Financial Policies

  1. The expenses for legal services are deposited to a law firm in advance via a lump sum called a retainer. The initial retainers of $1500, $2500, $5000, or $8000 are required to commence work on cases, depending on the nature of the case.
  2. The firm maintains a government-monitored trust account. The firm makes no interest off holding these retainers in its trust accounts. Rather statutes dictate that the banks send the interest that accrues on retainer deposits to court administration to fund legal aid services.
  3. The law firm’s attorneys and staff keep track of their time they spend on each client’s file. Time is tracked in increments of one tenth of an hour.
  4. The fees for the firm’s work are $325.00 per hour will be billed for all attorney time expended and $140 to $195 per hour will be billed for all other work. While these hourly fees seem exorbitant bear in mind that they reflect the funds need to pay the attorney registration, continuing education credit fees, professional insurance, and all of the other expenses of operating a business.
  5. Work on the client’s behalf includes all time expended on client’s behalf, including consultations with firm employees in person, by telephone, letter or email, travel time, wait time before a hearing or elsewhere, and time needed to copy file documents.
  6. The firm may do work in evenings and on weekends. However work required outside the normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at the behest of the Client will be charged the minimum charge of $280 and if as the result of the Client’s behavior the minimum charge of $560.
  7. At the end of each month the firm’s work for the client is compiled into a monthly invoice.
  8. The firm also creates a statement that shows the beginning balance, the retainer payments that were made during the month and the invoice amount.
  9. Any questions or objections that the client has to any item listed on the invoices for services rendered or for costs must be brought to Firm’s attention in writing within thirty (30) days of the date of the bill.  Otherwise, the invoice is deemed to be proper and accurate as sent. The firm does not bill the client for addressing any billing questions or objection. 
  10. In addition to legal fees, the monthly billing includes any expenses the firm chose to incur on the client’s behalf as Firm deemed necessary. These may be filing, witnesses, subpoenas, process service, legal research database access, mileage, expert witnesses, copying, faxes, postage, court reporters, couriers, investigators, file duplication, and any other costs are separate from the charges for attorney’s fees.
  11. As requested by Firm each client shall promptly forward payment for any needed expenses. At Firm’s discretion, it may postpone action for a reasonable period of time on client’s case until client has paid sufficient funds to cover those expenses. Should this result in an unusual delay or one that would unduly prejudice the client’s case, Firm may be compelled to withdraw from representation.
  12. In sending out the firm’s monthly invoices and statements to clients, the firm includes a cover letter with instructions. It will state, “At this point in time the following circumstance applies to you:
    1. You have a healthy positive balance on your retainer. No deposit is needed at this time.
    2. You have a positive balance on your retainer but there remains work to be done for which a greater retainer is needed. Please submit a supplementary retainer deposit.
    3. Our work is coming to a close and no additional deposit towards your retainer is needed.
    4. Our work has ended. Please pay the firm for the final work on your case.
    5.  Our work has ended. Please find enclosed the check for your unearned retainer balance.
    6. Your retainer balance is at $ _________. The amount of your next required deposit is $_____. Please make this payment by this date: ________________.”
  13. The firm requires a $1000 balance to be maintained on all cases. This policy reduces the size of initial retainers needed, provides funding for emergency measures, and ensures that fees are paid.
  14. Once the point is reached were there is less than $1000 dollars in the trust account, clients can expect to make monthly payments to replenish the retainer on hand and keep it at $1000.
  15. Payments to the firm are due by the 10th day of each month. This policy is also in place so that clients are not required to provide larger retainers.
  16. Discounts are provided to clients who authorize payments to be paid by their debit or credit cards.
  17. It is important for the client to know how they will pay their legal fees. The firm does not continue to work on client files when clients owe the firm money. From the discussion with Matt clients ought to make plans to pay for the legal fees with their income, their savings, their credit lines, or the reliable assistance of family.
  18. Within the first thirty days of each case clients and Matt should discuss the legal fees. Once the nature of the litigation has become clear the discussion can address the volume of legal work, and thus the expense of legal fees, estimated.
  19. Client’s cooperation and honesty is essential to the outcome of their case. If the client’s ability to continue pay the firm is lost or financial resources to continue using the firm’s services are at risk, Client shall notify the firm immediately so that the pursuit of the client’s goals is not unduly frustrated.
  20. Firm cannot and does not predict results. No person in the Firm makes any guarantees to any client as to the outcome of their case nor the total estimated legal fees and costs.
  21. For any unpaid fees or expenses, Firm may (1) withhold any unpaid fees from any settlement funds, (2) place any liens to recover said amounts as described herein, (3) charge simple interest at the rate of 8 percent per year on the unpaid balance, (4) withdraw from my case, (5) run charges against any authorized credit card accounts, and/or (6) engage such collection efforts wherein I shall be responsible for attorney’s fees and costs.
  22. If an opposing party is be ordered to contribute to a client’s attorney’s fees by Court Order or Agreement, the client’s bill will be only be credited dollar for dollar on the amounts actually received. Should the opposing party not pay within twenty (20) days of the date of Judgment, Order or Agreement, client is expected to adhere to the terms of the contract.
  23. For credit or debit card payments clients authorize future and periodic attempts to run credit card charges without subsequent contact if the fees owed are not paid according to the contract; clients cannot contest such legal fee charges; clients waive their rights to contest such charges with their card company at a later date. If client does, client agrees to pay any charges attorney incurs as a result of such improper contest.
  24. At the firm’s discretion, the firm provides legal services to low-income persons who do not qualify legal aid services but cannot afford market rates. For these clients all work by the firm is charged at the rate of $75 per hour.
  25. The reduced rate of $75 per hour is contingent upon the client’s income being less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines currently in effect, as set forth in http://www.liheap.ncat.org/profiles/povertytables/FY2014/popstate.htm. The firm reserves the right to charge its standard hourly rates in the event that client’s income increases above the 200% threshold. Further, the firm reserves the right to retroactively charge its standard hourly rates if it becomes evident that the financial information client provided to the firm was false.

These policies and guidelines were created to fully inform AFL clients of the realities of using legal services. The aim is to ensure that with the firm and client on the same page regarding the financial requirements they work well together to pursue the client’s legal goals. Please let me know what if any questions you have. Thank you.