The firm always endeavors to treat its clients with courtesy and cooperation and strives to keep clients informed of the events transpiring in their cases and involved in the decisions which make up their cases. Above all, the firm has consistently tried to deliver services at a quality level above the eightieth percentile while charging fees below the eightieth percentile.
All new clients must begin with an in-person appointment. We charge fees for the initial appointment in the manner set forth in the fee explanation above. We do not have free appointments except when fees are controlled by statute or a contingent fee contract.
The basis upon which we charge fees varies according to the type of work.
Flat fees are charged for all estate planning work. There are a few probate services for which we can quote a flat fee. Standard procedures for work with corporations, partnerships and other entities can be done on a flat fee basis as long as we have a clear picture of the scope of the work at the beginning. We charge by the hour for the first appointment, but on larger projects we absorb it into the flat fee.
Statutory fees are charged in decedent’s estates. This means the fee is controlled by the Probate Code formula. Fees in conservatorships and guardianships, while not purely statutory, are subject to court approval. If the first interview proves that the case will fall into the statutory fee category, there is no charge for the initial interview. In all instances other than statutory fees and larger flat fee projects, we do charge for the first interview on an hourly basis, or fraction thereof.
Contingent fees are charged for some, selected litigation cases. Some will contests and similar cases are done on a contingent fee basis. When we accept a personal injury case, it is on a contingent fee basis. If we accept a case on a contingent fee basis, there are no hourly fee charges including no fee for the initial conference.
Hourly fees are charged in all cases when the fees are not flat, statutory or contingent. Hourly fees are charged and billed monthly. The billing statements explain what services were rendered during the month and what the fee is for the month. If the client requests it, fees will be shown for each individual entry on the billing statement.
Costs include money paid to others such as the court clerk for filing a pleading, a process server for serving a pleading, publication fees paid to a newspaper, fees paid to government for copies and services. Costs are counted separately from fees. Fee estimates do not include costs.