At Hammerle Finley Law Firm, we recognize that many people are concerned about the cost of legal services. Because the total cost depends upon the type of matter and several other factors, we are providing the following information to give some guidance as to how we determine fees on each case. Your attorney will discuss this in more detail at your initial consultation. We provide our clients with written Fee Agreements at the beginning of the engagement.
For those cases for which we bill a flat fee: The flat fee is the total amount that you will pay for the service or task. You and your attorney will identify the particular service or task during your initial consultation. As a general rule, we require payment in full before we begin preparation of the documents or the task. Your attorney will let you know the time frame involved for receipt of the documents or completion of the task. If additional services or fees are required, then your attorney will discuss with you at that time.
For those cases for which we bill on an hourly basis: Fees are billed on an hourly basis. We request a retainer at the time we begin our representation. A retainer is basically an up-front payment. We will bill against that retainer on an hourly basis. When the amount left in the retainer falls below a pre-determined level, then we request an additional retainer. We typically send our clients itemized bills every two weeks so that they fully understand the services that we have performed. In addition, we charge our clients for our out-of-pockets expenses that we incur on their behalf, such as court filing fees, services fees, etc. At the end of the case, we will refund any remaining retainer.
Types of Matters
Business and Real Estate Documents: We typically charge on a flat fee basis for preparation of specific documents, which include deeds, entity formation, and employment agreements. If document analysis or negotiation is involved, then we will charge on an hourly basis.
Business Litigation and Arbitration: We charge on an hourly basis. Because of the extent of work involved in a litigation matter, we believe that is important for our clients to understand the expense for pursuing, or defending, a case. Most litigation cases involve preparation of pleadings, propounding and defending discovery documents, depositions and one or more hearings. Some involve a final trial to an arbitrator, judge or jury.
Estate Planning: We typically charge a flat fee for estate planning services – Wills, Trusts, and Ancillary Documents such as Powers of Attorney.
Family Law: We charge on an hourly basis for family law matters. We routinely handle complex and contested family law cases. Sometimes our client may be able to recover reimbursement from the other side for payment of fees.
Probate and Guardianship Cases: For routine probate matters, we charge on a flat fee basis (if the client prefers, we will charge on an hourly basis). For all other probate and guardianship cases, we charge on an hourly basis. Sometimes the fees and expenses are reimbursable to the client from a probate or guardianship estate.
Trust Funding: We charge on an hourly basis to advise clients on funding their trusts.
Appellate Cases: We charge on an hourly basis for appellate cases. These can be extremely time consuming, and often require a larger retainer.
Method of Payment
Hammerle Finley recognizes that many clients prefer to use alternative payment methods. We are pleased to offer our clients the option to pay their retainer or bill by cash, credit card, check or wire transfer. Additionally, we offer a portal on our website for on-line payments.