In some cases our firm will charge a flat or fixed fee. A flat fee is a dollar amount that the attorney and the client agree upon for specified services. The attorney identifies the amount of work that the case will require and calculates a reasonable fee based on the time and effort involved. Thus, the fixed fee is based on the services to be rendered, their complexity, and the value of the services to the client. Once set, fixed fees do not increase. Additional fees are charged only to pay for services not included in the original agreement. Generally the fixed fee or flat fee requires payment in advance for representation. However, in some cases our firm may break down the payments into stages, with payment being required prior to the beginning of each stage.
Our office offers a free one-half hour initial consultation. The initial consultation allows our office and the potential client to get to know one another to determine if the representation is right for both parties. Clients are seeking a service rather than a product, and hiring an attorney is an important decision. Our firm offers the free consultation to discuss the case with potential clients to enable them to decide whether to hire our firm. But note—the free consultation is NOT “free legal advice.” Our legal malpractice insurance carrier insists that before we provide any advice that should be relied upon, that there must be an attorney-client relationship.
During the initial consultation our firm will discuss whether the issue is one that the potential client can work out on his/her own or if an attorney is needed. If our firm is needed for representation, the cost of representation will be discussed during the initial consultation. As with all litigation, outcomes are uncertain and the work to produce the desired outcome is unpredictable. An initial quote is only an estimate. Our firm will work diligently to keep client costs down while providing zealous representation to our clients.
Our standard contract calls for the client to be responsible for all costs—filing fees, process service fees, court reporter fees, travel, expert witnesses, copying expenses, etc. We expect the client to pay the costs as they are incurred.
Our firm bills clients as needed to inform them as to where their trust account stands. The bill allows the client to know what has been done in the case. Bills will reflect the retainer amount held by the firm in our trust account, trust account deposits, amounts deducted from the retainer in payment of attorneys fees, and the outstanding balance (if any) owed. Clients will receive an invoice even if the retainer covers the amount earned by our firm.
Our firm offers fees that are reasonable, and we offer flexible payment plans and options. We accept the major credit cards of MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. We believe in providing high quality legal representation with reasonable fees.
Evans Law Firm, PLLC offers a free initial consultation of one-half hour for services provided in the practice areas of family law, tax law, wills and estates, criminal law, consumer law, and other civil litigation in both state and federal courts. This consultation allows the potential client and our firm to make a determination as to whether or not representation by our firm is right for both parties. Choosing an attorney is an important decision, and one of the first discussions that our office has with potential clients is about payment for services.
Since fees vary depending upon the circumstances of the case, our firm will discuss the fee after obtaining necessary information during the initial consultation. Our firm uses the payment methods of (1) billable hourly fee and (2) flat/fixed fee. The type of payment method is determined on a case-by-case basis after consultation. With either approach, the services and billing method are agreed upon by the client and our firm in a written agreement.
In most cases our firm will charge by the hour for services provided. Basically, the client is charged for the lawyer time expended on the case. The billing rate is determined by the overall costs of doing business, experience in the matter, the complexity of the case, the anticipated time required to resolve the case, and many other factors. Time is billed in tenths of an hour for attorney services including research, writing, conferences, document review, court and other trials and hearings, depositions, telephone calls, and the like.
Our firm will we require for a retainer/deposit to be paid in billable hourly fee cases. A retainer/deposit is money given to an attorney and held in trust, or deposited into a special bank account called a Trust Account. Our firm then bills against the retainer/deposit as work is completed in the case. Thus, as attorney fees are earned they will be charged against the retainer/deposit. The retainer/deposit amount quoted may not necessarily cover the entire cost of the case. If the retainer/deposit is depleted, the client will be required to replenish the retainer/deposit and/or pay the balance due beyond the expenses the retainer/deposit covered. If our firm resolves the matter before the retainer/deposit is used in full, we will refund the balance of the retainer/deposit.
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