Clients usually want to know “what will this all cost?” That’s a reasonable question. But it is not possible to accurately estimate costs in advance since the opposing party and his/her attorney(s), as well as other factors, often control this aspect of Attorneys’ representation of you since they and their counsel can require action(s) to which Attorneys must respond in order to properly represent you. Further, many important factors which influence the cost are unknown to us, and even outside our control, including the reaction and tactics of the other side, how many different issues there will be in your case, how much time it will take to resolve all the issues, how complicated the case is, new issues which may come up, and whether we can settle this case without going to court.
A. INITIAL RETAINER
What is it? If hired, our Attorneys will ask for a “Retainer” of money. A “Retainer” is a specific amount of money paid in advance to the law firm to begin the case, i.e. $1,500. This initial retainer amount will pay for your Court Costs and Fees required to file a lawsuit with the Court as well as your attorney’s fees to conduct legal services on your behalf. The Attorney’s bill at an hourly rate (listed below) and is taken out of this Retainer amount and is not an additional amount. Any amounts that exceed the initial retainer amount will be billed out monthly.
What it is NOT. The retainer is not a flat fee or an estimate of the cost of your work. The amount of the retainer is arbitrary to some extent and should not be taken as an estimate of the cost of the completion of the work in your particular case. At this point, before the issues are clarified, and before we know the degree of resistance to be offered, we cannot predict the amount of work to be done, nor the time needed to complete it.
Until you provide us with a retainer, or replace it when it is exhausted, we will not work on your file. You are responsible for the fees and disbursements not covered by the initial or replacement retainer. Of course, any unused portion of the retainer will be refunded to you at the end of our work for you. LEGAL REPRESENTATION WILL NOT COMMENCE UNTIL THE RETAINER FEE IS PAID IN FULL.
B. MONTHLY CLIENT INVOICES
Attorneys will send Client a monthly Client Invoice, which will itemize the legal services and expenses expended on behalf of the Client. Questions arising from Attorneys’ monthly statement must be brought to Attorneys’ attention within twenty (20) days of Client’s receipt of Attorneys’ statement. Client further agrees to pay invoices within 30 days of receipt of said invoice. The Client shall pay his or her incurred legal fees within 30 days of receipt of a bill from Firm. In the event Client fails to pay the balance owed to Firm, Client understands that Firm has a right to pursue collection remedies by either filing a lawsuit or by turning the account receivable over to a collection agency. Rule 1.05 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct protects Client’s confidential information received by the Firm. Client consents and authorizes Firm to reveal confidential information to a collection agency or to another law firm for the purpose of Firm collecting fees owed by Client to Firm.
C. HOURLY ATTORNEY BILLABLE RATE
The total fees for Attorneys’ services is calculated by multiplying the attorney’s rate below and the time expended :
Taylor Tomanka $200.00/hr.
Dan "Martin" Fergus, III $200.00/hr.
Non-Legal Staff $50.00/hr.
Client understands that all time spent on Client’s case is recorded and billed in increments of one-tenth (.10) hours. THAT IS, THE MINIMUM INCREMENT OF TIME TO BE CHARGED IS TEN MINUTES. For example, if a telephone call in regard to Client’s matter should be made, Client would be charged ten minutes of time (.10 hours) even though the actual telephone call may take less than ten minutes. Some, but not all, of Attorneys’ services for which charges are made include: 1. Correspondence between client and attorney, legal research, drafting of pleadings and documents, office conferences, out-of-office conferences, telephone conferences, investigative work, review of material received from Client, the opposing party and others, preparation for and appearances in court, and other tasks necessary to handle the matter in controversy. 2. Where the lawyers consult on your file (in person or electronically), you are billed for the time of the lawyers involved. Consultation between lawyers takes place to decide work assignments on larger matters, to delegate tasks, to determine strategy and to consult on legal issues. This consultation is an important part of the progress of your case, and in many ways, is the work we do for you. 3. Our absence from the office on your behalf is charged at the usual hourly rate. Travel time includes attending at court, settlement conferences, meetings, or consultations on your behalf. We will minimize travel expenses and courthouse time, if any, wherever we are able. However, as you will be charged for our travelling time (in addition to the counsel fee).
D. CLIENT EXPENSES
On each monthly Client Invoice (described above) the Attorneys will outline and itemize incurred expenses the attorney made on behalf of the Client. Any and all advanced expenses and fees the attorneys made on your behalf are reimbursable to the law firm. Examples of Client Expenses includes, but not limited to: court costs, photocopying, long distance telephone calls, facsimile transmissions and receptions, postage, parking fees, mileage, delivery and other similar charges, as well as filing fees, deposition charges, costs for the services and/or testimony of expert witnesses (such as psychologists, social workers, accountants and appraisers), and investigator expenses.
Any large expenses (anything over $350.00) will be discussed with the Client prior to the attorneys making that payment on the Client’s behalf. Attorney will provide Client notice of the larger expense as soon as reasonably possible. Typically, large expenses are charged to the law firm, but tend to be paid directly by the Client immediately upon receipt of the provider’s statement for these services.
