My fee structure is flexible and depends on the complexity of the matter, the urgency of the matter, my experience dealing with similar cases and the ability of the client to pay.
Generally, I charge by the hour and my hourly fee for most matters is $300 to $400 (three hundred to four hundred dollars) an hour plus expenses. Expenses include, but are not limited to, long distance telephone calls, court associated costs, document processing, photocopying, facsimile, delivery costs and travel expenses. If a court reporter is needed to be hired or a private judge, the client would be expected to front those expenses. In hourly fee cases I require a retainer fee. This is an up-front fee charged to open your case and insure payment of my time to get up to speed in your case and do the initial work in your case. As an example only, if your medical license was the subject of an Accusation by the Medical Board of California, I may charge you an up-front retainer fee of $5,000. I am able to keep fees low by not maintaining an expensive office or staff and by out-sourcing as necessary. I do not mind coming to your office, home or business or meeting you at the library or courthouse. I normally meet my client’s for the first time at an office in Downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco or San Diego which I pay for.
There are exceptions to the hourly fee structure as follows:
As an example only, it is possible that in a criminal matter I may take a flat fee up-front that would cover professional services for the entire matter through a certain stage. An example would be a fee of $25,000 to cover all consultations, plea negotiations and all court appearances, from arraignment through a jury trial, in a moderately complex felony matter. Again, expenses would be extra. If there is an appeal, a separate agreement would need to be made between us for additional fees to handle the appeal.
As an example only, I may agree to accept a fee of $5,000 to handle an administrative matter with limited task and time expectations. For instance, I could be hired by you to represent you in a hearing where the government was attempting to immediately suspend your nursing license based on your arrest for a crime involving alcohol or drugs. As an example only, I may agree to accept a fee of $500 to write a letter to your ex-employer protesting your termination and demanding a hearing allowed by your employer’s guidelines as set forth in the employer’s Employee Handbook.
As a general rule I do not accept cases where my fee is contingent on winning the case either by settlement or at trial. The only exception is State or Federal False Claims Act cases. In these cases, the client would only be responsible for the Court filing fees and expenses related to preparing the Disclosure Statement. Outside of the False Claims Act cases and possibly Art Law matters, I do not handle civil litigation matters.
As an example only, if I were to become your personal, family and/or business lawyer after we had developed a professional relationship over time, I would charge you a monthly fee which would cover all services up to a set number of hours and be available to you as needed. In such arrangements, it is contemplated that I would work exclusively for you, your family and/or business. Matters outside of my expertise and most civil litigation matters would be referred to outside counsel.