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At the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center, we help our clients protect everyone they love and everything they own. How do we accomplish this admittedly ambitious goal? We begin by asking the right questions and learning about you and your family. We invite you to explore our site to learn more about who we are, what we do and how we can assist you and your loved ones.

What We Do

At the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center, we help our clients protect everyone they love and everything they own. How do we accomplish this admittedly ambitious goal? We begin by asking the right questions and learning about you and your family. We invite you to explore our site to learn more about who we are, what we do and how we can assist you and your loved ones.

About Us

At the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center, we are committed to representing our clients with integrity, hard work, and highly personal legal counsel.

What We Can Do For You

Estate Planning

Your estate is vitally important to you, and it’s essential that you avoid financial burdens that can deplete your resources. You and your family deserve the best possible protection from any incidents that could reduce your wealth and have a negative impact on your personal finances for years to come.

Trust Asset Protection can shield you from legal actions with long-term estate planning that will keep your funds and property safe. We help you develop financial strategies that will protect your estate from debtors and legal challenges.

First, we conduct an assessment of your entire estate and the risks that you face, and then develop a strategy that offers you the best level of protection available.

We will help you form the business entities and legal structures that will keep your assets insulated and well protected. Long-term estate planning can involve the use of a number of tools. The ones that we may advise you to employ will depend on your needs and financial holdings. Our qualified service planner will help you make the soundest choices.


Our planners can put a number of legal entities in place to protect your money and property, including private banking accounts, corporations, partnerships, LLCs and various kinds of trusts. The kind of legal vehicles chosen to protect you estate will coincide with the amount of protection that you require. At times, legal vehicles in several jurisdictions, including those on foreign soil, may be most effective in providing the maximum amount of security for your assets.

Our expert staff provides asset protection services for virtually any legal eventuality, including long-term estate planning and immediate cause of action creditor and lawsuit protection.

We are in partnership with Asset Protection & Elder Law Center, and can provide services that are of particular importance to senior citizens. Among the issues that we provide help with is ensuring that your assets will be passed on to the individuals whom you want to receive them.

Other measure we take can help you avoid probate court and estate taxes, and can help protect loved ones’ inheritances against creditors, lawsuits and other potential threats.


Among the most pressing issues that you may face is protecting your life savings against the high cost of long-term care. Our specialist can offer advice and a solid strategy that will prevent long-term care from draining your assets.

In addition, we can develop a strategy that will ensure that caretakers of your choice will make healthcare and financial decision on your behalf should you become disabled.

Other important issues, such as the best ways to structure your business and protect your business assets, and determining what assistance you can receive from Medi-Cal if you are about to enter a nursing home or have already done so, are among the crucial issues we can help you plan for.

Selecting the services that are best for you can be a difficult undertaking. It necessitates making an analyses that assesses all aspects of your needs and offers you the amount of control over your wealth that is most comfortable for you.

The legal structures and business entities that we typically recommend may perform differently, and we will match you with the tools that are a good fit for your assets and your particular needs. The services that we may recommend are usually layered in a protective strategy that best meets your financial goals.

These strategies are created to prevent any legal challenges that could allow another to take some of your assets in a lawsuit if a judgment is made against you. Your accumulated wealth, including savings, real estate holdings, investments and anticipated income can be protected from legal judgments with the proper planning.

You might want to take a moment to explore our website to find out more about what we can do to help protect you and your family. There is a good deal of invaluable information presented here, including client testimonials and an in-depth discussion of the kinds of services that we can provide to you.

Please fill in our short form and get in touch with us to learn how we can help you with your long-term financial planning needs.

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I wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for everything you have done for both of us legally, financially and just basically being friendly as well. I really think us hiring you as our attorney was the best move for us taking on our case. I honestly don’t think any other attorney could have gotten us a better deal. I don’t think there is anything me and Thayla don’t like about you. We will most definitely send any referrals your way in need of your type of services. If there is anything we can do for you now or in the future don’t hesitate to ask. We wish you the best for you and the new family! We will keep in touch. Take care and thanks again, your clients and friends.

