Do you do any work besides trial work?
All of our work involves preparation for trial or arbitration, although most of our cases settle. We believe that settlement is in your best interest most of the time, rather than taking on the expense and uncertainty of trial.
But if we are unable to gain the recovery you deserve through negotiation, we are always ready to go to court or seek redress before an arbitration panel.
What kind of cases do you accept?
We are known across the state and nation for our representation of clients in legal malpractice cases, including fee disputes. We also handle other aspects of professional negligence – stockbroker/investment/securities fraud, malpractice against accountants, money managers and business partners, as well as insurance bad faith, business and commercial disputes.
An area in which we are increasingly active is fiduciary litigation, suing those with a fiduciary duty toward someone for breaching that duty. We also lend our vast experience to these types of cases handled by other attorneys, serving as expert witnesses in areas of professional malpractice.
We’ve also had great success with civil appeals, family law appeals and criminal appeals.
We are, first and foremost, trial attorneys, and we represent clients who have been cheated, defrauded or injured at pen point.
If your specialty is litigation, do most of your cases go to trial?
Almost all cases settle before trial, and our cases are no exception. Most settle and a few go to trial. The ones that go to trial are the ones where the defendant would not pay enough in settlement. For a case to settle for a fair amount, though, the other side must know that you are willing to go to trial. The decision to settle is decided by the client, not the lawyer.
Is it true that suits for stockbroker fraud don’t go to trial, but to arbitration?
Most of the time, arbitration is the only avenue for redress of a stockbroker fraud claim. Most investment contracts require that disagreements between a broker and client be heard by a three-member arbitration panel. There are several key differences between arbitration and trial. In most cases, the decision of arbitrators is final and no appeal is possible. With one shot at justice, you will want an attorney with experience and a track record of success at arbitration.
If you have so much experience, can you guarantee to win my case?
As Randy’s grandfather used to say, “ain’t no horse cain’t be rode, ain’t no rider cain’t be throwed.” Guarantees are not possible in litigation. This question is not a matter of experience or even track record, but ethics. It is unethical for an attorney to guarantee an outcome just to sign up a case. If any attorney tells you he can guarantee a win or a specific dollar amount, leave his or her office immediately and file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas.
When a prospective client comes to see you, do you charge for the first consultation?
For cases that will be handled on an hourly basis, we charge from the start of the representation. For other contingent fee cases, we do not charge for the initial consultation. We never charge without telling the client in advance, so he or she can decide whether to incur the expense.
At what point do you meet the attorney who will handle your case?
Your first contact with the firm is usually with others in the firm responsible for screening to insure that your case would not present a conflict for us. Before we take your case, however, you will meet with the attorneys who will handle the case.
What types of cases do you take on flexible fee arrangements?
Unlike most law firms, we will consider almost any type of case on a flexible fee basis. That includes business litigation and contract cases. Since we invest many hours of our time in a case, we look very closely at the facts of a case before deciding if we will accept it on that basis.
Can you explain the flexible financial arrangements you offer?
There is no “one size fits all” when determining fees. We have no fixed amount that applies to every case. Each case is individually evaluated in an effort to arrive at a fair fee for that case.
People either pay an hourly rate or they are on a contingent fee. In the classic contingent fee, the lawyer advances all the expenses and then takes a percentage of the recovery.
Depending on the case, our firm offers a variety of fee arrangements. Those arrangements might include
- Reduced hourly fee with a smaller contingent fee.
- Client pays the expenses up front, or
- Upfront retainer that’s credited against the contingent fee.
We try to decide an appropriate fee arrangement that will be fair to the client as well as compensate our law firm. Unlike many other attorneys with a similar practice, we will not take more money from a case than our client. That is our promise to every prospective client.
If I want your firm to represent me, who will work on my case?
This depends on the size and scope of the case, and the workload at any specific time. Our entire support staff is available to help every client, and sooner or later everyone in the office will work on every case. The firm meets regularly to discuss every case in the office, so everyone is updated on the status of each case.
If your case is large and complex, everyone in the firm will work on it from the start. Johnston Tobey Baruch works on the team concept. With most large cases, Robert Tobey prepares the case with the backing of Coyt Johnston, who often does extensive research into the legal basis of the case. Randy Johnston is more the big picture guy who presents the case in court or represents the client in settlement talks, with the assistance of the two other attorneys. Chad Baruch is a board certified appellate attorney, and he handles all appeals.
Do you pay referral fees?
Yes, as the law allows. Under certain circumstances, state law allows us to pay referral or forwarding fees to licensed attorneys with the client’s consent. If a referral fee is to be paid in your case, you will know about it. To refer a case to Johnston Tobey Baruch, call 214.741.6260 and ask for either Randy Johnston or Robert Tobey.
My last attorney wouldn’t return my phone calls. How do your attorneys communicate with clients?
The number one complaint before State Bar grievance committees is that the lawyer did not communicate with the client. We attempt to respond to all client inquiries in a timely manner, and we try to keep clients advised of what’s going in at all times. Sometimes, however, nothing is going on.
If you feel that you are not being kept informed about your case, please let us know. We try to copy the client on all correspondence regarding the case. Many clients today prefer to communicate with email, but we use email with hesitation for important client communications because such emails may not be protected by attorney/client privilege.
I believe that my opponent’s lawyer used illegal or unethical means to beat us. Can I sue him?
The answer is “almost never.” We get this question a lot in relation to divorce or other family law disputes. As a general rule, you can sue your own lawyer, but not the other side’s lawyer.