Fees & Billing Practices

Fees

I charge $395 per hour, and I record and bill my time in 1/10 of an hour (6 minute) increments. I charge for all the time spent by me on your behalf, which includes telephone calls between us, reviewing and responding to your emails, time I spend gathering information, time I spend traveling on your behalf and time I spend reviewing any paperwork you've given me.

If I've done work for you that I believe you shouldn't have to pay for, your bill will show my time, but you will also see "NO CHARGE" listed after the description of my activities.

Some law firms will charge you for a portion of their overhead costs in addition to their hourly fee, for example, passing on the costs of computerized legal research or additionally charging you a percentage of their hourly fee for their expenses. I do not do that. To be clear, you will not be charged for:

  • regular postage
  • photocopies made in my office
  • local or long distance telephone or fax charges
  • word processing charges
  • computer charges for computer research

There are only a few expenses that you will need to pay for – and they are for services that I pay for on your behalf. You will only pay for these expenses at their actual cost, and receipts will be provided to you. These expenses are:

  • courier service (e.g., Fed Ex) or certified mail
  • large document photocopy jobs that require using a photocopy service
  • recording, court filing and notary fees

Some clients worry that the billing clock starts to tick the second they say hello to me on the phone. I don’t start that particular clock until we get down to business – our initial chit chat about the dog or the weather is free.

Billing Practices

I will send you a bill once a month, at the start of each month. This bill will show the time spent by me on your behalf, by day and to the 1/10 of an hour, with the work I’ve done described in detail. You should plan to pay this bill within 30 days after you receive it. If you have any questions, I encourage you to call me before you pay the bill.

Some clients are concerned that they’ll receive a huge monthly bill that they didn’t anticipate. Before I start, I can usually estimate how much time I will need to spend on your matter. Also, you can set a limit on the amount of time I can spend on your matter, and I won't go over that time unless you give me permission to do so.

Retainers

Unlike other attorneys, I generally don’t take a retainer (money paid in advance by a client before the attorney begins work on their matter, with the amount based on an estimate of the fees that the attorney will earn). You, as a client, are trusting me to do my best work for you. I, as your attorney, will trust you to pay your fees in a timely manner.

Contacting Me

Please feel free to call me at any time (508-8682), and be sure to leave a message for me if I’m out of the office or on another call. If I’m in the office, I’ll be able to return your call within the hour; if I’m out of the office, I’ll be able to return you call within the same day. Mornings are usually the easiest time to reach me.

E-mail is a terrific way to contact me. My e-mail address is teri@terishugart.com.

© Copyright 2006 Teri L. K. Shugart. All rights reserved.