Q&A with the Attorney

Shannon Smile

1.) Will I be able to contact you directly?

Yes. It is my policy to respond to all client calls and emails within 24 hours.  Family Law is an emotionally charged area and I make it a priority to answer questions and concerns as quickly as possible.

2.) Do you have courtroom experience?

Yes. I  have appeared in Los Angeles (Stanley Mosk, Norwalk and Long Beach), Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino.

3.) What is your “philosophy” on divorce?

I believe issues should be settled by the parties, as much as possible. I do not think a Judge is always the most qualified person for making decisions for your family. When settlement is not possible, I believe in zealous representation and using the facts to show the Court why the client’s requests should be granted.

4.) Do you discourage communication between the spouses?

Sometimes.  If the parties can communicate peacefully then that is excellent. However, if they cannot, lawyers should be used as the intermediary.

5.) What are your fees per hour?

$200.00 per hour. We also offer reduced fees and payment plans for low income and unemployed individuals.

6.) Do you offer set-fee services?

Yes. Set-fees are an option and are determined on a case by case basis. Set-fees can range from $250 – $5,000 depending on the type of case and work involved.

6.) What is your retainer fee for hourly services?

$2,000 – $5,000 depending on the type of case and work involved.


Call (323) 834-2889 for a free telephone consultation and to ask any other questions you may have. 

I know a guy…


How to pick the right professional for you.
People in professional fields know people. If you know a lawyer, he/she knows at least one hundred other lawyers. Lawyers know accountants, accountants know financial planners, financial planners know lawyers, etc.

These days I believe many people take to the internet when looking for services. You will probably use yelp to find a plumber, or a caterer. It is less likely that people utilize the traditional method of “ask a friend.”

The problem is yelp does not know you. Your friends, your colleagues, your attorney even, they know you. They know if you require more attention than most, or if you prefer to be left alone. They know if your weekday schedule is packed but your weekends are free. They know if you’re drowning in wealth or living on a budget. Yelp, however, does not know these things about you.

I believe hiring a professional advisor, in any area, is less about hiring “the best” and more about hiring “the best for you.” I encourage friends and clients and friends of friends to meet with other experts before choosing who to make that check out to. It is important that the people advising you on your life know and understand you. Trust needs to be present. Compassion, when required. Needs should be known and expectations should be met.

I don’t mean to discount yelp, or any other review sites. The internet is an amazing tool for research and you should do your research. However, don’t forget to simply ask around. People love to help people, especially people in “helping professions.” You need a financial planner? I know a smart and savvy woman that can help. You need an accountant? I know one of the best, with more years of experience than I have been alive. You need a plumber? Well, I’m not sure I know a plumber – but I’ll be happy to ask around!

Limited-Scope Representation


Limited Scope Representation allows a client to use the lawyer’s services for some areas of a case and to represent themselves in others, as opposed to a lawyer taking a case, completely, from start to finish.  This option is popular with clients that only need some consultation or advice but feel comfortable with self-representation; or those that can draft their own documents, but want representation at hearings.  This is also a great option for those looking to keep legal fees minimal and predictable.

Call Payne Law Group at (310) 838-6788 for information on this type of representation and to discuss the availability of limited scope representation in your case.

Do I need A Lawyer?

The most common question asked by friends, family, and past clients is, “Do I need a lawyer?” Generally speaking, yes. It is always best to at least consult a lawyer where a legal, or potentially legal, issue is involved. Most law firms offer a short consultation at no charge. Call Payne Law Group at (323) 834-2889 for a free thirty minute consultation to discuss your issues and determine if representation is in your best interest.