JR B., Costa Mesa, California

In the beginning, I was extremely nervous about the process of will and estate planning. However, when I met with Shadi for the first time she erased all of my anxiety with her warm and friendly demeanor. After talking things over with her, I instantly began to see that I was making a responsible decision for my family. My emotions were understandable but the discussion needed to be made. Now, I thanks God every day for “The Asset Protection and Elder Law Center” and I tell all of my friends about Shadi and how important it is to get their affairs in order before it’s too late!

Bernetta R. Riverside, California

I was apprehensive to get legal help because of my financial situation. I had an idea for a business, and did not know how to get started. In my 63 years, I have never felt such a level of commitment, love, and respect from an individual, let alone an attorney. Patrick welcomed me in and worked within my budget. He gave me the necessary foundation to implement my ideas, and he consistently keeps in touch with me to make sure I follow all the necessary corporate formalities. I am grateful for everything you have done for me professionally, and for my family. Thank you so much Patrick!

Mr. Sandor Nagy, Business Owner, Los Angeles, California

Great Estate Planning Attorney! Shadi is professional, knowledgeable and extremely pleasant to work with! I was very pleased to work with sush a knowledgeable and professional lawyer in the area of estate planning. Shadi was extremely informative and held our hand through the entire process. My husband and I had been dragging our feet for overa year to get our estate plan going (even though we knew we had to do it) just because it seemed so daunting… but Shadi not only made it easy for us but she made sure we understood everything we were signing and helped us get to the finish line. She was very easy to work with! I am recommending her to ALL my friends who do not yet have an estate plan in place. Thanks Shadi for making this happen for us. I sleep better at night knowing we have this in place and that you’ve done such a thorough job on it. We appreciate everything from the bottom of our hearts!

Pooja S., Irvine, California

Why are asset protection attorneys needed?

Americans are notoriously litigious. You may not realize it but people in the USA file more lawsuits each year than all the people every country in the world combined. That’s one category most of us would prefer our country not rank number 1 in. That’s especially true when you look at the number of frivolous lawsuits that are filed each year. As hard as it may be to take the seemingly ridiculous lawsuits seriously, it’s hard to predict how a jury or judge may rule on them. Because of that it’s important to create a complete asset protection plan.

What can an asset protection plan do for me?

To begin with, an asset protection strategy must shield you and your spouse from being sued, unethical challenges to your assets and creditors during your lifetime. A sound strategy will also shield what your children inherit from your estate from those kinds of financial predators after you pass away. If you have divorced or remarried, your offspring will likely require that kind of safeguard. In addition, what your grandchildren stand to inherit may need to be sheltered if your son or daughter dies and his or her partner remarries. If your children are have not reached full maturity they may require protection from making unfortunate decisions that could jeopardize the assets that they will inherit. An experienced and reliable asset protection attorney can shelter the assets you hold today, and will ensure that they are safely and securely passed along to your offspring when it’s time for them to receive their inheritance. The protection you will receive with a solid plan to guard your assets will provide you with peace of mind that you desire.

How can I protect my business from those financial pitfalls?

If you operate a small business in California you undoubtedly know that it takes a lot of legal help to keep your enterprise running smoothly. You need representation for a number of different functions, from protecting your intellectual property and trademarks to moderating and overseeing vendor and partner agreements. Having an attorney’s help ensures that your business can continue to grown as market conditions change. In addition, many startup entrepreneurs also require guidance for important issues that come up, such as how to incorporate, whether or not a California LLC is a good fit for your business, questions about the differences between an LLC and an S-Corp, which business entity is right for a small startup, how to save on taxes and determining whether your workers are employees or independent contractors. Moving forward without receiving sound legal advice opens you to the possibility that you’ll choose the wrong business entity and suffer a loss of capital when you pay taxes that are higher than necessary.

Can I afford legal representation to protect my company’s assets?

When it comes to seeking out legal help, entrepreneurs and small business owners often choose to forgo finding a qualified representative to help them simply because they imagine that they can’t afford to pay an attorney. In the past there was an element of truth to that concern. Hiring legal representatives to act as your general counsel was cost-prohibitive for small business and was a privilege enjoyed only by large business organizations. But new opportunities for small businesses and startups to obtain legal guidance that they so sorely need have become available in recent times. Asset Protection is itself a small business, and it understands the challenges that other similarly sized companies are facing. Protection Asset is happy to be able to provide services needed by small businesses for reasonable fees.

