Our Methods

COMMUNICATION WITH OUR CLIENTS

Every client is entitled to full and complete communication with his or her lawyer. AL SCHALLAU gives his clients exactly that. Mr. Schallau always responds very promptly to his clients' phone calls and emails. When Mr. Schallau is in the office, he answers the phone himself.

AL SCHALLAU LAW FIRM ACCEPTS CASES THAT WERE TURNED DOWN BY OTHER LAWYERS AND LAW FIRMS

At the AL SCHALLAU LAW FIRM, we really enjoy handling difficult cases. We take great pride in accepting and vigorously pursuing tough cases that were turned down by other lawyers and law firms.

Since 1980, more than two-thirds of AL SCHALLAU'S income has come from cases that were turned down by other lawyers. Examples:

In 1981, AL SCHALLAU obtained a jury verdict for $176,800 in Los Angeles Superior Court in Norwalk, CA for a client whose case had been turned down by 14 other lawyers.

In 1992, AL SCHALLAU negotiated a settlement of $500,000 on a case filed in San Diego for clients who were turned down by nine other lawyers.

In 1995, AL SCHALLAU negotiated a settlement of $850,000 for a client who suffered finger amputations in a printing press. The plaintiff was turned down by five other lawyers who told him that he didn't have a case.

In 2002, AL SCHALLAU negotiated a settlement of $1.3 million on a case filed in Los Angeles. Mr. Schallau was retained only five days before the statute of limitations would have expired. The plaintiff had been turned down by three other lawyers who told him that he didn't have a case.

HOW DO WE ACHIEVE EXCELLENT RESULTS ON VERY DIFFICULT CASES?

We have no magic wand, and there is no magic formula. We obtain such results by hard work and thorough, diligent trial preparation. That involves:

(a) TAKING THE PROPER DEPOSITIONS:

AL SCHALLAU is an expert at taking depositions, which he has been doing for over 40 years. Our opposing attorneys sit through those same depositions, and see and hear the same testimony. The insurance claims managers make their settlement decisions based upon such deposition testimony (among other things).

(b) EFFECTIVE AND THOROUGH USE OF WRITTEN DISCOVERY:

Trial lawyers in California regularly consult AL SCHALLAU concerning the effective use of Interrogatories, Requests for Admissions, and Demands for Production of Documents. In 1986 and 1987, he was one of the chief drafters of the California Civil Discovery Act, which is the governing law of California concerning pre-trial preparation. Mr. Schallau's written Products Liability Discovery documents have been purchased by over 1,000 lawyers in California.

(c) RETAINING THE BEST EXPERTS:

AL SCHALLAU has been retaining expert witnesses on his cases for over 40 years. He knows which experts are effective and persuasive and which ones are not. Mr. Schallau retains only the most experienced and best qualified experts on the liability and damage issues.

(d) CROSS-EXAMINATION OF OPPOSING EXPERTS:

AL SCHALLAU does very thorough preparation for the depositions of opposing experts. He researches past cases in which those experts have testified and uses that information appropriately. By asking the right questions at depositions, he frequently turns opposing experts into witnesses favorable to the plaintiff's side. When that happens, the settlement value of the case goes up dramatically.

(e) VIDEOTAPING OF EXPERTS' DEPOSITIONS:

As a matter of policy, AL SCHALLAU routinely has the depositions of medical experts and forensic experts videotaped. The Civil Discovery Act specifically allows those videotapes to be played at trial or arbitration even if the expert is available to testify in court. C.C.P. Sec. 2025.620 (d) and (e). Mr. Schallau has regularly played those videotapes at trials and arbitrations.

(f) THOROUGH RESEARCH FROM OTHER ATTORNEYS AND OTHER SOURCES:

When AL SCHALLAU gets a new case (particularly products liability), he first does national research to find other lawsuits filed against the same defendant. He then contacts the attorneys for the plaintiffs in those prior cases and obtains as much documentary evidence as possible. He also researches past appellate cases, published articles, industry standards, and other documents concerning that defendant. That information is always very valuable during settlement negotiations.

(g) EFFECTIVE USE OF THE MEDIATION PROCESS FOR SETTLEMENT:

Almost all cases filed in California go through one or more settlement conferences with mediators. AL SCHALLAU is a trained and experienced mediator himself. In the summer of 2000, he completed the 42-hour course in "Mediating the Litigated Case," taught at Pepperdine University School of Law. His mediation training has made him even more effective in representing the interests of his clients during the mediation process.

(h) TRIALS AND ARBITRATIONS:

AL SCHALLAU has been trying cases in California since 1969, including jury trials, court trials, and arbitrations. If any case cannot be settled, Mr. Schallau is completely experienced, ready, willing and able to take the case to a full trial on the merits, and (if necessary) to the appellate courts.