We are proud of our reputation for accessibility by our clients. We recognize legal needs may arise suddenly. Access to an early appointment with a lawyer is often very important and puts our clients at ease. We strive to provide such access within 24 hours.
Telephone consultations are available. Our experienced and courteous staff is always available to describe our services, arrange a consultation with one of our lawyers and discuss our fee arrangements.
FOR THE FIRST MEETING
When first meeting with a lawyer we recommend that you bring with you all pertinent information about your problem such as letters, bills, contracts, accident reports or police reports. We also recommend that you bring names, telephone numbers, claim numbers or similar information that might apply to your problem. This is particularly important concerning witnesses to events that are important to the matter. We have found it very helpful for a client to prepare a written narrative or chronology of complex events or transactions. This helps our clients organize their thoughts about the matter and makes the meeting with the lawyer more effective and rewarding.
We try to promptly return all phone calls. Sometimes a lawyer may be in court or meeting with other clients and may be unable to timely return a call. We hope our clients feel free to call back and discuss the matter with our staff. Oftentimes our staff can provide answers to questions on a more timely basis. We encourage our clients to call again if for some reason a call was not returned.
From the beginning, we want to assure that our clients understand and our comfortable with our fee policies. Abraham Lincoln, a country trial lawyer long before he was our 16th President, observed that “A lawyer’s time is his stock in trade.”
The fee arrangement usually depends on the type of legal problem.
1. Contingent fees:
These are fees that are paid only in the event of a successful outcome. We enter into this type of fee agreement in cases such as insurance claims for injuries or property damages. In these types of cases we typically advance the costs of bringing the claim although the client remains responsible to reimburse those expenses usually out of any settlement. Free first interviews are available for most insurance claims.
2. Hourly fees:
This is a fee agreement where a pre-set hourly rate is charged for the time spent working on the problem. The problem may be a divorce, property line dispute, real estate transaction or any number of different legal matters. We try to give a reasonable estimate, if possible, of the potential costs of solving the particular legal problem. The hourly rates reflect the experience of the lawyer, the nature of the problem, and the cost of maintaining a law office with staff, technology and supplies. When faced with a legal problem we encourage our clients to consider budgeting a particular amount for legal expenses depending on the importance of the matter at hand.
3. Flat fees:
Sometimes we are able to perform a certain legal service for a set fee, determined in advance. We commonly prepare wills and trusts for a flat fee. We may also agree with a particular client to handle a court matter such as a driving under the influence ticket for a flat fee.
Retainers are down payments towards the attorney fee bills. In hourly or flat fee cases they are usually required depending on the nature of the case. Oftentimes a significant amount of the retainer will immediately be paid out to the court for filing fees, for example, or to an investigator or process server.
In a few limited situations a lawyer may agree to perform “unbundled” services. “Unbundling” means dividing comprehensive legal representation into a series of discrete tasks, only some of which the client contracts with the lawyer to perform. In other words, unbundling is about limiting the scope of a lawyer’s representation of a client to the areas or projects the client wants most.
Written Fee agreements: in most circumstances our clients sign a specific fee agreement that explains the financial relationship with us. We encourage questions about all the possible fee agreements that might be available.