How does Asset Protection offer legal advice for an affordable fee?

Most law firms bill by the hour and for each service they provide, but Asset Protection’s clients can contact them via phone, fax or email for the help they need without receiving a big bill for the time spent serving them. Instead of billing for each transaction with our clients we prefer billing a flat fee. That encourages a long-term relationship between our clients and us, and allows them to contact us when they need assistance without the worry of running up hefty legal services bills. Among the services that we provide to our clients is updating their general partnerships to a more timely and fitting corporation or partnership. We can help you choose the best business entity to adopt and will simplify tax ramifications according to the selection that you make. No matter the size of your business, we can help you. We work with corporations, non-profit organizations and individually owned entities, as well as others. The Asset Protection & Elder Law Center can assist you in a variety of areas, including employment contracts, real estate, leases, articles of corporation as well as many other situations that are of concern to business people.

What is elder law?

The term “elder law” is often used to describe a section of the law that continues to grow in importance with each passing year. The aging “Baby Boomer” population tends to be particularly concerned with this kind of legal practice. Elder law can involve a variety of different areas of the law that include asset protection, planning for long-term care, estate planning and Medicaid planning. Senior citizens and those related to or simply concerned about a senior can find help with these kinds of legal issues by contacting the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center to speak with California elder law lawyers who are knowledgeable about issues such as sheltering the assets you’ve worked hard to earn against the burgeoning costs of long-term care.

Who needs to consider Advance Planning?

Even if you’re in top physical shape and your health is excellent, you should consider making plans for a time in the future when you may require long-term care of some type. An elder law practitioner’s goal is to help senior citizens stay self-reliant for the greatest time possible, and to shield their assets should the day arrive that they become incapacitated. The fact is, a nursing home stay costs lot of money. In California they can cost upwards of $100,000 per year. Also consider that about 50 percent of all women and about 25 percent of men are likely to spend a period of their lives in a nursing home. That can help you understand why it’s so important to plan for such eventualities in advance.

How can I be prepared in case I need long term care?

You can contact us, and our attorneys who specialize in long-term care planning in California can help you. They will develop and individualized plan for you in the very possible event that you should become incapacitated and require long-term health care. With an individualized plan, you are better able to guard your assets and protect your family members from financial burdens. Planning ahead is a good way to ensure that you’ll receive Medi-Cal help at the exact time that you need it.

Who can qualify for Medicaid/Medi-Cal?

Medicaid, or as it’s known in California, Medi-Cal, is the country’s single biggest payer of costs associated with nursing home stays for senior citizens. A qualified and knowledgeable attorney who practices elders’ law can help you meet the requirements necessary to receive Medi-Cal payment of nursing home costs. Let’s start by going over some of the misconceptions that many people have about qualifying for Medi-Cal. An often-repeated bit of incorrect information states that only low-income people can qualify for Medi-Cal, but this is not the case. That is perhaps the most pervasive rumor that many people believe is true. Despite what you may have heard on the street, there are asset protection laws that allow you to protect your money and do not require that you enlist the aid of caseworkers to get a structure set up on your behalf. A legal firm that practices elder law can come to your aid to reallocate your assets in suitable legal vehicles that will keep your life savings safe and will ensure your eligibility for Medi-Cal assistance, if your assets are between $100,000 and $1 million. Although some people believe that all you have to do is give away your savings to a relative or other entity and you’ll be qualified for Medi-Cal support, this is not the case. The government maintains the Deficit Reduction Act of 2011, also known as the Five Year Look Back Period. That means that you could face penalties for making uncompensated transfer or gift of your assets in the previous five years. However, you can avoid a potentially damaging outcome by creating a proper vehicle to reallocate your funds.

Will I have too many assets to qualify for Medi-Cal crisis planning?

