Maintaining a good attorney – client relationship is essential to the attorney’s proper representation of the client.
A clear understanding of legal fees is imperative for a good attorney-client relationship because misunderstandings do occur. This page is not part of your fee agreement and is for informational purposes only. Schenk, Schenk & Haines Attorneys at Law focus on litigation that includes family law and other civil litigation, including personal injury and wrongful death. We also handle criminal law cases.
The Texas Supreme Court has promulgated the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct and said in those rules that there are several factors to be considered in determining the appropriate legal fees for a case. Some of those factors are:
- the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly, or, how much work is there to be done? Does the particular work take special skill gained by the lawyers experience? Are there difficult or complex questions?
- the likelihood, if apparent to the client that the acceptance of the particular employment will prelude other employment by the attorney; (meaning an attorney can’t work on another case while working on yours). Your case may keep the attorney from accepting other cases due to the time required by your case or because of ethical conflicts.
- the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal service.
- the amount involved and the result obtained; for example; What is the value in money or other terms, of the things in controversy, such as the value of a child’s well being in a custody fight?
- the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances; for example; Is the client making the case involve too much of the attorney’s time? Are there too many telephone calls? Is the case time sensitive in and of itself? Has the client waited too long to get the attorney involved?
- the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client.
- the experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney or attorneys performing the services.
- whether the fee is fixed or contingent on results obtained or uncertainty of collection before the legal services have been rendered.
There are no flat fees for any type of work done by Schenk, Schenk & Haines. An estimate of fees may be made, but if so, that’s exactly what it is, an estimate.
A client can greatly reduce total fees by full and timely cooperation.
Information gathering that can be done adequately and in a timely manner by the client saves attorney time and keeps fees down. A client that carefully follows the instructions of the attorney is likely to reduce the overall cost of the legal representation. Remember, when the attorney says get something done, the attorney probably knows it has to be done in a timely manner.
Schenk, Schenk & Haines charges for all legal work on an hourly basis. The hourly rate may vary from case to case, depending on the type and complexity of the case. All out of pocket expenses, such as court cost, process servers, investigators and court reporter’s fees are paid by the client. A law office is not a bank and it is expected that bills for legal work will be promptly paid when received by the client.
All work is charged for, including time spent by the attorney on the telephone, whether talking to the client or to another concerning the client’s case. Telephone calls are charged at $20.00 per call by the attorney and $10.00 per call by office staff. When a lawyer receives a call about a matter, it is necessary to shift gears, get away from the matter at hand and attend to the matter brought on by the telephone call. After the call, the attorney has to make any necessary notes concerning the call, and put aside whatever was involved or related to the matter under consideration before the telephone call was interrupted. All of this takes time. That time is a proper charge.
Attorneys have significant expenses. Rent or cost of an office, employees, business equipment, supplies, and tools of the trade are essential. And even in a small office in Wichita Falls, TX, maintaining a computer supported essential law library cost hundreds every month.
Many attorneys including Schenk, Schenk & Haines often require a retainer for taking on cases. A retainer is placed in a trust account maintained by the attorney, that affords the money to pay for the lawyer’s services and expenses as they are incurred. The client keeps the retainer at the balance agreed upon before the time of employment. You pay for your groceries before you cook them, you pay for your car before you drive it, you pay for your attorney before they work for you.
Your case is likely the only one you have. An attorney deals with many cases at a time. Every client an attorney has believes his or her case is as important as you believe yours is. You are entitled to the best representation you can get for your case. Your attorney is entitled to be paid for the work he or she does. For client convenience we do accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and PayPal for payment of client fees as well as cash, check and e-check.
Please ask all the questions you want about your legal fees. Schenk, Schenk & Haines does not mind discussing your fees with you. You need to understand the fee arrangement. You are going to be charged for the legal work done and you are expected to pay for it in a timely manner.
Notice to Clients:
The State Bar of Texas investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct committed by Texas attorneys. Although not every complaint against or dispute with an attorney involves professional misconduct, the State Bar’s Office of General Counsel will provide you with information about how to file a complaint. Call 1-800-932-1900 for more information.
Thank you for taking the time to read this information about attorneys and fees. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to