We are dedicated to rendering high quality legal services at reasonable costs. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve our efficiency. Nevertheless, the cost of legal fees can be substantial. You can frequently reduce those costs by gathering facts and documents for us and, when possible, doing other work at our request.
Handling Work Flow
When doing client work, we seek to avoid telephone interruptions so the matter gets our undivided attention. Your call may be referred to the attorney’s assistant, who will take routine information, make appointments, or answer questions not requiring legal advice. Your attorney will try to return calls requiring legal advice within 24 hours. Your attorney may ask other attorneys and staff to work together as a team in order to provide you better and more timely legal services.
Estimating Legal Costs
Because legal work may involve unanticipated problems, often we cannot give a precise estimate of the time required to perform a particular legal service at the outset. You may be given an estimated cost range. When you receive your monthly statement you should let us know if you believe the fees charged exceed what you anticipated, so your attorney can adjust future efforts in accordance with your expectations.
Most work performed is on an hourly fee basis. The time is posted daily to a computerized billing system. Current hourly fees range from $200 to $350, depending on the attorney doing the work. This rate may be adjusted up or down depending on the complexity of the matter, the results obtained, and the frequency with which such matters are handled by the firm. The hourly fee covers actual attorney time plus general overhead costs associated with operating a law office. Our current hourly fee for paralegals and assistants is $125. Paralegal work may include such things as preparing various court pleadings and discovery documents and summarizing medical records, case facts, damages, and depositions. All paralegal work is done under the direction of an attorney. All hourly rates are subject to future adjustments.
Since each attorney spends a substantial portion of the day on the telephone, it is necessary to bill for time spent on telephone calls. If we did not do this, our fees would have to be substantially increased, resulting in an unfair allocation of billed time to clients.
Monthly Statements And Client Disbursements
We bill on a monthly basis regardless of whether or not your matter has been resolved. This enables you to monitor the progress of your case and alert us to any budget issues. Each monthly statement is due in full upon receipt unless other arrangements are made. After 60 days, interest accrues on the outstanding balance at 12% per annum. At 90 days, we will no longer perform new work on your matter until your account is brought current.
In addition to attorney time, your statement will reflect cost disbursements made in your behalf. These out-of-pocket disbursements vary according to the nature of the work performed, but may include a monthly fee for access to computerized legal research, extraordinary postage, copy and long distance telephone charges, travel costs, pre-paid court fees, fees paid to appraisers, title companies, actuaries, etc. Disbursements of $250 or more will not be paid by the firm. These will be forwarded onto you for payment.
If you have any questions about billing procedures, costs of anticipated work, or the amount of any statement you have received, please discuss it with us. Good communication in this area is just as important as good communication concerning the legal work.