Q: Do you offer free consultations?
Yes. The first 30 minutes of a consultation with Lisa Brandon or one of our associate attorneys are free of charge. Thereafter, any work or consultation provided by Brandon Law Group will be charged at the regular hourly rate for the appropriate member of the firm. Currently, you should expect to pay $450 per hour for all time spent by Lisa E. Brandon; $250 to $350 per hour for time spent by other lawyers in our firm; and $100 per hour for time spent by law clerks or paralegals in the Firm.
Q: How much will it cost for you to handle my case?
It is impossible to estimate with certainty the total amount of attorney’s fees or costs that might be incurred by the Firm as the result of a particular case. In many cases, fees and costs increase in matters which are high in conflict, involve contentious custody proceedings or include complex assets which must be valued by third party experts.
An initial retainer fee will be required to commence legal representation. Our average retainer is $7,500 and may not be refundable. However, the amount and terms of the retention fee may vary, depending upon the complexity of your matter. The California State Bar requires attorneys practicing family law to charge their clients an hourly rate for their legal services. Currently, you should expect to pay $450 per hour for all time spent by Lisa E. Brandon; $250 to $350 per hour for time spent by other lawyers in our firm; and $100 per hour for time spent by law clerks or paralegals in the Firm. The hourly rate you are charged will include all time spent in negotiation, legal research, at court, for discovery, conferences in person, telephone conferences and travel time.
Sometimes, the Firm may incur costs on your behalf for document assembly, preparation of court exhibits, postage, Federal Express, photocopies of correspondence and pleadings, local and long distance telephone charges, computer charges for electronic legal research, and binders for presentation of court documents. These expenses are not itemized. Instead, your monthly billing statement will reflect a fixed charge of 7.5% of the legal fees billed during each month to cover these costs. This 7.5% fee will not cover extraordinary charges such as voluminous photocopying of documents, court filing fees, and any outside vendor charges, such as court reporters, process serving, messenger fees, mobile photocopy service, computer charges for on-line electronic legal and/or public record/informational research.
Q: How are legal fees and costs paid?
Our firm always tries to work with our clients to insure the legal fees and other costs incurred are appropriate and necessary. However, any kind of legal matter can be expensive and financing alternatives can be of assistance.
We accept payments in cash, by check or by credit/debit card (VISA/MasterCard or American Express).
Our Firm will always seek to collect fees and costs from the adverse party when the facts of the case so justify. Whenever a fee award is made by a Court, the amount of the award is reduced from your balance or credited to your funds on retention.
Feel free to call our office for more information or to discuss alternative financing options.
Q: How long will it take to finish my case?
It is not possible to predict how long the litigation or mediation process for your case will last. Each case is different and has its own needs and complications. Because each case is unique, the length of time to complete a case will vary.
Q: What is the next step?
Upon retention, the Firm will prepare, file, and serve the initial paperwork for your case. Within the first 30 days following service, our attorneys and paralegals will work with you to prepare your Declaration of Disclosure, a document outlining each party’s income, assets, and financial obligations. From a common sense perspective, this information allows everyone to know what they have before they begin to consider negotiating a final division of property or arrangement for financial support. From a legal perspective, the Court wants to make sure everyone has all the information they require to make fully informed and legally binding decisions. Prior to engaging in settlement negotiations, the Firm may request similar disclosure from the opposing party by issuing formal discovery demands such as a Request for Production of Documents and Form Interrogatories. The Firm will also request title documents for any real property that you own in order to confirm title, debts secured by the property and, when appropriate, to sever joint title, Notice of Pendency of Action, and/or to terminate a family trust.
Q: What is a retainer agreement?
The State Bar of California requires all fee agreements to be set forth in writing so there is no question about the fees and costs you will incur as a result of our representation.
The lawyer/client relationship is a partnership that requires a high level of communication and a sharing of responsibilities. Our letters of retention contain a full discussion of our responsibilities to you and your responsibilities to us, as our client.
All retainer agreements are in writing. You will be provided the agreement at the time of retention. You will be given a reasonable opportunity to read and understand the terms and conditions of retention, away from the office and with the help of anyone you choose to assist you. All retainer agreements must be signed and returned to the Firm. A copy will be provided, once completely signed, for your permanent records.
Letters of retention are serious legal contracts. You should always read such documents fully and carefully. If there is language included in the document you do not understand, ask for assistance.
Any attorney worthy of retention will gladly explain in detail all provisions of his or her retention letters.