Generally, fees are one of the least discussed parts of any legal case and usually fees are not discussed early enough, candidly enough, or in enough detail.
There are two primary reasons for that (1) the discussion can be uncomfortable for you; and (2), the discussion can also be uncomfortable for the attorney.
We would like to provide you with an overview of the types of fee arrangements we use in our office to make you feel more comfortable.
Due to our areas of specializations, we offer three different fee structures to address our clients’ need. Depending on the area of law, we either bill on an hourly basis or we provide a flat fee. Some matters are also handled on a contingency fee.
We will charge you a specific total fee for your case. However, please note that photocopying, typing, and other out-of-pocket expenses are not covered by this flat fee. This means that the total bill is the flat fee plus these out-of- pocket expenses.
Generally, we offer a flat fee if the case is relatively simple or routine. Cases that are more complicated are generally billed on an hourly basis. However, we can usually provide a good estimate of the costs at each stage of the case due to our experience in the specific area of law.
We will charge you for each portion of an hour, which we work on your case. For instance, if our attorney fees are $270.00 per hour, and we work on your case for five hours, the cost will be $1350. Costs and out-of-pocket expenses will be billed in addition to the hourly rate.
The hourly rate of our attorneys depends on whether your matter is a routine matter or it involves an area of law that requires special expertise. Furthermore, if other members of our team, such as paralegals, law clerks, messengers, or others with special expertise in a certain area will be working on your case, their time will be charged to you as well, usually at a lower rate. Time a secretary spends on your case will not be charged to you.
Under a contingency fee arrangement, our fee is based on a percentage of what you are awarded in the case. If you lose the case, we are not paid, although you will still have to pay expenses. The contingency fee percentage varies, but it is usually a one-third fee.
Regardless of the fee structure, we agree upon, the specifics of the agreement will be in writing, dated and signed by you indicating your acceptance of the terms.
Additionally, you should know that we will bill at 6-minute instead of 15-minute intervals. This is important for you because you can save hundreds of dollars. For example, if an attorney’s minimum billing unit is 15 minutes, each 5-minute phone call will be billed at one-fourth of the hourly rate. At 6-minute phone intervals, a 5-minute phone call costs just one-tenth of the hourly rate.
However, price should not be the primary criteria when choosing an attorney. You should choose the attorney with the appropriate qualifications and specialization you need. You are likely to save money by choosing someone who has the knowledge and office systems set up to handle cases like yours in a cost effective manner. In that regard we would like to mention that we have subscribed to various case law databases; we are a member of various legal associations including the State Bar of Michigan; the Federal Bar Association Eastern District of Michigan; the Federal Bar Association of the Western District of Michigan, American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Bar Association of Saxony Rechtsanwaltskammer Sachsen, the German Bar Association Deutscher Anwaltverein, the Bar Association of Dresden Deutscher Dresdner Anwaltsverein, and others. This ensures that our knowledge base is current and we are specifically knowledgeable about specific procedures relating to your case.
Furthermore, the German Consulate in Chicago lists us as a trustworthy attorney.
When you have made your decision to retain us, we will begin working on your case as soon as we are in receipt of your acceptance of our engagement letter and the retainer that you may have agreed to. Our statements or invoices will be generated at the end of the current month or at a later time and is due upon receipt. We generally email our invoices and upon request, we are sending you the original as well. You can pay your invoice by sending us a check in U.S. dollar or if your case relates to a German matter, you may also do a wire transfer in Euro to one of our accounts in Germany.
We would be glad if you would contact us if you do not know our firm yet. We appreciate your feedback and we are always glad to answer questions that you may have regarding the above.
Contact us by phone at 989-687-5255, by email at info[at]galawcenter.com.