About Joseph Stine Law
Joseph Stine Law specializes in real estate law, local government, and business-related legal issues. Joe has practiced law in California for over 35 years and worked in northern San Diego County since the mid-1980s.
Public Sector Attorney (14 years)
- Superior Court research attorney – working for judges, deputy district attorney prosecuting crime
- Assistant city attorney responsible for a wide range of municipal issues.
Private Sector Attorney
- Civil private practice with focus on real estate law, local government, and business-related legal issues
- Hold the highest ranking of “master” in the Lopardo Chapter of the American Inns of Court, a prestigious international association of legal professionals.
In August 2000, Joe left his position as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Oceanside to open a North County private law/ADR office. Since then Joe has focused on serving individuals and small businesses in northern San Diego County.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
Since the early 1990s, Joe has also mediated to settlement hundreds of civil disputes using individualized approaches suited to the needs of each particular case. Joseph Stine Law has been appointed as mediator by the San Diego Superior Court in over 400 civil cases. In addition, litigation attorneys have privately retain Joseph Stine Law to mediate disputes over real estate, business, personal injuries, inheritances, homeowners associations, and other matters. Joseph Stine Law is also periodically selected to arbitrate or otherwise hear evidence and make awards in a variety of contested civil claims, including public employee disability retirement applications.
Joe has regularly served with the San Diego Superior Court as a temporary judge presiding over small claims cases and as a settlement officer handling contracts, collections, and real estate actions. Joe served as the 2016 President of the 900-plus member North County Bar Association and I’m a member of Executive Committee of the Lopardo Chapter of the American Inns of Court. Community involvement includes serving as a trustee for the San Dieguito Union High School District (2003-04), and as board member and president for the La Costa Valley Homeowners Association (2005-2008).
Joe is the eldest son of a successful contractor and businessman who grew up in Encinitas during the 1960s. Joe is married and lives with his wife in Carlsbad. He also has two college-educated daughters in their mid-twenties. He is also an accomplished tri-athlete regularly competing in San Diego County sprint level competitions.
At one time or another, you may be involved in a dispute over money, business, or real estate. Someone refuses to pay what is owed to you, damages your business, or prevents you from fully enjoying your home. You object to a demand made against you by a private attorney or public agency. Sometimes the demand threatens litigation if you don’t do as instructed.
My practice is dedicated to providing effective, affordable legal service to individuals and businesses which have civil claims or have claims brought against them. If you are a claimant, I can objectively evaluate the merits of your claim, optimal strategies for pursuing it, and the probable costs associated with each strategy. You can then make an informed decision as whether and, if so, how to proceed. In many cases, I can represent you in moving forward on the claim in an aggressive, yet cost effective manner.
If a claim is made against you, I can explain your potential liability and any possible defenses that could reduce, if not eliminate, your exposure. For claims without legal merit, a vigorous defense and possible counterclaim are generally advisable. For claims with possible merit, I can alert you to strategies for limiting your risk of loss, protecting your interests, and promoting a negotiated resolution without burdensome, protracted litigation.
I believe that in civil disputes legal action should be used sparingly and only as a last resort. Abraham Lincoln was right when he advised attorneys to be cautious about filing lawsuits to resolve commonplace conflicts. Lincoln’s words are as important today in twenty-first century California as they were when he spoke them as a lawyer practicing in nineteenth century Illinois. People with basic money or property claims are typically ill-prepared and often not well-served by litigation. In many cases, they are better off reaching a fair, reasonable accommodation with an adverse party rather than investing substantial resources in a lengthy lawsuit. They need an attorney who can effectively advocate for them, develop viable legal options for resolution of their dispute, and negotiate a good settlement that serves their interests.
My style of law practice places a premium on finding solutions to legal problems before a lawsuit is filed and, if there is litigation, continuing to explore settlement possibilities while aggressively representing the client in court. In many instances, I have resolved conflicts over money, business, and real estate without a lawsuit. In litigated cases, I have had considerable success in negotiating settlements acceptable to clients without the expense and risk of trial.
In sum, my philosophy of law practice is to vigorously advocate in support of the client’s legal position while keeping an open dialogue with attorneys representing opposing parties on possible approaches for settling the dispute.
What To Expect
My law practice is dedicated to providing a wide range of effective, affordable legal service to individuals as well as small to mid-sized businesses in civil matters. I concentrate on legal matters related to contracts, local government, and real estate. Most of my clients retain me to handle special assignments on an ad hoc basis. Other clients, typically businesses or associations, engage me to provide legal counsel and represent them on a continuing basis.
