“You gave me a voice when I needed it most. Knowing that I had you helping me gave me the strength to hang in there. I can’t believe I ended up with most everything I asked for. I even got some things that I never dreamed I would get back!”
Client 9 (January 2015)
“Just wanted to say thank you for your help with the letter. You are truly a godsend. Not only are you knowledgeable but also genuinely caring to a stranger. We need more attorneys like you in this world.”
Client 8 (January 2015)
“You are amazing! I appreciate your expertise and support more than you may know. It is so good to know you are as close as an email or call. Thanks a million–“
Client 7 (September 2013)
“I cannot thank you enough for all your assistance over the years. You have been a godsend to me.”
Client 6 (December 2012)
“Your professionalism in dealing with the agency speaks louder in what it does not say directly than in what it does say. Your writing covers a very sharp filet knife designed to cut to the issue and get the result. I also appreciate your continued calm, focused approach. You have more than earned any and all fees. I cannot imagine going through this without your guidance and support.”
Father of Client 5 (November 2012)
I cannot thank you enough for your marvelous support, writing skills, and superb knowledge of what I can and cannot do…”
Client 4 (August 2012)
“You’re a damn good attorney and very compassionate. Thanks for all your help and going above and beyond what most attorneys would do.”
Client 3 (March 2012)
“I want to THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all your support. I will never forget that! I really appreciate all that you did to help me out. I feel so relieved and blessed.”
Client 2 (March 2012)
Unsolicited client comments, used with permission. Each dispute is different and its outcome depends on the underlying facts as well as factors beyond the control of you or the attorneys, but our goal is to leave every client as happy as those quoted here.
Q: Which agencies’ employees do you represent?
A: Any federal agency. Some of our current and past clients have come from the Departments of State, Defense, Justice (such as Assistant U.S. Atttorneys, FBI staff, attorneys with BIA/EOIR); Interior (NPS); Agriculture (FDA); Labor; Education; Veterans Affairs (doctors, nurses, IT staff, and others); Homeland Security (HQ staff, ICE [such as Special Agents], CIS [such as Immigration Services Officers], CBP [such as pilots]); and EPA [such as an OIG Special Agent] and Commerce (NIST).
Q: When is the best time to hire an attorney?
A: It’s not common sense, but the earlier you involve an attorney, the less you may end up spending in the long run. It’s much cheaper to put out a fire than to have to build a whole new house after it has burned down. Trying to save money by handling a dispute on your own often results in mistakes and missed deadlines that end up making it impossible to later pursue your claims.
Q: What sort of attorney should I hire?
A: One who is experienced in handling federal employee cases. An attorney may even be experienced in representing private employees in EEO matters and still not be aware of all the special rules and deadlines applicable to feds. For example, a private employee in many states has 300 days to file a charge of discrimination with EEOC, while a federal employee must first go through EEO Counseling and request it within 45 days of the event they are complaining about.
Q: Can you help with a Workers Comp Claim?
A: No. We may refer you to attorneys who handle OWCP claims, but we don’t.
Q: Is it better to file an EEO complaint, or to go to the Merit Systems Protection Board, to the Office of Special Counsel, or to court?
A: Depending on the nature of your claim, one or more of these may be right and one may be required before going to the other. We’ll help you navigate the maze of options.
Q: Can you help me even if I’m a union member?
A: We often help union members with EEO and whistleblower issues. At other times, an employee or the union hires us to help the union, such as in writing a disciplinary reply or in representing the employee/union in arbitration.
Q: My boss is incompetent. Where do I file a complaint?
A: Incompetence and mismanagement are not by themselves illegal or a basis for a complaint, but they may overlap with other facts that would give rise to legal actions, such as a claim of reprisal for making protected disclosures about serious wrongdoing (also known as whistleblower retaliation). Likewise, it is not by itself illegal for a boss to favor those who don’t ask hard questions and go along to get along, but again it may overlap with grounds that create a cause of action
Q: Can I afford an attorney?
A: Maybe, maybe not. It’s not cheap, but when it comes to your career, doing nothing may be the most expensive option of all. We require an initial deposit of $5,000 (or $10k if you are proposed for removal or have been removed or the case is already in litigation). We bill against the deposit at pre-paid (discounted) rates. See the sample contract below for the details, as in effect November 2018 (subject to change–contact for the latest update of the sample contract).
Individual expenses of $50 or less are free to you. You may be able to find an attorney who will handle a federal employee on a contingency basis (no attorney fees unless you win), but we are not aware of any attorneys handling fed employee cases on that basis. As noted elsewhere in these FAQs, travel is at no additional charge for the DC area, much of Texas, and a number of other cities. For some prospective clients, finding a newer attorney with less experience–and so hopefully lower rates–may be necessary.
Q: How much will getting an attorney cost?
A: As a very general matter, the more often you have been in trouble in the past and the more prior complaints/cases you have had involving your career, the more expensive it is likely to be and the less likely you are to get a favorable outcome. Unless you have agreed on a flat rate up front, it is impossible to know. For example, some firms might charge a flat $10,000 for a handling a proposed three-day suspension. As indicated above, we require an initial deposit of $5,000 (or in some situations, $10k), against which we bill at a pre-paid rate. If there is money in your trust account left over at the end, it is refunded to you. But if your dispute drags out, additional deposits will be required. See further below for our sample contract as of November 2016 (subject to change without notice, so contact us for the latest version).
