Frequently Asked Questions
How will I be kept informed of my case?
We understand the importance of communication and transparency between attorney and client. In order to keep the cost of legal services down while maximizing communications, we will strive to keep you informed when anything important happens and to respond to your questions in a reasonable time. In addition, we will inform you when your presence is required, either in our office or in court.
What do you get for your attorney’s fee?
Simply stated, the attorney's time. You will receive superior service through careful consideration, confident counsel and exceptional knowledge that is both efficient and effective.
What do I do when I have a question?
We are interested in your questions and we want you to ask them. We generally respond to all calls and emails within 24 hours. We even allow you to email the attorney directly. For the most efficient and quickest response please contact one of our legal assistants, as they have a working knowledge of all aspects of your case. If the assistant cannot answer your question, every attempt will be made get the answer for you, or arrange to have your attorney contact you as quickly as possible as we understand your concerns and issues. If you do that, we will always try to get an answer back to you even if your attorney is out of the office when you call.
What will the legal service cost?
To the extent that we can reasonably inform you at your first visit, what your fee will be, we will do so. We encourage a frank, open discussion about our fees with each client at the time of the first interview. Court costs are not attorney fees and must be treated separately. We have some matters that range in price, but none with a set price. Consultations are only $100 and personal injury/car accident/death cases are free.
On an hourly fee basis, fees are based on an hourly rate for services rendered. A detailed, itemized bill will be given to you showing all work done on your case. This explanation may come monthly or at the end of your case. Unless otherwise agreed, the hourly fee basis will be the presumed fee arrangement.
On a flat fee basis, your legal fee is a stated sum for agreed upon services. No accounting will be made. We almost never enter into these type of agreements with clients.
On a contingency fee basis, your legal fees will be based on the amount of recovery we get for you; no recovery, no fee. You may have the option of choosing this plan in lieu of hourly charges. Not all cases qualify for the contingency basis; we will tell you if yours does. In either case, we will prepare for you an employment agreement setting forth the fee arrangement. Our contingency fee ranges from 33-39%.
Other potential fees:
A pre-payment (also called a deposit or a retainer) will often be required in order to begin to process your matter and you will be kept advised as to how that pre-payment is being used. Bills will be sent to you periodically showing your charges and payments. Certain cases may have a minimum fee.
We try to keep legal fees as reasonable as possible. The amount of services required, however, is not fully within our control. We discuss with our client options for services and the benefits of services. Sometimes, however, services are directly related to an opposing party’s action or inaction. Please feel free to discuss fees with your lawyer.
What about litigation costs or out-of-pocket expenses?
In addition to legal fees, there are various expenses that must be paid to others in order to prepare your legal matter. For example, payments must be made to obtain necessary reports or copies of necessary documents, to employ court reporters to take depositions, to obtain licenses or permits from governmental authorities, to file suits in courts of law, in addition to other outside entities that are necessary to help your cause. Generally, the amounts of these charges will be in direct proportion to the complexity of the matter involved. The easier your matter is to solve, the less these costs will ordinarily be. At the start of your legal matter, we will try to estimate for you the amount of out-of-pocket expenses which may be incurred on your behalf. We will discuss with you whether or when you will be required to reimburse us for these expenditures which are made on your behalf to further your legal cause.
What do I do if I have a legal question on a different matter than any pending case?
A phone call to our office will direct you to the person who can best answer your question. Remember, no questions as to your rights, duties or obligations should go unanswered because you did not know which lawyer to call. Fees for these different matters will be charged in accordance with our regular practice.
What about special office hours?
All office visits are by appointment only. We encourage each of our clients to schedule meetings with us during regular business hours, but prefer to take appointments only on Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00-4:00. From time to time you may request that we meet you in the evening if the matter cannot wait. While we do not encourage these “special visits,” we may arrange them where necessary. If we must meet with you in the evening, we must reserve the right to add a surcharge to our regular fee for the appointment. You will be advised, in advance, of the decision concerning the surcharge. Since “special visits” may be expensive, please avoid them wherever possible.
Will the Gregory Law Firm, charge me for an initial consultation? If so, how much?
Free consultations are rare because cases are each different and may be very difficult to evaluate and also very difficult to win, and often a consultation is all the individual needs in order to learn his or her rights and decide what to do.
Ask about the consultation fee before you make the appointment. The fee needs to be paid at the time of the consultation (prior to meeting the lawyer) and may be paid in cash, certified check, or credit card. The Gregory Law Firm charges a $100 consultation fee. This is half of the amount other lawyers charge in Bastrop, La. It's also considered money well spent because you will have an attorney review the case and give you an opinion. You are paying for the information and advice you get, and it can be very valuable to hear this early before you spend a lot of time, money, and energy on a case you are not likely to win.
Do I still have to pay the consultation fee if the lawyer tells me I don't have a case?
You can expect to pay the consultation fee even if the lawyer tells you that you have no case. Again, you are paying for the information and advice you get, and it can be very valuable to hear this early, before you spend a lot of time, money, and energy on a case you are not likely to win.
How does paying my attorney by the hour work?
The attorney asks for a retainer fee up front, which represents an advance against expected fees and costs. Depending on what the attorney is retained to do and how much it is expected to cost, the retainer fee may be a few hundred dollars or it may be much larger, in the thousands or even tens of thousands.
Suppose my law firm cannot represent me?
We are careful to indicate conflicts of interest right away. But, from time to time, a potential conflict of interest may arise due to our representation of other clients or governmental bodies in the community. When this occurs, we will immediately withdraw from the matter, if it is already underway. You can be assured that at no time will we knowingly take part in a conflict of interest. If a potential conflict arises, we will fully disclose the facts to you, and remove ourselves from the matter and await further instructions concerning the transfer of your file to another attorney. We may even be able to recommend one or find one willing to take over the case.
What about money to be held “in trust” by my attorney?
Certain legal matters require that monies be held “in trust” or “in escrow” for a client for weeks or months at a time. Plainly, this means the lawyer cannot spend the money as he desires, but must use the funds only if he earns the fee by working on the client's case. For example, a damage suit settlement may require us to hold the settlement proceeds “in escrow” until the settlement check had been cleared through normal banking procedures. We maintain a separate escrow account, and at no time is money from that account co-mingled with general funds. This is your money held in trust by your attorneys. Separate, detailed records are kept in connection with this account on your behalf. We cannot spend the money as we please and we cannot collect interest as profit on your money.