Are all law firms and attorneys able to do the same work?
Unfortunately, the age of the viable general legal practitioner is coming to an end and we are entering an age of specialization. As the speed of life, business ,and information have increased the practice of law has become infinitely more complex. New law is being created daily and the global impact caused by local changes in law is becoming more and more apparent. It has become nearly impossible for any one attorney to keep up with all areas and complexities of the law and strategies related thereto, and that is why it is so important for any client to find a law firm that fits his or her specific needs.
How will I know which attorney is best for me and my situation?
At our law firm, due to the level of specialization each attorney has, your potential choices for a particular matter are limited to those practicing in the appropriate practice group. You will find, however, that there are a variety of personalities to choose from in each practice group so you can meet with a few of the attorneys and determine which fits your personality the best. If you find a lawyer that you love to work with but you have a legal matter of a type that he or she doesn’t handle then you can be assured that your lawyer will help you to find a complimentary personality to work with in another practice group. In any case, you should always feel free to contact any lawyer you enjoyed working with to address any questions or concerns.
How will I be kept informed of my case?
Our lawyers understand the importance of communication and transparency between an attorney and each and every client. Therefore, we strive to communicate with each client however they feel it is best to communicate, and we do so as often as reasonable considering budgetary constraints and other factors. Legal matters, lawsuits especially, have a way of stretching out over extended periods of time and clients often feel anxious and want to make sure everything that can be done is getting done. Receiving daily updates can prove very expensive for a client and may lead to additional frustration, so we strive to obtain balance with each client so that they are receiving timely information and know that their case is progressing according to a strategy.
What do I do when I have a question?
Our lawyers and paralegal staff are always interested in answering your questions so we want you to ask them. Because our attorneys run very tight schedules the vast majority of the time meeting with clients, doing research, drafting, and reviewing documents, preparing contracts, briefs or pleadings, sometimes the most efficient way to communicate with us is through a paralegal or legal assistant. If the paralegal or legal assistant cannot answer your question then you can be sure that every attempt will be made get the answer for you from one of the attorneys handling your case.
What will the legal service cost?
No matter what law firm you choose you should know that you are entitled to receive an estimate of what your fee will be for the work requested. Estimating the cost of a lawsuit is quite a bit more difficult than estimating the cost of a transactional matter, but our attorneys will make every effort to help you to understand what your legal budget should be for a situation. We always encourage a frank, open discussion about our legal fees with each client before representation begins and again on a regular basis as things progress.
What types of fees do lawyers generally charge?
Hourly fees: If you agree to have work done on an hourly fee basis then fees accrue at 1/10th of an hour intervals (6 minutes). A detailed invoice is sent to you each month and you are expected to pay the amount in full within 30 days of receiving the invoice. Unless otherwise agreed, the hourly fee basis will be the presumed fee arrangement.
Flat fee cases: If you have agreed to a flat fee for legal work then your legal fee is whatever you have agreed to with the firm, which amount is generally paid up-front.
Contingency fee cases: If a case is a contingency fee case then your legal fees will be based on the amount of recovery your lawyer obtains for you. In other words, if there is no recovery because your lawyer is unable to win the case then you do not pay any fee at all.
Our attorneys always try to keep legal fees as reasonable as possible and are always willing to discuss invoices with clients. Unfortunately, the amount of legal services required in a lawsuit is not fully within our control because there are so many avenues one can travel in litigation. Because this is the case we ask that clients always review their bills carefully and communicate with the firm whenever they are concerned about something.
Are there litigation costs or out-of-pocket expenses that are different than legal fees?
In addition to the legal fees the attorneys and staff charge for, there are various expenses that often must be paid in order to prepare and prosecute a legal matter. For example, there are costs associated with obtaining reports or copies of documents, to employ court reporters during depositions, to pay court costs and filing fees, to obtain licenses or permits from governmental authorities, each of which might be necessary for a case. Generally, these expenses depend on the complexity of the matter, but sometimes very simple matters have very significant expenses.
What about money to be held “in trust” to pay for legal fees?
Most law firms charge what is often call a “retainer fee” which is money paid by a client at the beginning of a matter to secure payment of legal fees. Our law firm maintains a separate account for all such funds and at no time is money from that account co-mingled with general funds. At the end of representation, or the end of the particular case the retainer is associated with, our law firm refunds whatever amount is left after all of the invoices have been paid.