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Here’s some sample language from our standard letter of engagement. It will give you insight into our working and billing processes:

“As compensation for performance of the foregoing services, this firm will be paid a legal fee by you based upon the amount of time expended by our professional staff in performing the services. The professional time of the undersigned will be billed at the initial rate of $___ per hour. To the extent that professional time of other attorneys and legal assistants of this firm may be required, their time will be taken into account at their respective hourly rates billed in minimum units of tenths of an hour. To the extent other attorneys and legal assistants in our office may be used in this engagement, they will be designated and supervised by me in accordance with the best judgment of this firm.

We will provide you with monthly statements indicating the amount due for legal services rendered and costs incurred during the period designated on the statement and itemizing the particular services and costs covered. All of our statements are payable on receipt.

As a matter of policy, we request a retainer on all engagements. You should be aware that litigation is expensive. Accordingly, we would require a payment of $___ as a retainer for this engagement. As services are performed, legal fees and costs will be applied against the amount of the retainer. Your monthly statements will reflect the application of the retainer and the amount of the retainer remaining. If the amount of legal fees for services rendered and costs incurred exceeds the retainer balance, the excess will be payable upon receipt and in such event we will require that you deposit an additional retainer to cover anticipated further fees and costs to be incurred. If any balance owed is not promptly paid, we shall have the right immediately to discontinue rendering any further services. If a retainer balance remains after completion of the legal services, such amount shall be promptly returned to you.

In the course of the engagement, it may be necessary for us to incur expenses for items such as long distance telephone calls, messenger services, travel (including lodging and meals) and the like. Also, some matters require the use of ancillary services such as photocopying (including photocopy charges incurred in duplicating your file, if necessary), computerized legal research, facsimile transmissions (FAX) and staff overtime. These items are separately itemized on our statements and will be billed to you in addition to the legal services. In addition, costs of litigation, such as depositions and expert witnesses may be incurred. Such expenditures will not be made without your permission, and will be billed as separately itemized expenses on our statements.

Both you and this firm shall have the right to terminate this engagement at any time, subject to our obligation to give you reasonable notice to make alternate arrangements. Additionally, we hereby reserve the right to include interest charges at a rate not to exceed the maximum amount permitted by law on amounts due for services rendered and costs incurred in excess of any credit balance of the retainer, where such amounts are outstanding for more than thirty (30) days after the invoice is rendered. In the unlikely event that legal proceedings are instituted to collect fees and costs owing to this firm, the prevailing party shall be entitled to the allowance of reasonable attorney's fees and other costs incurred in the action or proceeding.”

 


 

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L. Michael (Mike) Schwartz, PA
10561 Barkley Place, Suite 510
Overland Park, KS 66212
913.341.1919
lmspalaw@swbell.net