*AT A GLANCE
|Hourly rates:||$250-$300.00 per hour|
|Discounted Fees:||Available for lower income individuals on a per client basis.|
|Payment Plans:||Yes. Very creative payment plans are available.|
|Flat Fee Work:||Yes. Provided certain criteria are met.|
|Pro Bono Cases:||Yes! Not frequently but I do accept them if I am able and if I feel that they are justified.|
*Please read the entire section covering rates so that you can determine if your questions can be answered here.
*Please feel free to call me at 407-462-8787 as I will gladly take the time to answer your questions about rates and/or any other matters. There is no charge for the phone call. It’s also easy to drop me a note here.
One of the first questions that clients frequently ask an attorney is “what is this going to cost?” There are many reasons why this is a difficult question to answer. 90% of the time, I bill for my services on an hourly rate basis. Let’s take a divorce matter as an example to illustrate why the question of “what is this going to cost” is a difficult question to answer. First of all, one has to keep in mind that in Florida, the filing fee is $408.00—which is high relative to other states. Then, a summons has to be issued so that the opposing party can be served with the divorce lawsuit. That is another $10.00. Finally, a certified process server has to be hired to actually serve the adverse party with the initial paperwork. If the opposing party is not trying to avoid service of the lawsuit, then the cost will typically be between $35.00 and $50.00. Nonetheless, the “hard costs” of filing and serving the lawsuit ranges from $453.00 to $468.00. It is important for the client to keep in mind that none of these hard costs constitute any type of payment to the attorney as they are actually costs required by the State of Florida and the process server to initiate and serve the lawsuit.
Of course, before the lawsuit can be filed, it has to be drafted. This entails the preparation of no less than nine (9) separate documents. The time involved in preparing these documents can range from three (3) to five (5) hours, depending on the type of relief requested in the lawsuit (for example, is alimony requested).
Next, the cost equation must take into account the hourly rate agreed to at the beginning when the lawyer is formally retained. The hourly rates that I have charged over the years when working for law firms were generally $275.00 to $325.00 per hour. However, blessed with lower overhead and a desire to keep costs down for my clients typically yields hourly rates of approximately $250.00 to $300.00 per hour. From a purely legal standpoint, lawyers tend to charge more per hour if the given matter is more complex than average. An example of this type of complexity would be where the parties have extensive real estate holdings, businesses that need to be accounted for, and/or significant debt issues that need to be resolved. Any of these factors and contribute to the requirement of a higher hourly rate.
Finally, the other significant variable that must be taken into account when estimating fees is ascertaining the level of acrimony between the parties, the habits and reputation of the other attorney (if one has been retained) and the willingness of the client to respond promptly to communications regarding their case. Many cases that should be relatively simple to resolve cost many-fold what they should cost due to these factors. I cannot control your spouse or opposing counsel any better than you can. However, I do take every opportunity to establish a professional and even friendly relationship with the opposing attorney or party because mutual respect and professional courtesy yield fasters results, less acrimony and accordingly, lower overall costs of any given proceeding.
I also have done and will continue to do work on a “flat fee” basis. Flat fees can be offered under certain circumstances when the lawyer and prospective client can ascertain the scope of the work to be performed within a reasonable degree of certainty.
I pride myself on being accessible to virtually every type of client regardless of their financial means. I dedicate a significant portion of my practice to lower income individuals. In many cases, I reduce my rate to $225.00 per hour although I do not have the power to reduce the hard costs that are required that are detailed above. I also pride myself on the fact that since I have been practicing law at Rosenfelt Family Law, I always try to work some type of payment arrangement out for my clients.
For example, if I were to meet with you (either in person or by telephone) and determine that you qualified for either a reduced rate and/or a payment plan, I could begin working for you with a minimum initial payment that would cover the hard costs and initial preparation of the lawsuit. This means that in some cases I would agree to be retained for slightly less than $1,000.00. I would then negotiate a monthly payment plan whereby you would pay a minimum amount of money towards your bill. I do not like to accept less than $300.00 per month for these types of payments but there are always exceptions.
Finally, I am a lawyer that actually takes a limited amount of cases on a pro bono (or “free”) basis. Or I might consider initiating the lawsuit on that basis with a blended payment plan that would kick in at a later time. The keywords that I feel represent my billing practices are value, flexibility and accessibility. I feel very strongly that every individual is entitled and should have legal representation in family law matters and I strive to make legal representation a reality for every potential client. I also strongly encourage prospective clients to “shop around” to see if they can find an attorney with my skillset, years of experience, and billing practices.
I cannot stress enough my willingness to work out a payment arrangement for a client. It does not cost anything for you to call me to discuss your case and a potential plan for working for you. In fact, I have had many clients come to me who are dissatisfied with their current attorneys and end up retaining me. So also feel free to contact me if you would simply like your existing case reviewed by another attorney---all without charge.