Charging according to the time spent on your matter using the hourly rate method is still the most common way that law firms charge for their services. The more hours that your attorney spends on your case, the more you will be charged.
An attorney will charge you for everything they do that is related to your case. This will include speaking to you on the phone, reading and responding to your emails, reading documentation which you have provided, researching legal issues, and drafting documents on your behalf.
Mark's hourly fees vary based upon the complexity of the matters involved. He will inform you in advance of the hourly rate(s) that apply to your matter(s). Mark tries to make his services affordable to those new to business. There is an intrinsic reward to him in helping those clients start up, grow and succeed in their businesses. Thus, Mark has lower fees for setting up simple business organizations than he does for more sophisticated bank regulatory or commercial real estate matters.
This firm may increase its hourly rates at any time, without notice, except to existing clients. For existing clients and with notice, hourly rates may be adjusted once a year, as of the anniversary date of the engagement. However, this firm will never increase the hourly rate you are being charged while a specific matter is on-going, without your prior agreement.
This firm reserves the right to refuse to offer or limit its services to any person or business. Lower hourly rates are not available to every client and may require minimum commitments. Hours of service are limited. Hourly rates do not apply to Independent Director Services.
How is time recorded?
Every day, Mark records his time showing which client he worked for, what activities he carried out and for how long. He will start the timer when he begins work on your file and switch it off at the end. He splits each hour into 4 units of 15 minutes and will record his time in these units. If a task takes less than 15 minutes, he will round-up and charge for one unit. This may sound odd but, some attorneys will actually round up to the nearest half an hour and this method of splitting up the hour covers this firm for the time it takes to switch from one task to another.
In some cases, or for some pieces of work, Mark may be able to offer you a fixed fee (you know in advance what it will cost and this will not change) or, a capped fee (where you will not pay more than a given maximum price but may pay less if the work takes less time). It may not always be possible to predict the amount of time that will be spent on your matter, or any particular stage of it, so such arrangements may not always be offered. However, it is always worth asking if a fixed/capped fee arrangement is available.
You will be obligated to reimburse the firm for all out-of-pocket costs that may be incurred on your behalf, such as travel expenses, long distance telephone charges, photocopying, etc. Unless otherwise agreed, all amounts billed are due and payable upon billing, and you agree to pay the amounts billed on or before the 15th of the month following the month of billing. Interest on the outstanding balance due will be added at the rate of 1-1/2% per month (18% APR) on amounts not paid by the 15th of the month following the month of billing.
For new clients, this firm may request the deposit to its Trust Account of a retainer or an advance payment against fees and expenses as necessary to complete the legal representation in your matter. Should this matter be resolved before the entire amount of the retainer has been earned, the remainder will be refunded to you.