As far as we know, we're the only Law Firm in the Valley that offers Task Billing, where the client pays the appropriate hourly rate for the task being performed, regardless of whom is doing it. There are many "tasks" or parts of a case that may be essential, but don't require a lawyer. In the old days, there used to be secretaries who did this work. Now we have paralegals or assistants. Some lawyers still operate without paralegals or staff people, which means they may charge you the lawyer's rate for all work.
The lawyer and the paralegal are both preparing for Court. The paralegal is typing so the lawyer needs to make the photocopies. At most firms, the lawyer would charge $280 per hour to make copies. We charge $60 per hour because while making copies is a necessary clerical task, it doesn't require a law degree.
We do not believe it is fair for you to pay the Lawyer’s rate for a clerical task. We realize that Task Billing may result in less income for our practice, but we are comfortable with that because it's fair to the client. Different Lawyers charge different rates and no one system can guarantee better results. We just feel that a client should evaluate all systems before choosing.
In most cases, we require a "retainer" which is an amount that will take us through the initial evaluation of your case which consists of your and the opposition's version of the case and possibly some research. (if there is a "retainer" balance after the evaluation that amount will be applied to your "reserve" account.).
After we have evaluated your case, we met with you and agree on the "reserve". The "reserve" is the amount you need to maintain in escrow as your case evolves. You will be expected to maintain your "reserve" by:
1. Making weekly payments (credit cards accepted). or
2. By paying the monthly bill when you receive it. As an example; say we agree on a $2,500 "reserve" and we billed you $800 for the month. When you pay the $800 you are replenishing your account back to the $2,500 "reserve" amount.
From time to time we may need to adjust the "reserve" either up or down depending upon the status of your case. If the case looks like it will take less time the payments may be suspended. If the case looks like it may take more time the payments may be increased. At any rate any changes either way will be discussed and agreed to by both of us. After your case is over, if there is any money left in escrow, you will get a refund.
$280 - Lawyer Time - i.e. court preparation, court, plea negotiations
$120 - Paralegal Time - i.e. file paperwork, research, court
$60 - Clerical Tasks - i.e. copies, telephone, travel
DWI/District Court Criminal - $2,000 to $2,200 for a Plea, $3,000 to $3,300 for a Trial
Wills - $350 per person for all four documents, including the Will, Powers of Attorney for Health and Financial and a Living Will.