Accomplishing the goals of our clients usually requires more than knowledge of the rules of law, it requires an understanding of the client, its personnel, its products and services and its strengths and weaknesses. It also requires adequate staffing and attention to the cost of legal services. As a small firm, we have lower overhead. Consequently, our rates are considerably lower than the "big" firms. However, even small law firms can be expensive to most budgets. We understand your concerns.
Most importantly, our firm charges for services based on the level of experience and skill required. We recognize the difference between those transactions where significant levels of experience are required and where the work is important but much more routine, requiring less experience. We price transactions accordingly and do our best to delegate work to the most capable person at the lowest billing rate. When evaluating your case, we will do our best to provide you an estimate of the total cost. For some matters, we can estimate costs easily; for others, fees will be more unpredictable because litigation is involved.
We have several standard arrangements within which most client work will fit. We are happy to discuss your questions and concerns.
Hourly with Retainer
In most cases, a retainer (deposit) is set based on the amount of work we predict will be necessary for a particular legal action, or for legal work over a period of time. The retainer is deposited into an attorney trust account. Hourly fees for legal work and costs are charged against your balance each month, and a detailed statement of the work performed is provided to you. Retainers are set by Managing Attorney Joan M. Swartz.
Certain types of work we perform on a fixed fee basis. This type of fee arrangement is best suited to single transactions, such as estate planning or creating a new business entity.
Attorneys and staff bill hourly for your work in segments of .20 hours. Rates are discussed in advance and written into your engagement letter. You have access to your attorney for advice and do not have funds tied up in an annual or monthly retainer arrangement. Monthly payments are due 10 days after billing.
On occasion other fee arrangements are considered, such as a contingency, where the firm is paid a certain percentage of any settlement or award from the court (typically 33% to 50%) and the client receives the remainder. Contingency arrangements are considered on a case-by-case basis. Many cases are not conducive to contingency fee arrangements. This is a higher risk fee arrangement, as such we use it when success is likely and there are funds to pay any judgment or settlement, like insurance money or a well-funded company.