I get paid for providing legal services. My “stock-in-trade” as the saying goes, is my time, and my expertise. When you engage my services, you are gaining not only the time that I devote to your matter or cause, but also the benefit of my years of experience and education.
I do provide pro-bono and discounted legal services to non-profit organizations, however, I select the recipients of those donated services very carefully. If you wish to be considered for such services, contact me.
I get paid in four different ways: (1) hourly; (2) flat fee; (3) on a contingency; or (4) a combination. Contingency matters will normally require a non-refundable retainer and payment of case-related expenses in advance. Be aware, however, because of the nature of the legal services I normally provide, contingency-based fees are very rare.
To jump to the hourly and flat fee schedules, use the following links:
After brief initial introduction, all payments are due in advance for flat rate services. For hourly services, a retainer amount in advance is required. In addition, you are responsible for all expenses that I incur on your behalf.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you offer free consultations?
Yes and no. I offer free consultations to current clients on new matters. I may offer free consultations to people who are referred by clients and friends. It is best to ask when we schedule our meeting if the consultation will be free. Unless we agree otherwise, expect that payment will be required at my normal hourly rate.
How much is my matter going to cost?
You are expecting a straight answer and I have to say: “It depends.”. For some matters that I do routinely, like corporate formation, real estate transactions, wills and trusts and tax exempt entity formation and application to the IRS, I only charge a flat fee. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is simply not always possible to tell everyone what their fee will be in advance. After some research into the matter, we may be able to agree on a flat fee amount but sometimes, it is impossible to know how much time will be expended on a matter.
How will the fee be determined?
Except in the case of flat fees as described above, your fees will be charged largely on a time and effort basis. I will keep track on a computer of what I do on your matter and how long it takes, and you will be billed accordingly on a monthly basis. Some cases present emergencies that require us to interrupt other work, or involve complicated financial circumstances or assets that present increased responsibility, or involve unusually complicated legal issues. These might result in an adjustment to the fees.
Will you be giving me an estimate of the amount of fees in advance?
Perhaps, but even if we do give you an estimate at the outset of agreeing to handle your matter, it is not a firm estimate and unless we agree upon a flat fee, the amount could be quite different from the estimate.
Sometimes I have relatively little control over the amount of time and effort a “typical” matter consumes.
Do you charge more for going to Court?
Sometimes, but it will all be spelled out in your fee agreement. The practice of law in a courtroom is a highly developed skill, which involves not only education and training, but a lot of hard-earned experience as well.
Why will I be charged for the time of legal assistants?
One of the ways in which we are able to reduce costs is by the use of legal assistants, sometimes called “paralegals.”
Will I be charged for telephone calls?
Yes, time is time. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as having said, “A lawyer’s time is his stock in trade.” If we are talking to you on the phone, we are working on your case and can’t be doing work for another client at the same time.
What is a “retainer fee” or “retainer” and how much is it?
A retainer fee is a deposit, or advance payment from you, which we will deposit into a separate trust account, against which we will charge our work in your matter and for which we will account to you monthly. We may, in some cases, later ask for an additional retainer if the original sum deposited turns out to be inadequate. We don’t have a standard set retainer rate. The amount of the retainer fee that we will request differs from case to case depending upon things like the anticipated complexity of the case, the amount of financial responsibility involved, the client’s ability to pay, the amount of work that must be done at the outset, etc..
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, I accept payment through my online portal, MyCase. When you become a client, you will be invited to log into the system.
Why will I be asked to sign a written retainer agreement?
Yes. This also addresses the State Board of Professional Responsibility for Lawyers requirement that the fees be disclosed in advance.
What if I can’t pay all of my fees when they are billed?
In certain extenuating circumstances, we may be able to work out an arrangement for payments over a reasonable period of time, while the matter is pending. Unpaid fees accrue interest at the rate of 18% per annum until paid unless we agree otherwise.
It is important, however, for you to work with me in such an event. I can be patient for clients who are genuinely in a temporarily difficult position and are willing to make very regular monthly payments.
Do you have any last words of wisdom on this subject?
In summary, please keep in mind that I am operating a private business. I regularly incur substantial rent, and other overhead expenses. Like most of you, I depend upon my income to house, feed, cloth, and educate my family. I must receive payment for the services that I perform.