It is my goal to provide legal services in a way that clients will return to my office for advice on other matters. So far, I have been very fortunate. I will look on my career as a successful one if most of my clients return or at least continue to send me cards and jokes on my email long after their case is over.
For any work that I do, I detail the cost of that particular service in a fee agreement so that is clear how I charge and precisely what services I am providing. All of my retainers go into a trust account and are refundable at their request of the client. That means that the monies I get up-front for a case are safe and always belong to the client until earned. After I am retained, I keep costs down by utilizing my paralegal and contract attorney assistance when that is appropriate as well as involving the client in preparing their case (based on their desire and ability to do so). I provide detailed monthly bills so that clients can keep track of how their money is being spent and I am always available to answer any questions on bills.
When clients cannot afford to retain me, I offer legal consulting services so that they are still able to get legal advice on an as-needed basis, which allows them to pay as they go at our hourly rate.
Recovering Attorneys Fees
If I can offset fees and costs through attorney fee provisions in statutes, I do so.
Paid Work vs. Sliding Scale and Pro Bono
I do some sliding scale and pro bono (free) work on a case-by-case basis. However, I can’t provide legal services on a wholesale basis and I have to insist on being paid for my work most of the time.
Commonly Asked Questions
Why is legal work so expensive?
Legal services are quite expensive because we have high overhead for staff, office space and equipment. Younger attorneys are also repaying law school loans. Much of the hourly fee you pay is going towards those things, not just the attorney’s time and skills.
Additionally, for many cases, it takes a certain amount of time for the attorney to understand the facts of your case, do necessary research and communicate with the people involved to resolve the issue. Without investing that time, the attorney risks not understanding a pivotal fact or law or may not have reached the best solution to the case.
How can I save money on my legal bill?
You can cut down on your costs by organizing the information for your attorney when you first come in so that they do not spend unnecessary time in obtaining the information or sorting through it. Additionally, if you are feeling emotional about an issue, collect your thoughts so that you do not spend more time than necessary conveying your information on the phone or in a meeting.
* For examples, we do bankruptcies and wills flat fee. However, we can’t do divorces flat fee as that is not permitted by law.
** A contingency fee is a percentage of the total settlement or award. Disability cases are done contingency fee as required by Social Security Law (25% of back benefits but no more than $6,000). Divorces cannot be done contingency fee because it is not permitted by law.
***Pro bono means that legal services are provided at no cost to the client. The client typically pays any costs associated with the case, such as photocopying records.