1. Is there a fee for an initial consultation?
No. Prior to entering into a formal attorney-client relationship, both the prospective client and this Law Firm must be satisfied that the facts and the applicable law justify such an arrangement. The prospective client must also determine whether the estimated fees and costs associated with the case are acceptable under all of the circumstances of the case.
2. What is the standard fee arrangement for most cases?
In cases other than personal injury and/or wrongful death cases, our standard fee arrangement is based on an hourly fee which varies with the experience of the particular attorney assigned to the case. In all cases, however, the file will be subject to the supervision of Mr. Sullivan, who charges an hourly rate based on the complexity of the case.
3. Does the Law Firm accept cases on a contingency fee basis?
Yes, but generally only in cases involving serious personal injury or death. In business disputes, the Law Firm would consider a contingency fee arrangement only on a very select basis. Typically, the following three factors must be present in a case in order for this firm to consider representing the client on a contingency fee basis: (1) There must be strong evidence of the liability of the defendant(s); (2) The claims of the prospective client for damages must be sufficiently high to warrant a contingency fee; and (3) The defendant(s) must have sufficient assets and/or insurance in order to pay any final judgment or settlement.
4. Is there a standard contingency fee contract?
No. Each case must be evaluated separately. International cases, for example, generally require a higher contingency fee because of the complex issues concerning pre-trial discovery and the presentation of evidence.
5. Does the Law Firm accept any cases on a fixed fee basis?
Yes, but usually only in exceptional cases where the nature and extent of the legal services required can be predicted with a fair amount of accuracy.
6. May a client change attorneys after signing the attorney-client retainer agreement?
Yes. Both the client and the Law Firm have the right to terminate the attorney-client relationship, subject to the terms of the written agreement. However, if a case is pending before a court, it may be necessary to obtain the consent of the court to the change in attorneys.
7. Does the Law Firm require an advance payment (retainer) at the beginning of the case for new clients?
Yes. Generally, the only exception is for personal injury and/or wrongful death claims. In other cases, the amount of the retainer will depend on the estimated preliminary work necessary to fully analyze the facts and the law and prepare any initial set of pleadings or transactional documents. The retainer will also depend on the financial strength of the client and any other circumstances that may be unique to the case.