The following is a general summary of HoganWillig's legal fees and billing guidelines. We believe all our clients have the right to know at the beginning of our representation how fees for legal services are charged. This avoids misunderstandings and allows us to develop a strategy that is in your best interest. We make it our primary goal to provide you with high quality legal work and want you to be confident that you are getting the best legal representation for the cost involved. In that regard, we seek to represent your interests as efficiently and effectively as possible. As always at HoganWillig, our clients' needs come first. Any of the information below can be discussed at your initial consultation and is open for review on a case by case basis.
HoganWillig is also associated with many legal plans that may modify our legal fees in some manner. To the extent that you are a member of any plan (i.e. AARP, LegalShield, NYSUT UAW, Signature Legal Care, etc.), please let our office know of such a relationship at the time of your initial consultation.
- Do you charge for initial consultations?
- What types of fee arrangements does HoganWillig use?
- How do you set fixed fees?
- What is a retainer fee?
- Will I be responsible for costs and expenses?
- Will you make house calls?
- Will you provide me with a written explanation of the services to be provided and the fees to be charged?
- How will you bill me?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- May a third party pay my fee?
For most cases, we will charge a fixed fee for an initial consultation with a client (see our Flat Rate Menu), to evaluate the facts and law relevant to a case and provide recommendations concerning solutions to address a client's needs and objectives. Our Family Law, Business and Corporate Law and Criminal Law departments charge an initial consultation fee starting at $150.00/hr. Our Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice cases do not have an initial consultation fee. These matters are contingent, meaning you will not pay any fees unless we obtain a recovery for you either by settlement or trial.
We commonly use three different types of fee arrangements: 1) fixed fee, 2) contingent fee, and 3) hourly billing.
- Fixed Fees: For cases that are charged a fixed fee, this fee is set at the initial meeting and is based upon the facts disclosed at the initial meeting, the difficulty of the issues involved and our estimate of the time that will be required to provide the requested services. Consult our Flat Rate Menu for more information and check with one of our attorneys if there is a matter you would like to discuss.
- Contingent Fees: Contingent fees are commonly used for Personal Injury, Medical Malpractice and other litigation cases in which a set percentage, which would be discussed at the initial consultation, is agreed upon before the case is started. In most cases, the hours worked by the attorney far outweigh the contingency fee earned.
- Hourly Billing: Most traditionally, attorneys are paid an hourly rate for the billable time they dedicate to your file. Our hourly rates are competitive with law firms in Western New York and our flexibility in setting up feasible payment plans with each of our clients helps us serve you and represent you zealously and faithfully.
The hourly billing fee is determined by multiplying the hourly billing rate of the professional providing the service and the time he or she spends on the matter. At the beginning of the matter, we will provide you with our hourly billing rates and an estimate of the total fee. When hourly billing is used, we will typically charge a retainer fee (frequently one half of the estimated total fee) when we begin the case. We will bill against the retainer fee as time is accrued on the file. If it becomes apparent that our fee will exceed our estimate of the total fee due to unforeseen circumstances, we will discuss this fact with you and obtain instructions as to how you wish to proceed.
We set fixed fees based on the following factors; 1) the client's needs and desired results; 2) the information provided by the client at the initial meeting; 3) the client's time requirements; 4) the scope of the services required; 5) the difficulty of the issues involved; and 6) our estimate of the time that will be required to provide the necessary services.
A retainer fee is a fee deposit. HoganWillig will hold the retainer fee in our client operating account. We will make withdrawals from this deposit to pay our fees as they are accrued.
Yes, as industry standard, clients are typically billed for costs and expenses paid to parties who provide services in connection with your file. For example, you would be responsible for fees to record documents, court filing fees, premiums for surety bonds, and fees for third party experts. You will be provided with an estimate of these costs and expenses when you engage our services, and depending on the amount of the expected expenditures, we will discuss the matter with you in advance.
Yes, we understand that circumstances arise that make it difficult for our clients to come to us. We will meet with a client in his or her home, another professional's office, a hospital, a nursing home, or an assisted living facility. In some cases, particularly those files billed hourly or on a flat rate, there may be an extra charge for this service.
Will you provide me with a written explanation of the services to be provided and the fees to be charged?
Yes, at the beginning of each case we will provide you with a written engagement letter (also known as a retainer agreement) that will define the scope of the services that we will deliver and the fee schedule we have agreed upon.
Since fixed fees are used in a number of different areas of our practice, the billing and expectation of payment are usually discussed with the client at the outset. For percentage or contingent fees, we will bill you when the matter is complete. For matters billed hourly, we will bill you on a periodic basis (typically, a monthly basis). The invoice will be itemized to include the dates of delivered services, a detailed description of the services provided and the time required for each service. As required by ethics rules, matters within our Family Law Department include information on the bill that describes the staff member that delivered the service as well as the rate at which each service was billed.
We accept payment by check, cash, and credit card. We accept most credit cards including VISA, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. For your convenience you can pay your bill online by clicking the 'current clients' tab on our website and selecting 'make a payment'.
On occasion, a family member or other third party will offer to pay the legal fee for a variety of reasons. We will accept payment from the family member or third party only with your consent and with the understanding that you are the client, we will protect your confidences and we will accept instructions only from you.
Please note, that due to ethical rules and the reality that there is a degree of uncertainty in all cases, attorneys are generally prevented from guaranteeing a certain result or specifically predicting how much time and effort will be necessary to provide a result satisfactory to the client at the outset of the case.