When an individual requires nursing home care either immediately or has already entered a nursing home and has been informed that he or she has too many assets to qualify for Medi-Cal, our California Medi-Cal Crisis Lawyers call that a Medi-Cal crisis. Because the exorbitant cost of nursing home care can cost a family its entire life savings in as little as a year or two, we consider that situation a crisis. It’s important that you understand that even if others have told you that the number of assets you possess makes you unqualified for Medi-Cal help, the advice you are hearing often times is inaccurate or out of date. That could mean that information you’re receiving from social workers and nursing home personnel regarding Medi-Cal eligibility may be incorrect. With the help of our Medi-Cal crisis attorneys, who have a firm understanding of the intricate laws governing Medi-Cal eligibility, a range of strategies and apparatus can be put in place to help you qualify.



A young couple came into our office, with 3 minor children. They owned a home, and both spouses worked in medium to high income salaried jobs. They wanted to do a simple Revocable Living Trust, and figured they would not look at it for years.

No further than 6 months later, the couple had been in a car accident and had left the Babysitter to care for the children. When their medical condition demonstrated that it would be weeks before they could recuperate, the Babysitter was able to get the couple’s long-term health care directives, the Family Emergency Kit (trademarked documents from the firm) to prevent Child Protective Services from taking their children away in their absence. Parents and friends had legal authority to take over the legal and financial responsibility while parents healed from their injuries.

Married couple came in and initially just wanted a Last Will & Testament. This legal document still forces to end up in Probate Court, which is costly and time consuming. We explained to them that under the circumstances, they needed a Revocable Living Trust.

Two years later, husband had a medical condition that required a large portion of liquid assets to pay for the medical bills. Because wife had the proper medical health-care directives, the financial power of attorney in place, she was able to tap into the equity of their home, and pay for those expenses. Such authority would not have been possible without the proper legal documents in place.



Elder couple, with over $895,000 in assets. Husband had severe Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating illness where he became completely dependent on his wife. Unfortunately, she was too fragile to care for him physically on a daily basis.

Nursing Care would cost them an average of $11,250 / month. This was only the skilled nursing facility expense, not including - his medicine, special diet, and other individual needs. Wife was healthy and worried they would need to deplete their life savings in order to cover the monthly cost. The family started talking about selling the home to cover the cost. This would have been a grave mistake.

Once they came to see us, we were able to structure them a proper Medi-Cal plan, saving their entire life savings all the while having the Skilled Nursing Facility covered 100% of the cost. The children ended up inheriting the home free and clear from any creditors, and Mom had the remaining liquid assets to live without concerns about living on a tight budget.

Married couple had three adult children. The classic Immigrant Family that worked hard their entire lives and saved so they would have something to leave to their children on that fateful day. However, wife had severe Alzheimer. The husband and children, after years of trying, could no longer take care of Mom without compromising their work and raising their own families.

Again, they were concerned that Mom and Dad’s entire life savings would be spent on the Nursing Home cost. After all, outside of her memory loss, Mom was actually in great physical condition. Again, with the proper Medi-Cal plan, the family could rest concerned that Dad had their life savings intact, all the while having Mom be cared for in the best facility and have that cost covered.



A very high profile, public figure was making millions in the supplemental nutrients industry. He was single-handedly changing the marketing landscape on how to acquire customers. He was the largest direct mail marketer by the U.S. Postal Services Report for five consecutive years.

As one can imagine, this type of affluence brings in much unwanted attention and unforeseeable creditors. As fate would have it, the client ended up getting sued by an array of governmental agencies and frivolous lawsuits started to spring up. Having done a proper Asset Protection Plan ahead of any creditors or lawsuits, client ended protecting his entire estate and in essence had turned himself into a bullet-proof debtor.

When done right, a comprehensive asset protection plan can bring you benefits beyond your expectations!

A group of physicians worked together under a very successful and thriving practice. Being surgeons, all three parties were very well aware of the possibility of lawsuits. Studying their various options, they learned everything from basic insurance to Private Placement Life Insurance protection. Nevertheless, they were not familiar with the landscape, and wanted to hire professional counsel for advice.

After meeting them and making a presentation, all three physicians were interested in pursuing the option of Asset Protection. However, life has a way of steering you from doing the important and just focusing on the urgent. Out of the three surgeons, only one followed through.

