15 Jan 2019 - Purna Krishnamoorthy
Hello blog readers!
I apologize for the lack of blog posts. I try to write about 2 per month, but with a full client list and last month’s holiday season, that just wasn’t as feasible as I had originally thought.
In any case, after taking a *small* poll (I use this term loosely) on Facebook, there were a couple requests made on the basics of hiring an attorney. Just the things that one may want to consider when undergoing the hiring process.
Retainers are something that we as lawyers generally take for granted that our clients have an understanding of. There are 2 ways that our law firm, specifically, deals with retainers.
1) You can “keep us” on retainer. This means that you can sign an agreement with us to enter into a contract whereby you make installment payments into an account. To keep us on retainer means there is no “necessary deposit” that must be made since there is not yet a pending legal matter. This account remains untouched until you need to utilize our services.
There are a few benefits to this method:
One is that in the event that some unforeseen legal circumstance arises that calls for a lump sum of money, you already have this money set aside. Moreover, because you are a retained client, we are available for you to reach us 24/7, should this issue come up at an “ungodly hour.”
Many times people who do not keep an attorney on retainer end up in predicaments that could have otherwise been avoided by simply telling law enforcement that they wish to speak to their lawyer. While many people are familiar with this “coined phrase” during the times when this saying holds the most weight, they fail to utilize it because they don’t actually yet “have” a lawyer. Hence, our favorite hashtags (for our Instagram followers) #getlawyeredup and #staylawyeredup …these hashtags are worth their weight in gold so long as you have us on retainer!
Another benefit is that should you be an individual who seems to need legal services at an above average rate, we can provide these to you with limited set-up time. For example, let’s say you just got out of a messy/tumultuous divorce. Let’s further say that due to this you are now experiencing a rather heavy influx of motions from your ex-spouse. While you can handle a few on your own and don’t feel the need to hire an attorney for each and every matter, you would like for an attorney to simply draft your answers and/or possibly represent you on a few of the matters. Keeping an attorney on retainer is always nice in a scenario such as this, as it allows you the freedom to keep a person available to you, should the need arise. We have also had many of our business owning clients in the past keep us on retainer for contract review purposes- just another thought to consider.
2) You can sign a “retainer agreement” with us. For our firm, this means that there is a pending legal matter that you are hiring us to specifically represent you on. You are required at this point to deposit a sum of money (the retainer) into an account. This deposit allows us to begin work on your matter immediately and once this retainer has been fully used, you will be billed monthly at the hourly rate for work over and above the retainer amount, unless/until the retainer is replenished.
This is generally a better option for people who don’t have money to continuously pour into a “just in case” retainer. The limited initial deposit ensures that work on your matter can begin expeditiously. While it will be necessary to keep up with your monthly invoices to ensure the relationship between yourself and your attorney remains stellar, the signing of a retainer agreement is a very common practice.
Flat Fee Agreements
A flat fee agreement is a rather straight forward concept, but for the sake of a thorough blog post, it shall be addressed.
A flat fee is an amount that the attorney charges for a particular matter. Generally this fee is paid upfront and does not account for the number of hours the attorney spends working on your case. Our firm generally charges flat fees for our criminal cases and our estate planning services. These usually are not assessed at an hourly rate. This of course, like many other things, is subject to change based on the facts and circumstances of each individuals case, and at the discretion/direction of the attorney handling your matter.
What to bring with you at your initial consultation meeting?
During the initial consultation process it is vital that you bring ALL THE DOCUMENTS you have in your possession that are related to the pending matter. Any document, regardless of whether you deem it to be insignificant or not, could potentially hold information that we as professionals can glean from its review. No matter if it is as small as a bond receipt or as large as your charging document, bring EVERYTHING! It’s better to have it and not need it, rather than to need it and not have it. (#gemdrop for those of your paying attention!)
We like to have the clearest of pictures when evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each of our client’s cases. Needless to say, once a representation agreement has been signed you can then meet with us as many times as you wish. However, it is still best practice to share with us as many details as is possible as early on as is possible. After all, the more we know and the sooner we know, the better we can prepare.
Wrap it up, the blog is getting too long…
The point of these blogs is to share tidbits of information that our potential clients, and/or the community who seeks legal knowledge, can benefit from- without boring you. Therefore in an effort to keep this an actual “tidbit,” I’ll leave you with:
If any of you have any further questions regarding “the basics,” or anything else that a professional such as myself can be of assistance with, please feel free to contact Krishnamoorthy & Associates, PLLC. at (248) 358-6995.
And remember Metro-Detroit, #getlawyeredup #staylawyeredup with your Detroit Lawyer!!