To schedule a confidential consultation, call (732) 572-0500
Kenneth Vercammen & Associates, P.C. 2053 Woodbridge Avenue - Edison, NJ 08817

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fees Charged by Attorneys

The Courts Rules of Professional Conduct do not specifically permit us to discuss fees over the phone. We have found that most people desire an experienced, competent attorney, not the cheapest, least expensive attorney. Attorneys fees usually cannot be estimated until we are provided with facts and documents in writing.
Litigation Matters
For Litigation Matters not involving personal matters Personal Injury, experienced attorneys charge between 200 -$375 per hour for their service and advice. Wall Street Attorneys in New York will charge even $400 per hour.
Criminal, DWI, Traffic
These are usually handled on a Flat Fee basis, not hourly.
Wills, Power of Attorney Document Preparation
Documents are usually prepared on a Flat Fee basis. If attorney charges are requested after the document is prepared, there will be a change in charges.
Probate / Administration of Estate
Probate matters are handled on an hourly basis. For Litigation Matters not involving personal matters Personal Injury, experienced attorneys charge between 200 -$375 per hour for their service and advice.
Persona Injury
Handled on a 33 % contingency. No fee unless recovery.
When do I need a lawyer?
This really depends on your situation. Generally, you should think
about obtaining legal advice regarding:
* adoptions
* Serious accidents
* Deaths
* Business transactions
* Starting or terminating a business
* Being accused of a crime
* When someone sues you
* Planning for distribution of your property and/or care of your young children after your death
* Writing a will
* Retirement planning
If a problem like one of these faces you, call my office as soon as you can. Many simple problems get more complicated as time passes.
When in doubt, talk with me. A brief in office consultation can help you decide if a lawyer¹s assistance is needed.
When I get a lawyer, what can I expect?
In most cases, my representation follows a careful step-by-step process that may include:
* Conferring with you, the client to pinpoint the situation and determine what you wish to accomplish
* Gathering and analyzing all available facts and information
* Interviewing everyone involved with the case
* Studying laws and previous decisions that may apply to your situation
* Offering advice and preparing contracts or other appropriate documents (such as wills, incorporation papers, filings with zoning boards, etc).
* Preparing legal arguments for contested matters, and representing you in any negotiations for settlement and court appearances.
Don¹t Try To Cut Corners When Facing Crucial Issues in Your Life.
It might be dangerous for you to choose a lawyer purely on an estimate of fees. ³Shopping around" for the "cheapest " lawyer may not be the best approach because that lawyer may not be the most qualified to handle the case. You also want to be certain an attorney is doing most of the work, rather than an inexperienced new lawyer or legal secretaries or clerks.
What Should I Do at my First Meeting Concerning Legal Advice?
* Be prepared to give a brief explanation of your legal problem‹ and what ultimate result you would like the lawyer to help you achieve.
* Bring copies of any written records that explain your problem.
*Write down questions you want the lawyer to answer.
How Do I Insure a Good Lawyer-Client Relationship?
Remember, good legal assistance is not a one-way street. You have to cooperate with my office if you really want to be helped.
The attorney-client relationship is confidential except, according to the Rules of Professional Conduct, if it is necessary for the lawyer to disclose information to the proper authorities in order to prevent a client from committing a criminal, illegal or fraudulent act likely to perpetrate a fraud upon a tribunal. Here are some important tips to follow:
* Please provide me with an objective statement of all the facts. According to the Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer may ³counsel or assist a client in a good faith effort to determine the validity, scope, meaning or application of the law.² However, an attorney is not permitted to ³counsel or assist in conduct that the lawyer knows is illegal, criminal or fraudulent, or in the preparation of a written instrument containing terms the lawyer knows are expressly prohibited by law.²
* Don¹t look for simple, quick answers to complex questions. Lawyers are justifiably cautious in drawing conclusions or answering questions about complicated legal problems. Attorneys and judges know that cases are rarely ³open and shut.²
* Let my office know about any new developments in your case.
* Don¹t hesitate to ask questions about any matter relevant to your case. Remember, though, I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, marriage counselor or financial advisor.
* Work with my office. If you don¹t understand why something should be done or have doubts about some action recommended, ask questions and get an explanation.
* Be patient - Don¹t look for instant results. Trust my office and I to follow through on the case but don¹t hesitate to ask for progress reports from time to time.
About Legal Fees, What Can I Expect?
The time, study, experience and attention your attorney gives your problem all determines the legal fees. I have invested tens of thousands of dollars on such things as education, staff, books, journals, rent, office equipment, and insurance. Consequently, a lawyer must set a charge for his services that is both reasonable and adequate to cover his own investment and expenses.

Because no two legal matters are exactly the same, fees vary widely. Some factors involved are:
* The amount of time and labor spent on your problem and the complexity of your case. To a lawyer, time is money. Most lawyers keep very careful records of the time they and their staff spend on your case. Many attorneys will charge specific fees for meetings, research, courtroom appearances, telephone conversations, etc. This amount of time your lawyer may be required to spend will vary according to the case involved.
* The emergency nature of the case or the likelihood that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer. If the lawyer has to ³drop everything² to handle your matter, the fee may be higher.
* Nature and length of the professional relationship with the client. In a matrimonial matter there must be a written retainer agreement.
* Whether the fee is fixed or contingent. The results obtained often are considered in setting the fee (except for matters in which contingent fees are prohibited by law and the Rules of Professional Conduct). Of course, unless my office takes your case on a contingent fee basis, we except to be paid, no matter what the outcome. (Results can never be guaranteed.)
* If you are suing for compensation for injuries caused by another person¹s negligence, my office may be willing to represent you for a contingent fee. Under this arrangement, I will receive no fee if there is no recovery. (However, you must still pay certain costs directly related to your lawsuit.) A contingent fee agreement must be in writing and must state the method by which the fee is determined, including the percentage accruing to the attorney in the event of settlement, trial, or appeal, litigation and other expenses to be deducted before or after the contingent fee matter, I will provide you with a written statement of the outcome of the matter, and if there is recovery showing the remittance to the client and its method of determination. Under this fee arrangement, I must invest my own time, effort and office expenses without advance payment. This plan permits any injured person, regardless of their financial resources, to be represented by my effort in cases of this type.

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