How our legal fees are determined
Our firm was established in 1979. Since that time we have established a practice unlike most firms in our area. Our clientele is generally comprised of individuals, businesses, professionals, entrepreneurs, developers and other organizations for whom we have been providing legal services on different matters for many years. We pride ourselves on the continuing relationships we have been able to establish with new and continuing clients.
We look forward to working with you with respect to all legal services that we have been asked to provide. Before doing so, however, it is important to explain, if not reiterate, how our legal fees are determined. This is good business practice because it ensures that there are no questions or concerns with respect to any fees or disbursements that will be charged.
Our Fee Policy is established in order to give you general information concerning how we will be billing for the legal services to be rendered for you or your organization. We reserve the right to change our billing policies from time to time. However, we are happy to discuss with you this Fee Policy, the progress of your matter as well as the fees that have been incurred to date at any time during our representation.
Unless otherwise agreed upon in advance, our legal fees are generally billed based on an hourly rate that has been established for each attorney and legal professional within our office. Our attorneys’ hourly rates are based on each attorney’s experience, skill and expertise in his or her field of practice and are available to you upon request. Our paralegals are also professionals who have experience and established skills in specific areas of practice.
While working with you, we will strive to provide our services on a cost efficient basis. We will, therefore, utilize the services of paralegals in those situations where we deem it appropriate in order to provide competent legal services at as reasonable a cost as possible.
It is our standard policy to request a retainer amount that will be credited to your account at the time we are first retained to provide certain legal services on your behalf. The amount of each retainer will depend upon the complexity of the matter involved and the estimated amount of time to be spent prior to its finalization. During the time we are providing these services, fees will be credited against this retainer as reflected on the periodic billing statement you will receive. As the retainer diminishes, we will generally request that your retainer account be restored before proceeding. Upon completion of a matter for which we have been retained, any unused portion of the retainer will be returned to you.
Upon request, we will provide you with an estimated cost of all services we consider likely, to the extent possible. However, it is important to understand that in many cases the time required is beyond our control or unable to be fairly estimated in advance. For example, in matters which may lead to the commencement or the defense of a legal action it is difficult if not impossible to estimate in advance the amount of time that might be involved. Similarly, in commercial transactions it is difficult to estimate how much time will need to be spent by our office in negotiating and closing the transaction. Each different matter depends on variables difficult to predict in advance. In these cases and other similar matters, we will be happy to provide you with a general estimate based upon our experience as well as a periodic statement as to the actual time and fee expended to date. This will give both of us the ability to monitor each project as it progresses.
In some situations we may agree in advance to a fixed fee for services to be rendered. However, even in this case, the fee is based on our estimate of the time involved in bringing the matter to closure. Even in this instance, if additional time is required which is beyond our control, it will be billed based upon our hourly billing policy.
In many matters it is necessary for our office to incur additional expenses in providing legal services to you. Some expenses including court costs and related expenses such as investigative reports, deposition and expert witness fees will be requested in advance. In other cases where it is necessary to incur or pay disbursements rendered on your behalf, these will be billed to you. Disbursements for which you will be responsible may include the following:
Filing fees for documentation filed in the local, state or federal offices
Computer legal research expenses
Overnight courier services, messenger and unusual postage fees
Long distance telephone and telefax charges
Invoices for Fees and Expenses
We typically bill on a monthly basis for services provided to date. Payment is due upon your receipt of our invoice unless other written arrangements have been made in advance. As a convenience, Visa, MasterCard and American Express may be used for all payments on our billing statements. From and after April 1, 2001, amounts not paid within 30 days will incur a Monthly Finance Charge of 1.5% calculated from the date the bill was rendered (18% annual rate).
We strive to provide each of our clients with the highest quality of services at the most cost efficient basis possible. While we look forward to working with you toward the successful conclusion of any matter for which we have been retained, you are, of course, entitled to terminate our services at any time by giving notice to us. Similarly, we retain the right to terminate our relationship at any time, although in doing so, we are bound to comply with the professional ethical standards established for attorneys. At any time that our services are terminated for any reason either by you or us, our fees, out of pocket expenses and disbursements incurred to date are immediately due and payable.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.