Types of fee agreements
Things you should know about criminal law fees
Things you should know about family law fees
All of my practice areas focus on the courtroom, and focus on people. The areas of criminal law, divorce and custody law, and personal injury are related well.
The rules of courtroom procedure, such as evidentiary objections and timelines, are very similar between the three areas.
My experience in criminal litigation gives me an advantage in family law and personal injury as criminal cases apply the rules of evidence and timelines more strictly.
My experience in handling cases with motor vehicles, domestic disputes, and people that have been harmed in each of my areas of practice enhances my ability to help clients.
I will provide you with an honest assessment of your case based upon my office consultation. My fees are based upon the amount of effort, knowledge and experience that I will put into your case.
I quote retainers at my office after meeting with clients so I am fully aware of their situation. Quoting fees over the phone without first meeting are usually too high or too low and do not ensure quality representation.
Clients receive a detailed monthly billing to the tenth of an hour for what has been done on their case by myself and my paralegals, as well as documentation on all expenses. You are only billed by me for the time actually worked.
Lawyer regulations allow contingency fees on traffic accident and personal injury cases. Flat fees and refundable retainers are allowed on criminal cases and family law cases.
Below are descriptions of fee agreements that I offer to clients.
Almost all traffic accident and personal injury cases are handled on a contingent fee. This means that there is no money paid for legal fees until there is a settlement or verdict for money. My firm keeps a percentage of the winnings. The amount of that percentage typically depends on how far the case progresses before a settlement or final verdict is obtained.
Clients are responsible for the expenses. Usually this can be paid out of the client’s settlement at the end of the case. Sometimes this only includes photocopies and postage.
Other times it can include private investigators or expert witnesses. My clients are always consulted prior to incurring large expenses to pursue their case.
I offer refundable retainers on criminal cases, something that is not typically done in Minnesota.
In Iowa, refundable retainers on criminal cases are required by the lawyer rules.
On all family law cases I offer refundable retainers.
A client places money into a trust fund regulated by the state bar association. That money is used to pay for legal fees and expenses every month.
You only pay for the work and expenses you receive. If your case settles before trial, which many do, you receive a refund.
Example in a criminal misdemeanor case:
$3,000 initial retainer for a case.
Attorney and paralegal fees of $450.
Expenses of $50.
Total bill = $500.
You receive $2,500 in return.
In Minnesota it is common to handle criminal cases on a flat fee. This is the only amount the client will pay for a hearing, or for the entire case through a jury trial. If a client wished to cap their fees for each hearing, or for the entire case, I do offer flat fee retainers.
I do not quote clients a flat fee that is more than enough to cover my time and expenses. Many lawyers will quote a large flat fee, particularly for DWI / DUI pre-trial and implied consent hearings. Much of the research and motions are duplicated from other cases, and sometimes unjustified promises are made.
I do offer an accounting on flat fees to show the client the value of their services received from my office.
I have defended and prosecuted numerous major felony cases throughout my legal career. Felony cases are more serious and typically have more issues that require more hearings before a trial.
Handling felonies makes me more than capable of handling a DWI / DUI, misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor. The reverse, however, is not necessarily true. Most lawyers who handle predominately DWI / DUI and traffic offenses should not accept a felony case.
I always plan with clients for the possibility of a trial. Some lawyers put clients in a position where they are out of options because the fee agreement only covers pre-trial matters or an implied consent hearing on a DWI / DUI.
It is the client’s right to decide whether or not he wants to go to trial, not the attorney. This is always respected and strongly defended by my office.
Most criminal misdemeanor cases, including DWI / DUI, will settle short of trial and you should not pay a large initial fee without a definite plan to raise good issues at a contested hearing and/or a trial.
No matter what you are told as you search for an attorney, the attorney you choose does not necessarily change what a prosecutor will initially offer to you. As a former elected prosecutor that won re-election, I know that if prosecutors offered plea bargains based on who the accused hired as a lawyer, that prosecutor would not stay in office long.
In family law cases your fees will depend upon how much you can or cannot agree with your ex-spouse. The more issues you can agree to it is likely your bill will be less. The fewer issues you can agree to it is likely your bill will be more, potentially much more based on the level of animosity between the two spouses.
We accept most major credit cards, and also accept cash, check, or money order for legal fees and expenses.