There are generally three different billing methods that our office uses to charge our clients for the legal services that we provide to them. The billing method that will be used in your case will normally depend upon which method works best for your specific matter. The billing methods that we use are as follows:
Flat fee billing is a method of billing where you will be charged one, specific, flat legal fee for all of the legal services to be performed by us on your behalf, regardless of the amount of our time that is necessary to complete your case.
This kind of billing is typically used in cases such as Uncontested Divorces, Uncontested Legal Separations, Divorce Mediation, Wills and Real Estate Matters because these matters are usually fairly straightforward and allow us to predict, with some certainty, what legal services will need to be performed by us on your behalf and how much of our time will need to be devoted to achieving the result you desire. This allows us to set a fee which is both fair and definite.
Hourly billing is a method of billing where you would be charged a certain amount of money for each hour of work that we devote to your case (which is known as our Hourly Fee or Hourly Rate). This fee would be discussed with you at your initial office consultation with Mr. Broscritto.
After you have decided to hire our office (which is also called retaining our office) to represent you, you will be expected to pay us a minimum Retainer Fee, which would be an advance of legal fees to be applied to our future work on your behalf (the exact amount of this Retainer Fee would also be discussed with you by Mr. Broscritto during your initial office consultation). This amount is the minimum amount of legal fees that you will be charged by us.
Careful records are kept by our office regarding the exact amount of time that we spend working on your case and, for each hour of work that we perform for you, that hour's worth of work (our Hourly Fee/ Hourly Rate) will be deducted from the Retainer Fee that you originally paid us.
You will then receive regular Statements from our office which will tell you the type and cost of the legal services that have been performed by us on your case and what amount, if any, remains from your original minimum Retainer Fee. If your original minimum Retainer Fee has been used up (or is nearly used up), you will be requested to pay us additional advances of legal fees until your case has been completed (you will still be charged the same Hourly Rate).
This type of billing is normally used by us in cases such as Contested Divorces, Contested Legal Separations and Business Law matters because these kinds of matters are more complex and typically require us to spend a great deal of time and effort negotiating with other attorneys on your behalf. If this negotiation is unsuccessful, your case must then be heard by the Court.
Because the amount of time that we will need to devote to your case is uncertain in these types of matters, it is impossible for us to compute an accurate flat fee. Therefore, the hourly billing method is useful because it allows us to charge you for the time that we actually devote to your case.
The third type of billing method that is used by our office is the Blended Billing Method. This method is typically used as an alternative to the straight Hourly Billing Method and is often preferred by our clients as an alternative to that method.
Blended Billing takes characteristics of the Flat Fee and Hourly Fee Billing Methods and combines, or blends, them. In cases such as Contested Divorces, Contested Legal Separations and Business Law matters, the Blended Billing Method charges you a certain, agreed upon flat fee for the basic negotiation of a settlement of your case (if that is possible), assuming that the matter does not require you to appear in Court.
However, if your case does require Court work (known as Litigation), you would be charged a specific, agreed upon legal fee for each specific legal service that we would provide to you. For instance, under the Blended Billing Method, we would charge you a set, agreed upon amount for each Court appearance that we would make with you as opposed to charging you for all of the time that we actually spend in Court with you.
Also, if we need to make or defend certain written requests for the Court to do something (called Motions or Orders To Show Cause) such as award temporary support, custody or visitation rights while your case is proceeding in the Court, you would be charged a specific flat fee for this service. In this way, you will be able to have a better idea as to how much your case will ultimately cost you and you will be able to avoid an "open-ended" legal bill.
If your case cannot be settled out of Court and needs to be decided by a Judge through a Trial (which is unusual in many cases), you would then be billed by us using the Hourly Billing Method because of the uncertainty concerning the amount of our time that will be necessary to competently represent you. Again, our Hourly Rate and Minimum Retainer for a Trial would be discussed with you well in advance.
However, regardless of the type of Billing Method used in your case, we will make every effort to help make your payment of the legal fees and expenses associated with your case as convenient as possible. To that end, we will be happy to work out a Payment Plan with you, if necessary. Additionally, we accept Mastercard and Visa credit cards, which many of our clients find very helpful.
You should also be aware that, although this discussion has dealt only with your payment of our Legal Fees, many matters that our office handles, including both Uncontested and Contested Divorces, require the payment on your part of certain out-of-pocket fees and expenses which may include, but not be limited to, items such as Court fees, process server fees, and appraisal fees, depending upon the circumstances of your specific case. These fees, if applicable to your case, will be discussed with you, in advance, during your initial consultation and payment arrangements will be made regarding these fees, as well.