To help you understand our billing policies and procedures, we offer these answers to some commonly asked questions.
Q. How will I be charged for services?
A. Before services are performed, you and your attorney will ordinarily discuss the manner in which you will be charged. Unless otherwise agreed, you will be charged for all services on an hourly rate basis. The hourly rate charged for each person who works on your case reflects that person’s expertise and experience.
In some cases, it may be possible to make alternative arrangements for your case to be handled on a contingency fee basis. In other cases, you may be charged a flat rate fee for the particular service being performed. You should receive a retainer letter that summarizes and explains the payment terms to which you and your attorney have agreed.
You will be responsible for paying expenses, such as copying costs, postage, filing fees, and other miscellaneous costs incurred in connection with your matter. Depending upon the circumstances, we may agree to advance expenses on your behalf or we may ask you to provide an advance against expenses.
Q. Will I be charged for phone calls with my attorney or my attorney’s support staff?
A. Yes, if your matter is being billed on an hourly basis. Your attorney will charge for all time spent on your case. This may include office conferences or court appearances, time spent doing necessary research, and time spent with you on the telephone.
Normally we do not charge for secretarial time, but occasionally an attorney’s secretary will perform services of a paralegal nature in connection with your case. You will be charged for those services at the secretary’s established rate.
Q. How often will I be billed?
A. Unless otherwise arranged, you will be billed monthly. Each statement covers the work done during the previous billing period.
Q. What information will be included on the statement?
A. The statement reflects the inclusive dates for the period of service covered and a reference number (for example. 12345-0000-001). The reference number is a code used by our Accounting Department for your account. Unless otherwise arranged, you will receive a separate statement for each separate matter.
The main section of the statement explains and itemizes the professional services provided by date. Services are billed in increments of tenths (1/10) of an hour. The lower section of the statement will show a summary of charges for services and any expenses related to the matter. The final figure is the amount due. This figure will include, in addition to charges for the current period, any unpaid balance.
Some expense charges, such as telephone or express charges, may lag behind our normal billing cycle. Even if your matter is completed and you have received what you believe to be the final statement, our office may receive some miscellaneous charges that you will be billed for later.
Q. When are statements payable?
A. Each statement is payable when you receive it.
If an occasion should arise which may prevent you from making your full payment each month, we ask that you discuss it with us. You may contact your attorney or our Accounting Department to make arrangements for installment payments. We are willing to work with you to accommodate your particular situation.
We also accept the following major credit cards: Discover, Mastercard and Visa.
Q. What if I pay money in advance?
A. In some cases, we will ask new clients to make an advance payment toward fees. If this applies to you, the approach will be confirmed and explained to you in our retainer letter.
Advance money will be held in our trust account as your attorney works on your case. If advance money is left in the trust account after applying it to your final balances, the remaining amount will be returned to you.
If you have additional questions about our billing policies and procedures, please don’t hesitate to discuss them with your attorney or our Accounting Department.