A year later, all three doctors were sued by a patient, and under a legal concept of Joint and Several Liability, the patient went after all three parties. The one who had undertaken the Asset Protection had not been involved in the surgery, but the patient’s attorney reeled him in nevertheless.

Prior to any discovery even starting, we provided him the documents of the doctor with the comprehensive asset protection plan. A week later, the counsel amended his complaint against the remaining two physicians only.

Therein lies the power behind Asset Protection…



Estate Planning is taking a proactive role during one’s life and anticipating, arranging all of one’s legal and financial affairs. Questions such as – who do you want your assets to go to upon your death, who would you entrust to make medical decisions on your behalf, who can make financial decisions in the event you are incapacitated, and similar scenarios are addressed in a legal document.

The most recommended format is the Revocable Living Trust, which enables an individual an incredible array of control and decision making throughout the process, while present or… not around ☺. Within Estate Planning, more complex situations can be addressed, such as advanced tax planning, life insurance policies, and the likes can all be addressed during this planning stage.



The field of Probate Administration is an umbrella that encompasses all aspects of what happens when a person passes away and his legal and financial affairs need to be properly dispensed. The easiest path is when the decedent has what is called a Revocable Living Trust. However, when someone merely passes with a simple Last Will & Testament or with no legal documents, the decedent’s estate usually needs to end up in Probate Court. This is a complicated and timely formality that often requires counsel well-versed in the arena.

Probate Administration is comprised of handling all aspects of this final stage of a person’s life.



It is no secret that the elder population is reaching an all-time high! By 2050, it is estimated that the United States alone will have more than 88 million seniors, many of whom will require on-going medical attention. Though our lifespan is indeed getting longer, some chronic medical conditions have not been cured – Alzheimer's, Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia, and the list goes on.

Unfortunately, social security is a scarce proposition to rely on in terms of a security blanket to cover the possibility of a skilled nursing facility. The misconception is that Medicaid (known as Medi-Cal in California) is only intended for the “poor”.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Imagine a Baby Boomer having a healthy nest egg, anywhere from $500,000 to $1,500,000. Most people would assume these amounts to suffice for one’s golden years. Now, imagine a chronic medical condition where a skilled nursing facility would cost you an average of $7,500 - $15,000 / month to care for you or someone you love. That nest egg would not last long.

Medi-Cal Planning is the preparation of a plan which would enable you to save if not all, a majority of your entire life savings; all the while having your skilled nursing facility cost covered. Therein lies great benefits to a family well-versed with its options when it comes to covering your medical needs.



Let us speak frankly – The U.S. is a litigious nation. In CA alone, there is an estimated number of over 1 million lawsuits filed in 2015… Over 1 million. That is a scary proposition.

Too many times, our firm has dealt with individuals who come in and plan to protect their life savings based on an experience that sounds like this: “After _____ (fill in the unfortunate experience) happened and I lost everything, I vouched I would protect my assets next time!” Do not become that individual!

If you are in a business that is remotely successful, you will, more likely than not, encounter a lawsuit of some sort. Why gamble with everything you’ve ever worked for? Why not protect your assets, primary residence, life savings; before any incident and filing of a lawsuit.

We can assure you that doing such advanced planning has the ability to rest the most worried mind in ways that cannot be described.

There are countless legal techniques available to an individual to protect his / her assets, be it – cash, businesses, real estate, investment accounts, and the list goes. We assure you, if the asset has value, it is worth protecting, and we have the right legal vehicle to match your need.