Q: Does it matter where I live?
A: We don’t charge for travel/hotel if you are in the DC area, Seattle, or anywhere in Texas near Austin/Dallas/Houston/San Antonio/Waco. As to other areas, many times cases can be handled without attorney travel (we’ve even had clients in England and Italy) or travel charges may be waived for cities (e.g., Los Angeles, San Francisco) with non-stop service from Austin or Dallas via Southwest Airlines. We represent clients all over the country; give us a call to discuss your situation and the sort of travel expenses that might be involved. We are regularly available by phone, email, and text.
In-person attorney meetings for all offices by appointment only. (But feel free to call anytime for a free initial consultation.)
Principal Office 1227 N. Valley Mills Dr., Ste. 208 Waco, TX 76710 (254) 776-3939 ~ fax 776-4001
National Capital Region 1629 K St., NW, Ste. 300 Washington, DC 20006 (202) 540-9950 ~ fax 683-6130
David has represented businesses, non-profit organizations, and government employees in private practice since 1996. Prior to that he worked for six years in Washington, D.C. in federal and state government relations. His final position there was Manager, Federal and State Programs, for the American Chemical Society. The first year after law school he worked for a D.C. law firm on employment and constitutional law cases. He is particularly equipped to handle complex disputes with overlapping legal and public policy issues, given his: (1) work in federal government relations in DC; (2) government relations experience from a DC base but directed at the state and local level; (3) six years of service as a local non-partisan elected official; (4) service as a chair of a county-level political party organization; and (5) frequent litigation against government entities. He has accompanied a member of Congress in testifying to a House Subcommittee and a federal employee client in testifying before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He served as an elected at-large member of the Waco School Board from 2005-2011, serving as President of the Board during the 2008-2009 school year. He also has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. He is a prior president of the Waco Chapter of the Federal Bar Association and a prior president of the Waco-McLennan County Young Lawyers Association. He served for six years on the Membership Committee of the District of Columbia Bar Association. He serves on the editorial Board of Contributors for the
a Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. newspaper. He has written profiles of the two Chief (federal) Judges for the Western District of Texas for
The Federal Lawyer,
the magazine of the Federal Bar Association. He served as Chair of the McLennan County Democratic Party from February 2013 through mid-June 2014. David received a J.D. from Baylor Law School in 1989 and a B.A. from Baylor University in 1988. While in law school, he clerked in Baylor’s Office of General Counsel and Government Relations. He is a member of the District of Columbia Bar, the State Bar of Texas, and the Washington State Bar Association. He also is admitted to practice before a number of federal appeals courts (D.C. Circuit, Federal Circuit, and Fifth Circuit), federal district courts (District of Columbia and all four Texas districts), the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and the U.S. Supreme Court. His casework has been covered in the
Dallas Morning News
San Antonio Business Journal, Energy & Environment Daily
, by Breitbart News, and other media outlets. He has contributed the D.C. Court of Appeals case summaries for the Federal Bar Association’s Labor and Employment Law Section – Monthly Circuit Update. He has taught for “The Peoples Law School” and a “teachers’ law school” programs at Baylor School of Law, on topics such as impeachment, free speech, and employment law. He has had 40-hour mediator training. He has participated as a mediator or party representative in numerous mediations since 1996. He also has served as a party representative in arbitrations.
Kristofer is of-counsel to the firm. Legislation he authored for regulated industries has been adopted in three states. He offers expertise in business litigation, health care law, risk management, representation before state and federal administrative agencies, and state government affairs/lobbying for regulated industries, including Emergency Medical Services and commercial fire-equipment manufacturers and dealers. He is a graduate of Baylor University with a B.A. in Religion and an M.A. in Sociology. He was admitted as a Ph.D. candidate in Social Psychology at Emory University before enrolling as a Woodruff Scholar at the University of Georgia Law School, from which he graduated cum laude in 1990. During law school, he was Executive Notes Editor for the
Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law
. Following law school, he served two years as law clerk to the Hon. J. Owen Forrester, United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia. Kristofer also is admitted to practice in all Georgia and Texas state courts, the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the Federal Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh and Federal Circuits, and the United States Tax Court. He is a member of the American Bar Association and the American Health Lawyers Association. He also is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court.
Licensing in particular states means an attorney is authorized to appear in court in those states. Administrative proceedings like those before MSPB or EEOC require only that an attorney be licensed in at least one state, not necessarily the state where the hearing is held. A dispute that instead is in a federal court in a place other than D.C., Georgia, or Texas may require hiring local counsel at additional cost.
We also work with other attorneys in some instances, such as Marsha Normand (Marsha Normand, PC) in Beaumont, Texas on criminal cases and disputes involving public servants in the southeast Texas area. Or Michael Coster (licensed in Virginia and Utah) of Nevada on issues like government contracting and tax questions.