There are times when prospective clients cannot afford our services. This is better to learn before the relationship begins, rather than later.
If that is the case we will try to match the prospective client with a lawyer whose fee may be more within the prospective 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.
Hourly 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 amount 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.
Billing Rate – 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 in our billing for duplicate work.
Flat 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).
Contingency 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.)
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(s), (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.
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.
Only when the Client and The Overton Firm have fully & mutually executed the Representation/Fee Agreement do we incur any obligations to each other.