Upon the Client’s request, the client is entitled to the attorney’s client file at the end of representation. In the event that Client discharges the Attorneys and requests their Client File, any cost to provide Client with a copy shall be the sole cost of Client. If the Client File is large, the Attorneys retain the right to require Client to deliver the original of Attorney’s “Client file” to a copy service designated by Client, which copy service shall, at Client’s sole cost and expense, copy Attorney’s “Client file” and return the original of such file to Attorneys, while delivering the copy to Client.
E. ATTORNEY’S FEES AWARDED IN COURT
In the event the Court should award attorney’s fees, the amount awarded by the Court does not limit the amount Client owes and/or may still owe Attorneys. Further, in the event the Court awards a judgment for attorney’s fees, the difference between the amount of the judgment awarded and actually received/collected as a result of that judgment and the amount of the attorney’s fees incurred by and owed to Attorneys by Client shall be paid by Client to Attorneys. In the event Client has already paid Attorneys all of the attorney’s fees owed to Attorneys, any monies Attorneys should receive as a result of a judgment for attorney’s fees against the opposing party shall be paid to Client.
F. CLIENT PAYMENTS
It is understood that all sums due and payable pursuant to this agreement shall be payable by Client to Attorneys at their offices in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas, which will include all charges for professional services rendered, together with all costs of court and expenses reasonably and necessarily incurred in Attorneys’ representation of Client. We prepare interim accounts on a regular basis, usually on the 30th of the month for fees and disbursements.
Payment Mandatory. Client realizes that Client is primarily responsible for the payment of the attorney’s fees and expenses that Client must pay Attorneys’ fees whether or not Attorneys are able to resolve Client’s problem to Client’s satisfaction. In the event the Court should award attorney’s fees, the amount awarded by the Court does not limit the amount Client owes and/or may still owe Attorneys. Further, in the event the Court awards a judgment for attorney’s fees, the difference between the amount of the judgment awarded and actually received/collected as a result of that judgment and the amount of the attorney’s fees incurred by and owed to Attorneys by Client shall be paid by Client to Attorneys. In the event Client has already paid Attorneys all of the attorney’s fees owed to Attorneys, any monies Attorneys should receive as a result of a judgment for attorney’s fees against the opposing party shall be paid to Client. The scope of this Employment Contract and the attorney’s fees involved herein does not cover the collection of any judgment for attorney’s fees awarded by the Court against the opposing party. Client realizes that Client will have to make additional arrangements for the payment of attorney’s fees for the collection of a money judgment against the opposing party. Client further realizes that, in the event Client paid Attorneys in full, Attorneys will assign to Client any judgment for attorney’s fees awarded by the Court to them.
Final Hearing Payment. Prior to any hearing of any kind, Client agrees that all sums due and owing for legal fees and expenses will be paid in full prior to the attorney attending the hearing. This means: Client invoices must be paid in full 90 days prior to their final hearing or the attorney(s) will withdraw from your case. On day 91, the attorneys will file the withdrawal paperwork with the courthouse so that you may obtain other counsel within a reasonable amount of time.
Upon completion of services, Client agrees that all sums due and owing for legal fees and expenses will be paid in full. In the event such sums are not paid in full, upon the request of Attorneys, Client agrees to sign a promissory note with Attorneys for all additional amounts owing. The promissory note shall be in the standard form of promissory note prepared and issued by the State Bar of Texas, shall provide for interest at a rate not to exceed eighteen percent (18%) per annum on all amounts owing and not paid under the note, and shall provide for a monthly payment schedule which shall cause the amount then owed Attorneys by Client to be paid in full no later than two (2) years of the date of the last bill sent by Attorneys to Client unless written approval of other arrangement is made with Attorneys.
G. PAYMENT METHODS
We accept cash, check, money order, credit cards, & wire transfers.
LawPay – Online Payment System. For Client's convenience, Attorney has created a portal through LawPay, a safe and secure credit card portal designed for lawyers, allowing Client to pay bills and replenish retainers online. Client shall not be charged any fee for credit card use, and no fees are deducted from funds deposited into Attorney's trust account. Client may pay via credit card without any additional fees through LawPay using this link:
CREDIT CARD POLICY Clients may pay their retainers or monthly invoices by credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover) if the payment is under $5,000. We cannot accept credit card for any single payment over $5,000. If a Client wishes to pay $5,000+, the Client may pay with two forms of payment. Clients receive a 1.95% discount on their initial retainer if it is paid using another transactional method, such as paying by cash, money order, check, or wire transfer. Client understands that fees paid with an authorized credit card payment are not subject to a right by Client to a credit card refund or chargeback after legal services are performed. Refunds, when appropriate, shall be paid by check or other electronic transfer from Attorney to Client.
Please make checks payable to Fergus & Tomanka, PLLC.
Bank Name: Compass Bank NA
Wire Transfer Routing Number: ASK IF NEEDED
Account Holder Name: Fergus & Tomanka, PLLC
Account Number: ASK IF NEEDED
15th S. 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35233