Our Fees and Costs
Effective legal representation does not need to be expensive. The Rankin Law Firm is committed to helping clients set and accomplish their legal goals through reasonable and flexible billing options. To do so, we provide several billing options for affordable counsel and representation. We offer flexible fee arrangements and payment methods because we understand that you and your legal issues are unique.
The billing options depend on the type of representation required, and will likely vary from matter to matter and client to client. We always discuss the fee arrangement before doing any work on your matter. The following are some of the common fee arrangements:
The Contingent Fee
The contingent or conditional fee arrangement is one in which the client makes no up-front payment for time or expenses required in representation. Our fees are calculated before deducting expenses as a percentage of any recovery obtained for the client. Under a contingent fee agreement, both the attorney and the client share equally in the risk and reward. Instead of paying out-of-pocket, the fees are assessed at conclusion of your matter from the recovery we obtain for you. Typical expenses, for which the client will be responsible regardless of outcome, may include court filing fees, process server fees, fed-ex delivery, substantial copying projects, deposition transcript costs, expert fees, etc. The contingent fee may increase depending on extent of litigation required to reach the desired result in your case.
The Consultation Fee
Many people shy away from seeking the advice of an attorney because of the perceived costs and hassle. A confidential consultation with an attorney helps clients make more informed legal decisions about whether to hire our office based on an initial assessment of the case. In some types of cases, we charge a reasonable consultation fee to provide an initial assessment of the case and present a proposal for how the case might be handled. If you decide to retain our services, we can apply your consultation fee toward your first bill. At a consultation we will review any important legal documents, answer your questions, explain your legal options, point out potential complications, and explore likely outcomes and costs. A confidential consultation is a valuable way to explore what kind of representation the circumstances may require.
The Flat Fee
A common fee arrangement, whereby the client pays a simple flat fee for a specified legal service. The most common type of legal services provided for a flat fee are criminal defense matters, uncontested divorces, and some estate planning services. A flat fee may be paid all at once or in installments.
The Hourly Fee
You've probably heard the saying that attorney's time is his stock and trade. Clients retain attorneys to provide their time and apply their knowledge, advice, and thoughtful consideration to help clients solve their problems. In many contested cases it is impossible to predict the amount amount of time required for effective representation as circumstances may change during the course of litigation. Our hourly fee is assessed in increments of one-tenth of an hour. Generally, an attorney's hourly fee should fairly reflect his or her level of skill and experience. Hourly-fee arrangements are set up to bill a client for the time that an attorney or paralegal spends in the thoughtful of his or her matter.
The "Retainer" and "Replenishable Retainer" Requirement
Oftentimes, and in connection with any of the above arrangements, an advanced retainer of some kind will be required, against which the client's bill for fees or costs will be billed on a monthly basis. The purpose of a retainer is to ensure that funds will be available to compensate the law office for work performed and costs advanced. All advanced retainers remain the property of the client until earned, and are held in a Client Trust Account until earned. Any unused funds are returned to the client at the completion of his or her matter. For litigation and ongoing representation, a client may be asked to maintain a certain balance at all times, and replenish it whenever it dips below an agreed-upon amount.