There are times when prospective clients cannot afford our
services. This is better to learn before the relationship begins, rather than
If that is the case we will try to match the prospective client with a
lawyer whose fee may be more within the prospectiove client’s budget. A referral to outside counsel is a referral only and does not
obligate The Overton Firm to any obligation once the referral is made either implied or expressed.
The Overton Firm strives to
establish a fee payment process that meets the combined desires of the client
and the firm alike.
The criteria that determine
legal fees include: (1) the complexity of the case, (2) the responsible attorney’s years of experience,
(3) the amount of attorney effort (time) expended, (4) the results achieved and (5) the amount of actual office overhead
required to provide the results acheived. We strive to discuss our fees with you during your first consultation before any billable work is undetaken on your behalf.
Rate – The Overton Firm usually
handles matters on an hourly basis (charging for the time we spend at a stated
rate per hour) and expect full monthly payment of fees and expenses. Hourly
attorney’s fees can be expensive, and you may wish to look for another attorney
to handle your matter on a contingency basis if you think you would be unable
to pay as fees are incurred. With this in mind we try to keep our rates affordable for small
businesses and individuals. We will attempt to provide you with a general estimate of what
we think the total fees will come to in your case (if possible) when beginning an
issue; however, if you must keep in mind the simple truth that one cannot plan for or estimate the amouynt of time that may be expended in dealing with an irrational opponent.
Retainer – The Overton Firm charges what is
called a minimum retainer – an upfront advance payment: a minimum fee to accept
the case. Usually this retainer involves a portion which is refundable and a
portion which is non-refundable; generally this is a 3/4 non-refundable and 1/4
refundable portion. What that means is that if The Overton Firm is successful
in getting the case dismissed / settled early and before the attorney has spent
all of the hours originally anticipated in calculating the retainer, you
receive a refund for the remainder of the refundable retainer that remained
unearned. However, if the matter goes beyond the initial retainer there is no refundable portion.
– Mr. Overton’s
standard billing rate is $250/hour and contract or associate billing rate is between
$150-$200 per hour depending on the matter. The Overton Firm also has
several contract law clerks who may at times work on your case. Law
clerk time is
billed at the rate of $65/hour. While several people in this office may
work on your case, The Overton Firm assures you that it will not result
billing for duplicate work.
Fee – The Overton Firm
can also utilize a flat fee for certain types of matters (real
estate contracts or construction contracts; LLC/partnership agreements and other corporate documents; preparing and filing lien notices & preparing/filing the Statement of Affidavit and Account for Lien Filings).
Fee – The Overton Firm
uses contingency fees for certain types of matters (i.e., substantial construction
collections, mechanics liens, etc.) The Overton Firm may agree to represent
you from the beginning until the end of the case on a contingency fee basis at which point you would only be responsible for payment of the actual costs and expenses incurred to prosecute the case (court costs,
filing fees, postage, etc.).
The Overton Firm strives to issue monthly,
computer-generated invoices that can be tailored to provide the degree of
detail which you desire. In most situations, the invoice includes an itemized
list of the work that was performed on your case that month, a list of all fees charged for said work, and a
list of all expenses incurred on behalf of the client.
The invoice will be attached to a letter that includes a
breakdown of how much of the client’s retainer was used and whether or not
there is a credit or a balance due (for any matters that are not being handled on a flat-fee or contingency basis).
Our billing is under a system
called “billable units.” Hours are divided into
quarters (15-minutes), each being a billable unit. Therefore, the minimum time billed for
any action (drafting or reviewing documents) on your specific matter is 1/4 hour.
The standard fee proposal provides for minimum 1/4 hour billing for drafting and reviewing documents and 1/10 of an hour (6-minute) increments for phone calls and reading and responding to emails.
We have found that this saves
the client a great deal of money over time. You are also encouraged to
discuss questions of expenses and fees promptly and openly when they occur to you as you receive your statement each month.
You (the client) will always be responsible for any and all out-of-pocket expenses and charges including but not limited to: (1) any investigator, (2) outside paralegal, (3) expert
witness, (4) travel expense, (5) copying done outside of the office, (6) filing fees, (7) court costs,
(8) witness fees, & (9) all other expenses that may be incurred. Unlike some law firms, we try
not to bill for things that are used in the normal course of business, such as long distance calls, general office supplies, faxes, making in office copies, mailing first class mail, etc.
Keeping the Client
We strive to keep you well informed
as to the progress of your case as long as it is on our hands and has not been
declined or referred to another attorney. When your case is no longer with
us we cannot keep up with the case. The Overton Firm will strive to forward copies of papers coming in and going out of our office, including
correspondence, and other court documents and we do our best to send these via email if possible.
We do not guarantee that we will be able to return a phone call or reply to an email within a certain amount of time. We do our best to return all calls and emails within
the Client and The Overton Firm have fully & mutually executed the Representation/Fee Agreement
do we incur any obligations to each other.
We do not guarantee the
outcome in any case or legal situation; however, every effort will be made to handle
your case according to legal and ethical