One of the most common questions we’re asked is how our fees work, and are a frequent source of confusion for clients. While there are many different ways for attorneys to take a fee, most will tell you in advance what they believe your case should cost and what resources are necessary to win your case at trial. They should, but are not required, to memorialize your fee agreement with them in writing.
Our attorney fees can be broken down into three basic types: flat fees, retainers, and fees to be placed in trust accounts.
At Longman Jakuback, we usually structure our fees in a mixed retainer/trust agreement. We start with what we call a minimum retainer, paid to us for what we believe will be the amount of time and resources that will be required to win your case. In order to get this number, we multiply our hourly rate by the amount of time we believe it will be necessary to dedicate to your case, and then add in investigative expenses, the costs of experts, and any other costs that we believe may arise. This amount is due upfront.
We then credit our hourly rate, and any services needed by experts, specialists, and others against this retainer amount until it is exhausted. At that point, if your matter has not been resolved, we ask that you make periodic deposits into our trust account in order for us to continue litigating your case. Any amount left in our trust account at the end of the case is then returned to the client. This is typically how we structure our contracts and fees.