We realize that our fees may be a vital concern to you. Please understand the only thing that we have to offer is our time and our legal advice. Naturally, we try to streamline the process of preparing documents for you, such as wills, trusts, employment contracts, and make physical appearances only when necessary in order to deliver the greatest value for you. However, much of what we do also involves giving advice, negotiating or advocating on behalf of our clients, and researching the law. This sometimes requires a significant amount of time to provide you with only a few words of advice. What may appear to you to be a short and simple document or verbal response, may actually require several hours of research and preparation. Since we recognize the intangible nature of this background work undertaken for our clients, we are always willing to discuss our fees with you.
Unless otherwise agreed in writing, you will be billed on an hourly basis for all of the time we spend working on your behalf; and, we may bill an additional fee based on various factors allowed by the ethics of our profession. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following: the time and labor required, novelty and difficulty of the legal issues involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly; the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer; the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services; the amount involved and the results obtained; the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances; the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client; the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
Our fees include charges for any office or telephone discussions that we have with you, including time spent during our initial consultations. After the first meeting, we may ask you sign the firm’s standard fee letter. We attempt to assign the client’s work in the most cost-effective manner; however, an attorney will supervise staff working on a client’s file. In addition, we may bill you for various costs and “out of pocket” expenses such as filing fees, photocopying services (including any copies of your file made by or for us at the termination of our employment as your attorney), faxing services, long distance telephone calls, and computerized legal research services, court reporters, appraisers, title examiners, and other experts.
We may request a retainer from you. Where required under the relevant jurisdiction’s rules, we will place this payment in our client trust or escrow account to be held as a deposit for your benefit. We reserve the right to apply the deposit against any statement for services or costs on any matter that you have entrusted to us.
Because of the nature of our practice, we rarely quote a fixed fee for any service; however, we are always willing to provide an estimate of the fees you will incur, as long as you understand that this is merely an estimate based on the facts which you have disclosed to us. As new facts are discovered or as you request additional services and consultations, this estimate will, of course, change.
We bill on the 14th and 28th of every month and expect prompt payment. All payments made by credit card will be subject to a three-percent (3%) processing fee.
How to keep legal fees to a minimum? You may reduce your total fees if you:
- Provide us with complete, accurate, and organized information and documentation;
- Take time to gain clarity about your objectives in the transaction before the project begins;
- Avoid having to rush to get the project completed; and
- Respond promptly to requests for information, approval, and execution of documents, as delays necessitate follow up measures which take additional time.
Remember, we have established these policies for our fees and charges in order to address pertinent issues in every attorney-client relationship. In addition, we want to provide consistency in the decision making process for our mutual benefit. We have found that frank and candid discussions answer most questions so please do not hesitate to call us as soon as questions arise.