Paying legal fees can often feel like throwing money into a pit. This is because you are buying intangibles - experience, judgment, knowledge, creativity - and not tangible property, like a car. Moreover, much of what lawyers do, like a director making a film, ends up on the cutting room floor. There are often multiple drafts of contracts, memos, briefs and emails. Remember what it was like to write a term paper? All of this has a purpose, however, and that is to provide you with the best possible work product in order to maximize your chance for success.
I try to keep my rates affordable but I am not cheap and nor should you want the cheapest lawyer. I also try to work with a client to structure a written fee agreement that makes sense for both the client and for me. This typically involves the payment of a retainer, against which I can bill, before I start work on a new matter. Among the types of fee agreements that I use are:
This is the standard way many attorneys bill. you agree to my hourly rate, I keep track of my hours, and you pay me for the hours I work.
This is a variation of the hourly rate, I will provide you with hourly rates for particular tasks. For example, courtroom work will have a higher hourly rate than document review work.
I will bill you a fixed amount for each phase of a case or for a particular project. For example, I will bill you $X to provide you with an analysis of your case, $Y to prepare a demand letter, and $Z to prepare and file a complaint. This gives you the comfort of knowing how much your legal fees will cost.
In particular circumstances I will work on a full or partial contingency. A full contingency means that you don't pay any legal fees unless you recover money. If you do recover money, then you will pay me a percentage of the recovery. In a partial contingency, you pay me a reduced hourly rate and I get a percentage of the recovery (or savings in the case of a defendant) at the conclusion of the matter. This has the benefit of reducing your out-of-pocket legal fees but also provides me with an incentive.
The client typically is responsible for out-of-pocket expenses such as deposition fees, filing costs, mass copying, and expert fees in any fee arrangement. These expenses are passed through to you without any mark-up.
Getting paid for work performed is part of the bargain. Brown Counsel accepts credit cards through a secure portal, checks and wire transfers.