Frequently Asked Questions
When Did You Get Started?
On December 21, 1982, when the Board of Bar Overseers notified me that I had passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam on my first attempt, I eagerly began to practice law. My very first case was a contested divorce, which I successfully settled for the benefit of my client. For 10 years I was a public defender in Waltham District Court, where I tried hundreds of criminal cases before judges and juries. This was an invaluable experience that prepared me well in the family law field, where an attorney is often required to vigorously advocate for his client in family court. I worked in the law firm of Foster and Foster in Waltham, Massachusetts until 1991, when I opened The Law Office of Gary J. Marchese at 85 River Street, Waltham, MA, where I practice today.
What is Your Work Philosophy?
My firm is devoted to providing honest legal advice for our clients. I believe that knowledge is power, and I strive to inform the client of all of their options before undertaking the case. Hiring a lawyer does not have to be an expensive decision. Often, a case can be resolved quickly without the Court’s intervention, thereby saving the client hundreds of dollars. If the client receives honest, straight forward advice from a lawyer, then the client can make an intelligent and prudent decision about how to proceed. And, I do that at the very first consultation, free of charge. Some people believe there are too many lawyers, but I always say that there may be a lot of lawyers, but there aren’t a lot of good lawyers whom you can trust.
What is Your Opinion Regarding Clients Educating Themselves on Legal Issues?
I welcome informed clients. In certain circumstances clients may help themselves without the intervention of a lawyer. However, when a case is complicated, or if I think a client will jeopardize his/her rights by representing him or herself, I would encourage the client to seek legal advice. More often than not, getting good legal advice early in the process is the smartest decision a client can make. Since the initial consultation is free, there is absolutely no risk in consulting with me about a client’s options. If a person is confronted with a legal problem, he/she should seek the advice of counsel early, learn about all their options, and then make a prudent decision about whether to hire a lawyer.
Are You Willing to Coach Clients Who Want to Represent Themselves?
Occasionally, this does happen, particularly in civil matters (e.g., client being sued by a creditor). Sometimes it does not make financial sense for a client to retain an attorney. For example, a claim filed in Small Claims Court, or where the civil claim is less than the cost of retaining an attorney. I certainly would not hesitate to assist the client in preparing the documents necessary to either defend or prosecute these claims.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Lawyer?
I truly believed that I could make a difference. When I began practicing law, the legal profession suffered from a bad public image. Lawyers were perceived as overpaid and dishonest. I wanted to change that image, and offer honest, affordable advice, and restore the image of a lawyer as a caring, helpful, honest professional. I think I have accomplished that.
What Work Experience and Life Lessons Have Guided You to Be a Better Lawyer?
Growing up in a family of five, I learned from my dad, Jim, a retired Waltham Police Officer, who inspired me to be the best I can be. My mom, Pauline, who advanced from bank teller to bank vice president when women were struggling for advancement in the workplace, taught me perseverance and character. I am most proud of my work as a Public Defender in the 80’s representing indigent criminal defendants. As a Public Defender, I witnessed first hand the troubles caused by alcohol and drug abuse, and how it can ruin individuals and families. Defending those who have no one else to turn was a very fulfilling life experience. The love and guidance of my parents, my beautiful wife, Janis, my children and my faith have been the most influential factors in my life.
Why Did You Decide on Your Primary Area of Practice?
I saw the need in my community for a trusted family lawyer who also practiced bankruptcy law. I noticed that many bankruptcy firms were located in Boston, and there was a void of representation in my hometown. I took courses, updated my computer software, purchased treatise, and eventually became certified to practice law in the U.S. Federal Courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.
What Do You Like Best About Your Career?
Meeting people, solving problems, resolving disputes.
Can You Tell Us About Your Law Firm?
I am a solo practitioner, so all of my clients deal directly with me. I am very careful not to overburden my law office with too many cases at one time, so I can devote as much time as needed to the clients who have retained me to represent them. My practice is conveniently located in the Colonial Shopping Center right on the border with Watertown and Newton. I have represented clients who come from all over the world, including Italy, Canada, Guatemala, India, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, and from all parts of the United States including California, Texas and Florida. With the invention of the computer and the internet, finding my office is easier than ever before.
What Are Your Strengths and Style?
My strengths are my legal experience, communication skills, compassion and patience. I am a very good listener, and I take detailed notes during the interview process. I am very well organized and I have had great success fighting for my clients and resolving their disputes. I am a problem solver, and strive to solve problems expeditiously and economically.
What Are Your Office Hours?
Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and evening hours by appointment.
Fixed-Price Services and Fees:
I ordinarily bill by the hour, except in certain instances where there is a defined amount of work, I will set a fixed price. For example, in Divorce matters, I bill by the hour, but in preparing or reviewing a Purchase & Sale Agreement for the sale of a home, I charge a set fee.
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