Frequently asked questions/常見問題解答

For more than three decades, Wong, Chang & Yang LLP has provided legal representation to clients in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area. Here we provide some basic answers to frequently asked questions. To learn more about our services for any type of case, please contact the firm and schedule a consultation with one of our experienced lawyers. We are fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, and English. 


1. How are you compensated for working on my case?

Generally, attorneys are paid under one of the following ways: Hourly Retainer Agreements and Contingency Fee Agreements. These fee agreements will be written in English as well as either Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese.
通常情況下,我們的律師費是以下面兩種形式收取:按小時計費 或 從結案后的和解金里提取一定比例的費用作律師費。

Hourly Retainer Agreements:
Generally, Attorneys charge for our work on an hourly basis. This means that the client places a retainer in trust and the attorney spends the money as work and costs are completed on the case. If the case concludes before the retainer is spent, the unused retainer is refunded to the client. If more money is needed to complete the case to conclusion, we will contact the client and let the client know an estimate of the amount needed to complete the agreed-upon tasks.

Contingency Fee Agreements:
In some Personal Injury or Property Loss cases, Attorneys may charge on a contingency basis. This means that the Attorneys will be paid if and when the case settles or from a judgment entered by the Court. If we do not prevail on a client's case, we are not paid. In some circumstances, costs will be deducted from the settlement prior to the splitting of attorney's fees and amounts distributed to the clients. In other circumstances, costs will be advanced by the client prior to litigation. Contingency fee agreements are not allowed in Family Law and Criminal Law matters.

2. Can you Guarantee that my case will succeed?
Attorneys in the State of California are bound by the California Rules of Professional Conduct.

An Attorney may not promise or guarantee an outcome on a case. There can also be no assurance that the client recovers any sum or specific amount in the case. Attorneys are also not able to calculate chances of success/"success rates" or share prior confidential information about other cases. Our firm takes the Rules of Professional Conduct seriously. None of our attorneys have been sanctioned by any jurisdiction's State Bar.

If an attorney guarantees a successful outcome on your case or shares your personal information with another party or person, please call the State Bar of California at 800-843-9053.

3. Why do I need an attorney if I was hurt in an accident?
If you or someone you love has been hurt in an accident, the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney can greatly ease the stress of dealing with insurance companies and at-fault parties, and also help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your damages. Even interacting with your own insurance company can be challenging, as insurance plans have coverage limits that may not cover the full costs of your required medical treatment.

4. What types of Immigration Cases does your firm handle?
Our firm handles all aspects of the Immigration process, from the National Visa Center to Immigration Court Proceedings. We have represented clients with respect to I-130 Petitions for Alien Relatives - Spouses, children, parents, siblings, I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and other law services such as name change/age changes to Certificates of Naturalization. With experienced Immigration Attorneys and Paralegals who are Qualified Translators at the Immigration Offices, our clients are zealously represented at all stages of proceedings.

5. If I am applying for Immigration Benefits such Family-Immigration Petitions, why can't I just do it myself or hire a "paralegal service"?
You should never attempt to represent yourself on immigration matters. Furthermore, unlicensed paralegals and "notarios" prey upon and scam new immigrants on a daily basis. The California Attorney General's Office investigates and prosecutes known offenders and stops notario fraud from harming others. Additionally, the Unauthorized Practice of Law is a crime in the State of California.

When you have a case before the Immigration Court or the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you need a licensed attorney to assist you in your case. An attorney is crucial to assist you in presenting your case before an Immigration Judge or an Immigration Officer who is unfamiliar with your case. You need an advocate on your behalf to get through the bureaucracy which is the Federal Government. An attorney will be able to zealously represent your interests while protecting your rights and privileges as you face possible deportation or denial of your family's green card or visa petitions. Whether before the Immigration Court, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Offices or the Asylum Office, our attorneys are experienced litigators who have helped clients achieve positive results.

Our attorneys are licensed in California and specifically before the Executive Office of Immigration Review of the Department of Homeland Security. If you hire a paralegal service to prosecute your claims, when your case goes awry, your "paralegal service" is not held accountable for the outcome process of your case. 

6. How should I select a criminal defense attorney?
First and foremost, you should feel you can trust your attorney. In criminal cases, your defense attorney needs to know all of the facts in order to prepare your strongest defense. This means that you need to be able to talk to your attorney openly and honestly, knowing that he or she has your best interests at heart. To find the right lawyer, it may be necessary to meet with several different attorneys, and select the one that instills confidence in you and makes you feel comfortable.

Also, look for experience - specifically, trial experience. You need to know that your attorney can support you and stand by you, no matter what lies ahead. Our firm has served Oakland and the Bay Area for more than 35 years, becoming well-known and respected in the local legal community and amassing a wealth of litigation skills and effective defense strategies. We have experienced defense attorneys and former prosecutors reviewing your case and representing you at all stages of the criminal proceedings.

7. What are my rights if I am arrested or accused of a crime?
Every person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty, which means the burden is on the prosecutor and the state to prove your guilt. Accordingly, you never have to prove your innocence--you are not required to testify or call witnesses at a trial. If you are charged with a criminal offense, you have the right to:

  • A public trial by judge or jury
  • An attorney, including a court-appointed attorney if you cannot afford to hire one
  • Remain silent
  • Cross-examine your accusers
  • Testify (but only if you want to)
  • To compel witnesses to testify on your behalf
  • Appeal a conviction to a higher court such as the Court of Appeals

Additionally, if you are charged with a felony offense, the prosecutor must prove probable cause that you committed the offenses that you are charged with, either by Preliminary Hearing or by Grand Jury. The prosecutor must then prove to the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt - the highest legal court standard.

At Wong, Chang & Yang LLP, we take the rights of our clients very seriously. Please call us at (510) 451-2124 if you have been injured or charged with a crime.