of the three practice areas that she specializes in.

Work Comp.

Here are some helpful items to bring to your Work Comp. consultation:

- Any written reports of your injury or the accident that occurred

- Correspondence with your employer about the accident

- Contact information for your employer and the insurance company that is handling your injury claim

- Medical records


Here are some helpful items to bring to your Bankruptcy consultation:

- Bring a list of outstanding debts and assets

- A pay stub, to show what kind of income you are bringing in

- A list detailing your income and expenses, and, if you have a family, a list of the household income and expenses

Family Law

Since family law can be very intricate and several legal issues can arise, what you should bring varies depending on the type of case that you have. Since Marcie Baker works with divorce, paternity, parenting plans, and alimony, I will structure my helpful items around those topics.

Here are some helpful items to bring to your Family Law consultation:

- Any court documents that may have been filed by the other party

- Employment information

- A list of questions to ask the attorney regarding your case

- Proof that you have been a resident of Florida for at least 6 months

- If there are minor children; their dates of birth and Social Security numbers

-If this is a Post Divorce issue, the Final Divorce Decree and any Marital Settlement Agreement and Parenting Plans approved by the court

It is also completely acceptable to reach out to the attorneys’ office with whom you are consulting and ask what items to bring. This will help you be as prepared as possible to have the most effective initial consultation.

I hope that you all found this blog to be helpful. As I have stated in the past, Marcie Baker offers free consultations so please do not hesitate to contact our office if you or someone that you know has a legal issue that needs to be resolved.

***The thoughts, ideas, and facts presented in this blog in no way constitute legal advice of any form. Should you have any questions please consult Marcie Baker or your attorney.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

The Woman Behind the Firm

I often talk about Marcie, her work, and my experiences at the firm. However, today I wanted to give you all insight into who Marcie Baker is, and how she came to be the amazing attorney that she is today.

Marcie was born in South Bend, Indiana, but grew up traveling the world with her family while her father served his country in the Army. The family settled in Warrenton, Virginia, for a number of years, traveling when necessary, but always returning to Warrenton as their home base. After her father retired in 1979, the family relocated to the Tampa Bay Area. Marcie has made Florida her home ever since and moved to the Zephyrhills area in 2005, after starting a law office in Zephyrhills in 2003.

Marcie grew up understanding the value of a good work ethic and at age 14, worked in the Warrenton Public Library. As she entered high school, Marcie found employment in a nursing home, caring for the elderly and infirm. During her years in retail, Marcie’s creative side blossomed, allowing her to teach oil painting, floral design, and stained glass, all of which remain her hobbies today.

Marcie worked in retail for over ten years, during which time she developed an interest in law and returned to college to pursue a Legal Assistant Degree. She attended Central Florida Community College where she was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and obtained her Legal Assistant degree in 1990, graduating with Honors. While attending CFCC she decided to proceed with her education and went on to the University of Central Florida, where she obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Public Administration. In May of 1994, Marcie started classes at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Florida, graduating cum laude in December, 1996.

While at Stetson, Marcie was awarded multiple academic scholarships and was placed on the Honor Roll numerous times. She was a member of Ferguson-White American Inn of Court, and Phi Delta Phi, an international legal fraternity. Marcie participated in the Civil Government Clinic in the office of the City of St. Petersburg Attorney’s Office and served a Federal Judicial Internship with the then Chief Judge of the Middle District of Florida, Elizabeth Kovachevich. While attending Stetson, Marcie returned to her roots of caring for the elderly and served as an Ombudsman, appointed by the Governor to serve the needs of the elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Admitted to the Florida Bar on May 1, 1997, Marcie worked in Lakeland for several years with Smith, Feddeler, Smith & Miles, P.A., a firm that specialized in workers’ compensation and social security claims. In April 1999, Marcie joined the Tampa firm of Newman, Levine & Metzler, P.A., where her practice concentrated on workers’ compensation claims. In December 2003, Marcie decided she was ready to settle in a smaller town, and became partners with Robert C. Alston, another Stetson alumni, and former co-worker, practicing law in Zephyrhills, Florida. Marcie served as the managing partner of the firm for the full 9 years of the partnership.

Marcie established The Law Office of Marcie L. Baker, Esq, P.A. in January 2013 as a solo practitioner. Marcie concentrates in areas of: Workers’ Compensation, Bankruptcy, Family Law Mediation, as well as specialized areas of Family Law such as: divorce, paternity, child support, and collaborative divorce.

Marcie is an active member of the Florida Bar; the United States Middle District of Florida; the United States Southern District of Florida; Tampa Bay Workers’ Compensation American Inns of Court; the East Pasco Florida Bar Association; Florida Association of Women Lawyers; Next Gen Divorce; and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP). Her most recent accomplishment was becoming a member of the Board of Directors for East Pasco Meals on Wheels.

Marcie and her team work to support local youth through donations to Dade City Little League and Zephyrhills High School baseball. Additionally, the firm provides donations to the local chapter of the Eagles and Meals on Wheels.

I hope you all enjoyed learning a little more about the woman who keeps the office going and zealously represents her clients to find the best outcome for them. If you find yourself in need of Marcie Baker’s assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule your free consultation!


Wednesday, June 1, 2022

What is a Work Comp. Claims Adjuster?

There are many components to a Work Comp. case, as well as many players involved. Attorneys, judges, employers, and employees. However, there is another important person involved in Work Comp. cases, and that is the claims adjuster.

So, what is a claims adjuster?

A claims adjuster investigates workers’ compensation claims to determine whether the claimant can legally receive compensation. They work with the injured worker, their employer, and the insurance company to protect everyone’s interests. However, the ultimate goal of a claims adjuster it to bring the file to closure as quickly and cheaply as possible, to protect the insurance company.

What are usually an adjuster’s job duties?

- Determining if your claim will be accepted or rejected

- Approving medical care, and various forms of treatment or surgeries

- Coordinating medical appointments with doctors

- Gathering information from the employer about what happened

- Discussing settlement options and deciding how much your case is worth

Adjusters will ask for a recorded statement after you report a claim/injury. The adjuster will ask permission to record the statement that you are about to give, and then will ask a series of questions about the claim that you are making. Generally, injured workers should speak to an attorney prior to allowing a recorded statement to be taken. Often, these statements are used to deny the claim at a later date. These recorded statements start the investigation into your claim and all prior medical history, prior accidents and prior injuries. If an injured worker fails to respond accurately, that may be a basis for a denial of the claim.

For example: How did the injury occur? Did you go see the doctor right away? Did anyone see what happened? What kind of medical care are you getting? What were you doing right before the injury?

Additionally, in order to know if the claims adjuster you are working with knows what they are doing, there are some signs to look for.

Signs of a good claims adjuster:

- Contacts the claimant and employer as soon as possible

- Communicates in a timely matter, adding a personal touch by making all parties feel as if their concerns are heard and understood

- They review all information carefully and make sure all relevant medical and financial documents are gathered to make the process as smooth as possible

I hope you have found this information useful. Please do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule your free consultation with Marcie Baker if you feel that you or someone that you know has a Workers’ Comp. claim.

***The information contained in this blog is meant to be informational only and in no way constitutes legal advice of any form. Should you have any questions regarding a Work Comp. claim of you or someone you know, please reach out to our office.


Time to Say Goodbye

Happy Thursday, all! Enjoy this upcoming long weekend and the unofficial start to summer! Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and to...