If you have a legal question of concern, you are invited to call or email me for a complimentary initial review. If it involves an area of practice referenced on my Homepage, I typically will invite you to the office for an initial consultation in order to provide a more definitive evaluation and assessment. (When an office consultation is not practical, I may be able to assist you by telephone or email.) In the consultation, I listen to your concerns about money, property, agreements, or litigation, examine the facts, analyze relevant documents, evaluate your rights and duties, and suggest appropriate legal options. When appropriate, I offer to contact opposing parties or their counsel, prepare legal documents, respond to civil complaints, or provide other legal services as needed.
- Services are generally provided on an hourly fee basis. In most instances, clients are asked to provide a deposit retainer that is placed in a trust account to pay for anticipated legal expenses. Account statements are mailed to the client detailing the charges incurred during the prior month. Client affairs are handled in a confidential, business-like, yet personal manner. Fees are offered at rates that are typically less than those charged for similar services by large law firms with high overhead costs of practice.
- Every effort is made to kept clients fully and timely advised of the status of all legal services. Copies of important documents are routinely sent to them. Phone call and email inquiries are promptly answered. The client is provided “straight answers”, in plain English, to all questions and concerns. The lines of communication are always open so that the client can make an informed decision on the best course of action.
- My clients generally have limited financial resources to dedicate to their legal concern. Every effort is to prudently allocate these resources in the most cost effective manner. A premium is placed on settling client disputes as soon as possible before legal services become prohibitively expensive for them. Document review, drafting, and negotiation services also are provided at affordable fees estimated at the time of my retention.
Education & Credentials
1970 – 72
Attended University of California, San Diego
1972 – 74
Attended University of California, Santa Barbara
Graduated B.A., Political Science (high honors)
1974 – 77
Attended University of San Diego, School of Law
Associations & Memberships
“We had the good fortune of selecting Joe Stine to represent us in a non-disclosure issue regarding the purchase of our home. We were seeking compensation from the seller for costly repairs because seller did not disclose the history of the defects in the home. Joe “knows the ropes” on disclosure cases and confidently led us toward an amicable settlement. Very experienced and professional, Joe is an honest and amiable man of good character possessing integrity and fairness. We cannot thank him enough.”
Don & Mary Lahey
“We just wanted to express our big thanks to you. We could not have resolved this issue without your expertise and professional guidance. We were unaware of the temporary water site agreement that was made between the original owner of our house and the city irrigation district. The water district was asking us to pay so they can move the water main on to our property. We sent several letters and made phone calls to the title company, but they did not show any interests to even discuss this issue. Both my husband and I felt that we needed professional help whose expertise in real estate law. We found you on the lawyer’s website, we liked that fact you have dealt with numerous local real estates problems. You were very genuine and easy to talk to, made us very comfortable in the office. We also appreciated that you were very clear about your service fee, no hidden fees or surprises. With your involvement, the title company realized their oversight of checking county records which led to pay out almost entire fee for the relocation of water main on to our property. We were very happy with the outcome, especially we were able to avoid long process of arbitration. We feel that our weight have been lifted, no more nagging headaches. Again, thank you very much for your help.”
Tim & Rumiko Harkness
Joseph Stine has been our attorney for nearly 5 years in a bitter and prolonged battle over an easement access to acreage we own in the hills near Murrieta. His legal skills have been flawless. He has been a constant and righteous defender of our legitimate rights, leading us through a bitterly fought battle to a final victory this year. He is honest, capable and thoroughly knowledgeable in all aspects of land and easement rights, property disputes and real estate issues. He never gives in, and he never gives up.
David and Margaret Molthen
We had the good fortune of selecting Joe Stine to represent us in a non-disclosure issue regarding the purchase of our home. We were seeking compensation from the seller for the costly repairs because the seller did not disclose the history of the defects in the home.
Joe “knows the ropes” on disclosure cases and confidently led us toward a fair and acceptable settlement. Very experienced and professional, Joe is an honest and amiable man of good character possessing integrity and fairness. We cannot thank him enough.
Don & Mary
I’ve used Joe Stine for over 10 years for my corporate legal advice as well as for my personal legal needs. I have always found Joe’s advice to be professional, comprehensive and prompt. The #1 quality that I appreciate about Joe is his integrity. His honesty and frankness is refreshing. I’ve worked with other lawyers who will take a small project and make it into a big, expensive drain. Not Joe. Joe’s understand’s scope restrictions and provides concise and highly value add advice to my legal questions. Joe is also personable and approachable. I highly recommend Joe and look forward to continuing to use Joe’s services for years to come.
Joseph is a San Diego native and has practiced law for 39 years specializing in Real Estate, Business and Civil Litigation. He also served as the 2016 President of the North County Bar Association.