My 2 Practice Areas: Texas Family Court & Probate Court
- Divorce litigation
- Child Custody itigation
- Litigation involving modification of prior court Orders
- Litigation involving enforcement of prior court Orders
- Probate of Estates & Guardianship, Estate and Trust Litigation
How I Practice Law:
I focus on people. The product I produce is your future, informed by the experience of your past choices. I work to deliver the highest quality legal counsel in a professional, approachable and common sense manner. I like to win and tend to do so.
You’ll have my personal cell phone number and we’ll talk and text at will. You’ll find that I return calls, texts and email promptly. We’ll get to know each other well, which makes direct, honest communication (counsel) more likely.
But I prefer the cases in which a client is somehow ‘stuck‘ or, honestly, has their ‘ass in a crack‘ (so to speak). Maybe, you’re at your wits end. I look for real, viable stakes — problems and puzzles. I want your case to make me think, contemplate and ask lots of questions. So I rarely handle ‘routine‘ anything.
Your case will keep us both awake at night, anyway. Let’s make sure that our lost sleep and our episodic anxiety and fears are a worthy price.
If you have a simple case, I probably won’t take it, but I probably know someone who can help.
My hourly fee ranges from $300.00 to $400.00 and my retainer is 4-5 figures (but see the next paragraph). My contract contains an ‘evergreen‘ clause requiring that you replenish the retainer as you are billed (a ‘retainer’ is a continuing deposit for future services). My consultations are never free — you pay hourly. Nothing I do is charged for less than 15-minute increments, but I do no-charge a lot.
However, I don’t desire to price myself out of the market place of good people who need good counsel and have difficult cases. What good is a law license if it merely decorates a wall?
Still, I limit my caseload to 20-30 cases. I run a law practice, not a divorce/child custody mill. I pick and choose my cases. But I am also the person who actually talks to you — you don’t talk to the assistant, the paralegal or the associate.
Typically, you just text me and then I will either call you or reply back to you. I do that because I don’t keep many clients in my life, any more. I want to finish the fight and keep moving.
You’re always part of me and I will always think of you. But, once we’re done, I am not good at sending birthday cards, etc. I will always send you love and hope, although you might not know it.
Once this is all over, I am certain that we all get back together and compare notes on our experiences.
Any way, you hire me, you pay me and I work for you. Thus, we should talk.
What’s a Lawyer Really For?
I see my role as your consigliere — your counselor. Think Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) as counsel to Michael Corleone from The Godfather. We all need counsel and direction during times of trouble; some of us bring on more ‘trouble’ than others because we don’t make conventional choices.
You can always google the law and lawyers are generally a dime a dozen. I know the law, but you pay for counsel and advice. Remember Lincoln’s wise words, “An attorney’s time and advice are his stock in trade.”
My Dad was a welder and his father was a farmer. Each faced death on a battlefield in a World War. So I understand that the ‘value’ I bring to your life is not clearly tangible. Sometimes, people joke about lawyers billing to ‘think’ about a case, as if that’s unfair. But, if we decide to work together, I strongly believe that good lawyers get paid for advice and thought, crafted onto paper.
My personal approach is to know the facts of your case and your personality. I ask lots of questions most other lawyers don’t — I want to know about patterns in your life and relationships; I want to know (to the extent possible) who you are and how you got yourself into the situation you face with your opponent. I require that you pay me because I am not playing a game, and neither should you.
That’s just how I do things.
I also research your opponents and their attorney(s). I will know what they’ve donated to your judge’s campaigns and I’m always updating my research on the judges themselves. Personalities run the system, so you need to know them — good, bad and indifferent.
So I rely upon experience, information, intuition and execution to succeed. I personally draft, argue and negotiate everything that’s done on your behalf. I personally prepare the case, and do so carefully.
A Few Words about Courts and Judges:
Remember that judges are elected officials. Even at the Federal level, those judges are ‘elected’ by the 100 members (voters) in the U.S. Senate. The judges work for us, although we are the ones who stand up whenever he/she/they enter the courtroom.
Although we stand, we do not kneel, we do not bow nor do we genuflect.
I respect the system, but I don’t worship the system. We live in a Republic, not a barn yard; we are citizens, not livestock. So join me in always keeping a healthy degree of skepticism about judges, the justice system and the power structures within government, religion, education and media.
I also recall the wise words of the late James Hippard, a civil procedure professor at UH, for whom UHLC’s mock trial competition is named: “Never, never, never, never, never trust the judge.”
Amen and rest in peace, Prof. Hippard.
Rules to Remember in Family Court Litigation:
Last, these 2 rules were taught to me by a better, smarter lawyer, my law partner, Mary Heafner:
1. the cooperative parent wins in family court, not the bully or the gossip; and
2. work to let go of your anger — you cannot drink poison (anger) and expect it will kill someone else.
Mary’s rules are the basis for my personal 3 Rules for Success for all prospective clients:
1. Silence is power — silence in the face of crazy makes crazy people crazier;
2. Don’t engage crazy — do NOT return their accusatory, angry texts, messages or social media posts (and don’t coach [poison] your kid);
3. Cooperation wins — courts represent the culmination of social order. So, as much as you want to fight, it’s better to stay within society’s lines, tow the judge’s line and nod gently at the people who proudly sport titles and badges (and weapons). Rebellion inevitably comes. You needn’t sacrifice your relationship with your child, in the meantime, to score points with people who are intoxicated with status. Remember that cooperation wins in family court.
Thank you for considering my services. If you want to consult, shoot me an email and describe your case and the actors/parties and issues/stakes involved. If there is a case history, tell me the county and cause number.
Then, if I think that I can help, I will send you a Consultation Agreement with a credit card authorization. After that, we will meet and talk about whether I can take your case and represent you.
Best wishes to you,
Scott K. Boates