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Apr 6, 2011

Attorney Fees

Folks, welcome to another session from my blog. Today’s topic of discussion concerns how to select the right attorney. In this age of information, there are many attorneys out there for you to choose from. You can find attorneys on the Internet. You can find attorneys in the Yellow Pages. You can get attorney recommendations from word of mouth. Regardless of how you found my website or any other attorney’s website for that matter, it’s always important that you do your research when you select your attorney.

When deciding on which attorney to retain, clients commonly look to three areas for evaluation.

The first area to consider is what is the attorney’s experience in the field of criminal defense that you need that attorney to help you with. Your attorney should either specialize in the specific field of criminal defense as it pertains to your case or a large part of his practice should comprise that field of expertise. For example, if you have a Porsche and need to get it repaired, you take it to the Porsche shop, not to the Chevy dealership. The same applies to criminal defense. You take your case to an attorney whose practice is devoted exclusively to criminal defense.

The second area clients are concerned about pertains to the attorney’s educational background. Does your attorney devote his educational time to family law or does he devote his educational time to the area of criminal defense that you’re most concerned about? Every attorney is required to do a minimum of 10 continuing legal education credit hours per year. Does your attorney do the very bare minimum or does he attorney go above and beyond what’s expected of him for education on an annual basis?

The third area that clients are concerned with, and probably the most important for most folks, how much are his fees to handle your case? Years ago my father once said, “Bill, you can have the best, you can have the cheapest, but you can’t have the best at the cheapest price.” That maxim is as true today as it was 30 years ago. Attorneys vary in their level of skill, expertise, and areas of specialization and as a result, there are no cookie-cutter fee structures.

My fees may differ dramatically from the attorney down the street and there may be many, many reasons for that. What you should be primarily concerned with is the area of expertise of the attorney, trial experience level, education level, and finally the fee schedule. I set my fees based on the complexity of the case, the novelty of the defense and estimation for how much time I believe will be required to resolve the case. I normally set a flat pre-trial fee and a flat trial fee in the majority of my cases. Some cases may require a large retainer to be billed out at an hourly rate. Each case is different and will likely require that we sit down together to discuss your case.

I have a high level of education, a high degree of skill and experience and my practice is devoted 100 percent to criminal defense. I normally attend 40+ hours a year in continuing legal education. This year alone I will have logged a minimum of 74 hours as I am attending a federal training seminar in San Diego, CA at the end of April. That translates to a higher fee for my clients but also generally better results. I hope you found this blog post helpful and you should feel free to call my office to set up a meeting to discuss your case. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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