    Unlike many traditional lawyers, attorney Patrick Phancao began his career abroad. Having been raised in Europe, Asia and Africa, traveling has always been a part of his life. After law school, when the opportunity arose to act as the Assistant Legal Counsel to a French Bank based abroad, he took on the challenge. He worked as the Bank’s Assistant Corporate Counsel for a year, where he learned a great deal about the financial industry. When he came back to California, Mr. Phancao was offered a position as Legal Counsel to a Supplemental Nutrients Company in Los Angeles. There, he became acquainted with the previous owner who had a wide range of legal needs. In his year and a half at the company, Mr. Phancao received a great deal of legal exposure in the following areas of the law—Patents and Trademarks, Corporate Governance, and Asset Protection to name a few. A few months back and in full practice, Mr. Phancao set the highest bond in California history in the White Collar Crime Division in the Superior Court of Los Angeles. He also participated in the biggest individual tax case of 2003. Given results like this, affluent individuals, families and businesses in both California and Florida began seeking Mr. Phancao’s counsel on all aspects of Asset Protection and Estate Planning, particularly complex matters. He soon realized that many of his clients, particularly baby boomers, needed counsel in the areas of Elder Law and Medi-Cal eligibility. He set out to change the landscape in this area as well, helping seniors and the people who love them take the proper steps to safeguard their life savings against the high cost of long-term care. Mr. Phancao then partnered with Ms. Shaffer to further strengthen his capabilities in this complicated and increasingly important arena. The two of them started a boutique law firm in Irvine, California specializing in Estate Planning, Asset Protection, Business Planning and Succession, and Medicaid/Medi-Cal Planning.

    Probate Administration

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.

    Medi-Cal Planning

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.

    Estate Planning

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.

    Asset Protection

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.


    Attorney Shadi Shaffer completed her Bachelor of Arts in Law & Society at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The following year, she went on to complete her Masters Certificate while studying abroad in Spain. Attorney Shaffer thereafter completed her Juris Doctorate degree in San Diego, California in 2002 and was proudly admitted to the State Bar of California in November 2002. Prior to her legal career, Attorney Shaffer had an extensive and diverse work history, which helped her gain skills that have proven invaluable to her legal practice. As an Attorney, she worked for the underserved at the San Diego Labor Board. She then joined a legal defense firm where she represented large insurance companies and hotels located throughout California. Shortly after, Attorney Shaffer opened her own firm so she could provide clients with exceptional legal representation and personalized client service of a different caliber than she had experienced thus far. She started the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center with her like-minded partner Patrick P. Phancao, in an effort to build a law practice dedicated to providing the level of sophisticated legal representation one would expect at a large firm combined with the personal attention of a boutique firm. To date, the firm receives the majority of its business through referrals, which shows the commitment and quality representation the two partners have provided to their clients. Since its formation, the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center and its staff have shown an uncompromising commitment to client service and responsiveness. Throughout its growth, Attorney Shaffer continues to provide individual attention, sound counsel, and cost effective representation. Attorney Shaffer is active in the community, both here and abroad. She has volunteered overseas helping orphaned children. She has worked with at risk teens through the Orange County Bar Association, continues to provide numerous pro bono hours to her community, and has served as a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. In 2009, Attorney Shaffer also became an active and contributing Board Member of the Pacific Youth Symphony Ensemble of Orange County. Attorney Shaffer’s passion is educating clients about estate planning and the law in general. She strives to provide individuals and families with an estate plan that will act as a foundation to protect everyone they love and everything they own. Her warmth and passion toward estate planning has forged long-lasting relationships with her clients, many of whom regard her as counsel and friend.

    Probate Administration

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.

    Medi-Cal Planning

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.

    Estate Planning

    More lawsuits are filed in the United States each and every year than in the rest of the world combined.


At the Asset Protection & Elder Law Center, we are committed to representing our clients with integrity, hard work, and highly personal legal counsel. We strive to make sure you understand your options by explaining complex legal matters in real English, not “Legalese.” Then, we work closely with you to design and implement a customized plan to address all of your concerns and help you achieve short and long-term goals. We represent individuals, families and businesses, including corporations and professional partnerships, both domestic and foreign. We have represented clients locally, nationwide and internationally, from Europe to Asia and beyond. Our practice includes all aspects of Estate Planning, Domestic and Offshore Asset Protection, Business Planning/Incorporation and Medi-Cal planning. We take pride in the fact that the bulk of our new business comes from the referrals of existing clients. We are also different from most Orange County law firms in that we do not operate under the traditional “hourly billing” model, where clients are billed in six-minute increments, or sent an invoice for each email, phone call, or fax that crosses our desk. Instead, we operate under a flat-fee model, which means you pay one price—no matter how many times you need to call or how many hours we invest in your case (litigation excluded). This reflects our belief that clients should have access to great representation in a way that is straightforward, equitable and affordable.