We offer a free initial consultation of up to 1/2 hour, to give us both a chance to see if we are the right lawyers for you. One of the first discussions will be about attorneys’ fees.
There are basically three types of attorneys’ fee arrangements:
- Fixed fee — for most criminal cases, we will agree on a fixed fee. This is a fee that will be the same, no matter whether we go to court once or five times for you. The amount of the fee will be based on the amount of time and effort that we expect to spend on the case, but if we solve your problem to your satisfaction with a lot less effort, you don’t get a refund. By the same token, if the case turns out to require more time and effort than we had expected, we won’t come back to you and ask for more money. For misdemeanors and traffic offenses, we expect that the fee will be paid in full before we begin work. For felony representation that will be lasting for many months, with perhaps more than one court to go to, we may work out arrangements with you concerning payment of the fee. If you have just been arrested on a felony case, and you have to go first to the District Court, it may be hard to foresee how much work will ultimately be involved. So we may work out an agreement for the District Court only, and NOT make an agreement for the Circuit Court until we are done with the District Court. For example, if we are able to work out a plea to a misdemeanor, or if we are able to get the case dismissed in the District Court, we would never have to charge you for representation in the Circuit Court at all. Once we have been through the preliminary hearing in the District Court, you will probably have a pretty good idea of whether you will be pleading guilty in the Circuit Court, or seeking a jury trial. After the preliminary hearing we will both have some idea of the amount of work that we will likely have to do, and we can then work out an agreement for the Circuit Court representation based on that understanding.
- Hourly rate — we charge for most civil litigation, including most domestic relations matters, on an hourly rate. We will expect you to pay a retainer that we will charge against as we earn the fee. If the retainer is used up, we will expect you to replenish the retainer. If we solve your problem to your satisfaction before we use up the retainer, we will refund the balance to you.
- Contingency fee — in personal injury cases, we will usually work on a 1/3 contingency fee. That means that we would be paid 1/3 of your recovery as our fee. We also ask for a retainer to cover non-attorney costs — filing fees, expert witness fees, court reporter charges. If you received a $10,000 settlement in a car accident case, for example, and we had a contract for a 1/3 contingency fee, we would be paid $3,333.33 when the case settled. If you receive no recovery, we get no attorney’s fee (though we may be entitled to be reimbursed for expenses incurred). Obviously, when we talk to clients about taking a case on a contingency fee, we will screen the case carefully. If we don’t think we can win the case, or if we don’t think we can recover because the other person has no money or insurance coverage, we will decline the case. We are not permitted by ethical rules to take most domestic relations or criminal cases on a contingency fee.
Our standard contract calls for the client to be responsible for all costs — filing fees, court reporter fees, travel, expert witnesses, etc. We expect the client to pay the costs as they are incurred.
We are happy to accept payment by VISA or MasterCard.