Most of the jobs we strive to give you an exact amount of your cost. We do them so often, so we know roughly how much time we will have to spend. All bankruptcy cases, immigration cases and uncontested divorces are such.
For these services we offer flat-fee – you pay a one-time fee – there’s no guess work. You know exactly how much the entire project will cost. If we end up spending more time than anticipated, you won’t owe anything extra. Some cases we take on flat fee:
Prenuptial agreement $1,000
Uncontested divorce no kids $1,500
Uncontested divorce with kids $2,500
Green card – family based $1,500
Fiance Visa K1 – $1,000 ($500 discount later on the green card application after marriage)
H1-B work visa $1,500
Student Visa $500
Green card – work based – $4,000
We take most of our personal-injury and employment litigation cases on a contingency fee. Instead of paying your lawyer an hourly rate throughout the representation, you assign a percentage of your recovery to your attorney.
Most personal injury cases are taken on a 25-35% contingency, however, that amount is sometimes lowered if your case settles quickly and your attorney didn’t have to spend too many hours on it. In most cases, the percentage you assign is exclusive of costs. That means you’re responsible for paying the costs of your lawsuit (filing fees, subpoena costs, etc) in addition to paying your attorney for his time, effort, and skill.
We can only take a case on contingency if: (A) there is an amount of money that you are seeking to recover (e.g., lost wages), and (B) we think there is a good chance that we will be able to prevail and recover something for you. If you do not meet those requirements, you will need to pay your attorney by the hour. Situations that commonly require you to pay hourly include:
Non-Compete defense – when an employer is suing you, or threatening to sue you. In this situation, there is no monetary award that we are seeking. Because there’s no monetary award for us to take our fee out of, we typically charge by-the-hour.
Low recovery prospects – if your case has merit, but you haven’t lost a lot of money. In this situation, the potential award at the end of the case is low. A percentage of a small award would not be sufficient to compensate us for our time. In that situation, we would most likely charge by the hour.
Your Choice. Sometimes our clients decide that it just makes better sense for them to pay by the hour. If you have flexible funds, it may be less expensive for you to pay an hourly rate, rather than assigning a percentage of your recovery. This is a common choice for our severance negotiation clients.
Attorney time – $250 per hour
Why low compared other attorneys in the bay area?
It is customary to believe that higher price means much better representation. I’ve been in many court hearing and was arguing against attorneys who charge two times more than me. The judge courteously listen to them and then decides what ever he believes to be right and what the law dictates. Lawyers know the law; judges know the law even better (they started their career as a lawyer); having a pricey lawyer, will not guarantee better results.; in most cases not only you will have to pay higher rates, but also you would be charged for 2 – 3 times more hours for all the extra unneeded preparation work.
An example of a recent case – a case of alleged domestic violence – we were asking the judge to appoint a psychologist to evaluate the kid. The other side fiercely opposed that. The opponent was represented by a high profile law firm, two attorneys came (one is charging at $300 / hr, and the other one, a partner, was charging at around $500 / hr) – we spend about an hour talking to the judge, and the judge’s decision, which was clearly anticipated, was that if there is a doubt, better to appoint a psychological evaluation. On the spot we went to ‘family services’ in court and had a psychologist interviewing everybody. I charged my client for my time in court about 4 hours and for preparation about 2 hours, total of $1,500.
I guess that the other law firm charged their client about 5-10 hours of attorney fees to prepare for the case; they brought a 2″ thick folders with a copy for me, and a copy for the judge; it had supporting evidence which made no sense, and copies of older petitions which everybody already had. Being able to show this HUGE folder to their client (who I guess was first time in her life represented by a lawyer) justified them charging her for additional hours of preparation.
Total the other client probably paid: 3 hours of paralegal ($150/hr) to prepare the material + 4 hours for being in court for TWO attorneys total of $800/hr + 5-10 hours of attorney fees for preparation I guess a total of $8,000 – at the end of the day an attorney who practice family law could have anticipated the results. But the difference in fees was huge: my fees $1,500 compared to the fees the other side had to pay around $8,000.
Some clients belief that if they pay more they will get more. In reality hearings and trials are NOT as they seem in movies; judges have dealt with the same issues again and again, and the outcome in most cases is foreseeable. The main importance of having a lawyer on your side is to be able to sort what is relevant and what is not, and be able to properly present it to the court. Higher paid lawyer not necessary do this job better. With all due respect to really good and experienced lawyers – paying so much for it is not worth it.
I’ve seen many lawyers and law firms bill their clients way to much, most of it is for unnecessary work. I don’t think it is fair to the client.
The fee for in office consultation is based on hourly rate with one hour minimum.
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