How Legal Fees Work at Our Firm
Investing in legal representation is an important decision. So it’s important that you understand how legal fees work at our firm.
Trust Account: Where your money sits
When you make a deposit, the money goes into a client trust account. The initial deposit depends on the nature and complexity of the case and includes enough money for the work immediately ahead and also some extra money in the event more work is required.
When you deposit money in trust, the money is yours, not ours. As we do work on the case, we send you invoices detailing the work we did, the amount of time spent on it, the cost, and that money is paid to the firm out of the trust account.
Flat Fees & Hourly Billing
We use a combination of flat fees and hourly billing.
We bill flat fees for documents and uncontested divorces; you will get a list up front of the documents and costs. And we also may bill flat fees for certain events, such as hearings or meetings with the other side, if the time and work are predictable.
The majority of the time, we use hourly billing because experience has taught us it’s the fairest way to bill. For example, there may be a lull in your case and we’re waiting for a court order or waiting for the other side to respond to our requests. During that down-time, it doesn’t make sense for you to be paying us. On the other hand, if things unfortunately blow up (let’s hope not!), and your case needs more time and attention, we’re there for you, and hourly billing reflects that time and work.
Hourly rates are based on our team members’ skill and experience. Once your legal team members are assigned, you will have information about their respective hourly rates.
How much does this cost overall?
You may be wondering, “What is the total cost?”
There’s a spectrum of costs. And the total cost of your case depends on the time and work necessary to resolve it.
On one end of the spectrum, you have cases that are resolved quickly and efficiently. We do our best to work around the court system, get you as close to your goals as efficiently as possible, and minimize the amount you have to spend on legal fees. If there’s money left over in trust at the end of your case, we will refund it back to you.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are cases that take much longer and require more work to resolve.
How much your case costs total depends on where your case falls on this spectrum. How reasonable is the other party and attorney? Are they willing to be fair and work with us, or will they make everything difficult? How complex are the issues? How many hearings will it require to resolve the case? These and other factors impact cost.
If you run out of money in trust, we will discuss with you what the issues are, the next steps, and anticipated costs.
You are in Full Control on Spending
The key is that we operate on complete transparency and we keep spending control in your hands. Every step of the way, we do a cost-benefit analysis with you to ensure you’re making the right decisions. We’ll talk about any issue that might be contested, how important that issue is to you, what we think the chances are of winning on that issue if we go before a mediator or judge, and approximately how much it will cost – not just financially, but also in the time and effort you’ll have to put into it.
This ensures that you’re making educated decisions every step of the way about what is and isn’t worth pursuing so that you get the best return on your investment.
Money Back Guarantee
We also offer a guarantee. If you make a deposit, and within a week, you change your mind, as long as we have not officially committed to representing you in court and there hasn’t been extensive work done on your case because a serious issue came up, we’re happy to refund you your whole retainer. We offer this guarantee, because we’re confident you’ll be happy with the service.
How do legal fees work in divorce?