Consultation and Attorney Fee Policies
A confidential, initial meeting allows you to openly discuss your particular legal issues and concerns with one of our attorneys, who will listen, answer and ask questions, and provide you advice and guidance so you can make informed decisions. We use our experience, knowledge and resources to provide a valued service to you. Since we are a fee-based law firm, we charge a fair rate for our time, including initial meetings.
You should expect to spend a minimum of one hour with an attorney, and your meeting fee will be based on that lawyer's hourly rate. When you make your appointment, this will be confirmed in further detail. If your matter can be resolved during the initial meeting, then you will simply owe the fee based on the time you spent discussing and resolving your issues. If you retain our law firm to represent you moving forward, then you and your attorney will discuss the retainer fee and payment options based on your particular situation.
Based on your preference, and for your convenience, we can also conduct initial meetings by telephone or Zoom technology. We do this regularly for out-of-area individuals. We are mindful of your time, so please let us know how we can help.
Attorneys traditionally charge fees for their services in a number of different ways, and it usually depends on the type of legal matter. Anyone who has watched TV in Michigan knows that personal injury lawyers have free, initial consultations and they don't get paid unless you win or settle. Anyone who has been involved in business litigation knows that most firms charge hourly rates to defend cases.
These are well-established methods for attorneys to charge for their legal services. We recognize these traditions, but since we are a small law firm, we can be flexible and work with our clients so the attorney-client relationship is a win-win for both parties. We charge fair and reasonable fees and you receive exceptional legal and client services. After all, this is a service business. Our commitment is to our clients first and profits second, and that is how our law firm has operated for over 120 years.
We understand that legal fees and costs need to be carefully managed. Sometimes, unfortunately, rising fees are difficult to contain because of an opposing party's actions in a case or legal matter. Nevertheless, we work in teams to handle each legal matter as efficiently and effectively as possible. Our attorneys combine their ~80 years of experience together with our legal support professionals' collective experience of 70-plus years to provide valued services at fair costs.
Some of the traditional fee arrangements include:
- Hourly Fees. A client retains our firm at set hourly rates based on the situation. Each lawyer and legal support professional has a set rate, and it is known ahead of time and in writing. This is the traditional fee arrangement for most legal services in our firm.
- Flat Fees. A client retains our firm to provide a specific service for a set price. This is a traditional fee arrangement for cases involving criminal, traffic, civil infraction issues, as well as driver's license restoration appeals. Flat fees make sense in cases and situations where the time and resources to complete a case or engagement are predictable based on past experiences. There can be a few exceptions for things such as trial time and unusual circumstances.
- Contingency Fees. A client retains our firm and pays us a percentage of the financial recovery, plus out-of-pocket costs, whether through settlement or litigation. This is the traditional fee arrangement for certain collection cases and other plaintiff-side litigation.
- Hybrid Arrangements. A client retains our firm and we are compensated based on a mix between hourly, flat and/or contingency fees, depending on the situation. This arrangement can be used in plaintiff-side litigation, usually because a specific circumstance calls for something other than contingency or hourly arrangements.
- Business Retainer Arrangements. A client, most always a business, retains our firm and pays a fixed fee on a monthly (or other periodic) basis. In return, our legal team is always available to provide advice and counseling on specific legal practice areas. This traditional fee arrangement works best when a business client requires services regularly, and is beneficial for the business because of the predictability of fees for accounting and budgeting purposes.