Paying for legal services represents the commitment of significant resources. This firm makes it as easy as possible for you, your business, and your family
It is firm policy to return any fees that are not earned and to discuss with you, in detail, the nature of any charges and fees. All clients receive a written fee agreement if their fee is greater than $300 that must be signed by my clients prior to my undertaking legal representation. There are a number of different kinds of fees and each has a slightly different capacity to be refunded. If you don’t understand a charge or a fee, please just let Mr. Bromund know and he will discuss it further with you.
A retainer is charged to insure my availability to represent you in a matter. As a lawyer, I have ethical duties to represent my client and to decline assignments that conflict with my client’s interests. By paying a retainer, you are insuring that you are my client and that I will not take on work for someone hostile to your interests. A retainer also compensates me for work that I will not be able to take on because I represent you. A retainer is non-refundable.
A flat fee is charged in cases where the legal services provided will involve a very definite amount of work at the outset of the case but an uncertain amount later. For example, in criminal cases, I will always have to prepare the case, assemble evidence, review the applicable statutes and cases, and negotiate with the prosecutor. Whether or not I will have to represent you at a trial is completely unknowable at the outset. For that reason, I often charge a flat fee in criminal cases. Similarly, I charge a flat fee in many immigration matters. When a flat fee is charged, it is generally non-refundable. In cases where the flat fee has not been earned, however, (say you change your mind about having me represent you before I have done anything with your case) I will refund a flat fee. Most of the time though, a flat fee is deemed earned when payed and is non-refundable.
In most cases, I will charge an hourly fee. My hourly rate is $400/hour for most cases. Hourly fees are usually collected by way of an advance deposit, a sum of money you deposit into my trust account and from which I will draw off hourly fees after reporting my charges to you. When I ask you to make a deposit of $1,000, $5,000, or even more, I am not charging you that amount. Instead, I am estimating that your case will likely end up involving charges of that amount and I want to have your tangible commitment to paying the fees as earned. The deposits you give me go into a pooled client trust account that contains only the money of my clients. (This money earns interest that is paid directly to the State Bar to assist in providing legal services to those that cannot afford them. ) From time to time, as work is done on your case, I will send billing statements indicating how much of your deposit is being transferred to my account to pay your bill for legal services. At the end of your case, any funds left in your deposit will be refunded to you, in full. If you have questions about an hourly fee, just ask and I will be happy to help you understand the charge.
In rare cases, I may charge a contingency fee. This fee is a percentage of the total amount recovered for you, if any. This option works best for clients who do not have the resources to pay another kind of fee but who have a good likelihood of recovering funds as a result of my services. A contingency fee does not include the costs of litigation, which must be paid for by all clients, as the case progresses. A contingency fee is non-refundable.
In all cases there are costs. With immigration cases, these costs are most often CIS filing fees. In criminal cases, there are expert costs, mileage, and occasionally telephone costs. In family law cases, there are court filing costs, expert costs, mileage, deposition costs, etc. None of these costs represent funds paid to me for legal services. All of these costs are my client’s responsibility since ultimately, it is their cases that I am working on. Even if you are paying me through a contingency fee, I will almost always ask for a deposit against costs. Any funds spent on costs are, by definition, non-refundable. They are paid to some third party and leave my firm to satisfy the obligations necessary in moving your case forward. When appropriate, I try to keep costs down by asking the court for fee waivers and the like.
Any check that is not honored by your bank will result in a $50 additional charge. Subsequent payments must be made in cash, bank draft, or cashier’s check.
For clients with an established record of payment or other guarantees of creditworthiness, we will enter into a payment plan. Our payment plans have durations of 3, 6, or 12 months and involve no interest but require a credit card authorization agreement so that any payments that are not timely made are pre-authorized to be made via a credit card. I understand that legal work is expensive but it is also too important to be done shoddily or without a commitment to excellence. That commitment must be mutual: from me you have a commitment that I will do the best possible work for you and from you that commitment must be that you will pay the fees as agreed.