|At the outset of any significant project, we work with our client to develop an appropriate financial plan for the work to be performed. Especially in matters of controversy (whether a business negotiation or business litigation), this financial plan often departs from what actually develops on account of -- as is frequently the case -- the occurrence of an unanticipated event. For this and other reasons and in furtherance of the needs of our clients, the Firm employs a variety of billing methods, generally categorized as follows:
Hourly Rate Agreements. An hourly rate agreement is one in which client and the Firm agree that legal services are to be paid for as such services are provided. Generally, the Firm's time is billed at hourly rates which vary consistent with the experience of the various lawyers and staff who work on the case. The practice of the Firm is to employ non-lawyers (e.g., litigation or corporate paralegals) wherever possible to assist the lawyers in the conduct of a case. The Firm's hourly rates are usually provided either in the engagement letter or in a separate mailing and are always available upon request. Often a retainer agreement or a formal engagement letter is signed early on in the relationship. Unless other arrangements are made in advance, the client will be invoiced on a monthly or other regular basis for the time spent by the Firm on a client's matter and for costs and expenses incurred on behalf of the client. Hourly rate agreements are often used where the scope or type of service to be provided is not routine or evolve over time or will be determined by factors outside the control of the client (e.g., an opposing litigant, a corporate acquisition or a similar type of custom engagement). When entering into an hourly fee arrangement, the client is encouraged to seek estimates for the work, to arrive at an agreed upon monthly payment schedule irrespective of the activity that month. Litigation budgets can often form a part of the communication process. While the ongoing detailed reporting sometimes itself increases the level work, with email and fax deliveries, short and informal updates become a more effective tool to solidify and bolster the attorney client relationship.
Fixed Fee Agreements. Certain types of non-adversarial business matters lend themselves to a fixed fee arrangement. These types of projects include corporate reorganizations, probate, the preparation of wills and related estate planning documents, trust planning, the creation of family limited partnerships and similar types of work. Often when there are known parameters to an assignment (e.g., a corporate reorganization) and unknown parameters (e.g., having to work with an existing loan agreement which must be reworked in order to accommodate a new corporate structure), the Firm employs a fixed fee component to the relationship and an hourly portion. Where feasible the Firm employs a fixed fee relationship within the parameters of some agreed to boundaries of the assignment.
Contingency Fee Agreements. A contingency fee agreement is one in which the client and the Firm agree that legal services are provided to client but are not paid for unless or until there is an award made to client by the opposing party. The client usually does not wish to or perhaps cannot afford to pay an hourly fee for the necessary services as they are provided. In such instances, the Firm receives an assignment of the case proceeds for an agreed upon share of this amount in compensation for services rendered. Unless otherwise set forth in the engagement letter, the client usually deposits sufficient funds with the Firm as an advance to cover expenses for court filing fees, deposition and investigation expenses, and related litigation expenses. The contingency fee, again unless otherwise set forth in the engagement letter, is calculated on the gross proceeds. Contingency fee agreements are often used when a client has suffered some financial or personal injury, and where the financial strength of the opposing party and the sought after substantial monetary award are present in the case. When the client is a defendant or the subject of a counterclaim or is seeking non-monetary benefits from the litigation, a contingency fee arrangement is more difficult, yet sometimes still possible, to structure.
Please note that all work done is subject to the AMENDED AND RESTATED CLIENT INFORMATION: DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND GUIDELINES ON ADMINISTRATION & BILLING (as to Capstone's services) or the AMENDED AND RESTATED CLIENT INFORMATION: DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND GUIDELINES ON ADMINISTRATION & BILLING (as to the Firm's services), as the case may be.
THE FELDMAN LAW FIRM LLP
510 Bering Dr., Suite 500
Houston, TX 77057-1457