Setting legal fees is not always an exact science. I try to calculate how much time it is going to take to handle your case and set the fee accordingly. Many times it is not possible to understand or foresee all of the possibilities in a case when first setting the fee. That is why I, along with most other attorneys in this particular field, use what is referred to as a retainer. The purpose of a retainer is to obtain what we project will be the minimum amount of funds necessary to complete your case. Many times once the retainer is paid, it is determined that no additional fees are required. Other times the fee may need to be expanded due to the need for various forensic experts or investigators. Examples of such expert witnesses are experts in the field of serology, mental health, computer data retrieval, DNA , depending on the characteristics of your particular case. Whichever the case, no additional fees will be accessed without your knowledge, and no expert witness fees will be expended without first obtaining authority from you. The result of this type of fee setting is beneficial for both the client and the attorney. The attorney by receiving initial funding for the case and the client by having the authority to agree or disagree on any additional expenditures.
As stated above, your retainer is the minimum calculated fee for us to accept your case. The overal fee is the amount of money generally calculated to bring your case to its conclusion at the trial level. In many instances the retainer is sufficitent to serve as the full fee.
You are entitled to the attorney of your choice. Therefore, anytime you wish to retain another attorney that is your absolute right. If you choose to change attorneys prior to the litigation in your case being concluded, you will be billed for the time that my staff and I have in your case to that date against your retainer and the remainder will be returned to you. My hourly rate is $250.00 per hour. My paralegal’s time is billed at $45.00 per hour.
Most forms of litigation are resolved without a trial. Criminal law is no exception. In most instances, your case can be successfully resolved to your satisfaction without actually empaneling a jury. However, in many cases trials are necessary. Therefore, additional fees may depend on whether or not your case actually goes to trial. That is, more fees may be accessed when a trial actually occurs. Again, these arrangements can be discussed and decided upon prior to your signing a contract or a letter of agreement for our representation.
The contract I presently use calls for a specific retainer. My practice is to represent my client from the beginning until the end of the litigation for which we have been retained. In rare cases when we feel additional funding is necessary, or when the litigation requires the expenditures listed above you will be contacted to discuss the need for additional fees. At any rate if we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your case and legal fees, free of charge. Only after you have decided that our Firm is right for you and have executed a contract, will you be accessed any legal fees whatsoever.