At The Wolcott Law Firm LLC, we believe in open, honest communication for all legal matters. We also believe in advocating for the rights of workers like you. Because of this, we strive to be available seven days a week and will always provide potential clients with $10 initial consultations. Contact us today to set up an appointment. Call our Indianapolis office at 317-676-0776.
What the Wolcott Law Firm LLC can promise you is:
1) Modest retainers are often charged (there are exceptions), with there being two significant departures from what many firms do. First, we offer liberal payment plans. Second, any retainer is used to offset any contingency fee that the firm earns.
2) We offer tiered contingencies based on the quantity of work required to reach a successful result for you.
3) We charge flat fees for hearings that would be cost prohibitive if you were charged an hourly rate.
4) In the vast majority of cases, expenses are paid by the firm and reimbursed from settlement moneys. There is no obligation to pay back mutually agreed-upon expenses if you don’t recover anything.
5) We won’t nickle and dime you. While most firms will charge you for copy charges, phone bills, postage, and the like, we never do. We believe these are a cost of doing business and should be absorbed by the firm.
If you talk to other firms you will discover that you will be quoted thousands of dollars in retainers and that you will be responsible for hundreds if not thousands of dollars in costs, paid up front or in advance. You should know what you are getting for the money you are being asked to invest in an attorney.
Practical Information Regarding Fees And Hiring An Attorney
The Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct prohibit attorneys from posting fee arrangements offered to clients. With this being said, there are some things you should keep in mind when deciding what fee arrangement makes sense for you. There are three types commonly charged by employment attorneys. These are:
- Hourly: An hourly fee agreement is what it sounds like. If an attorney works 1.5 hours on your case, you are billed for 1.5 hours times their hourly rate. This arrangement often makes sense when you need to have documents reviewed or drafted. It is usually not a good arrangement if the amount of legal work needed is substantial or recovery is uncertain or limited. Moreover, the hourly arrangement means you incur a fee regardless of whether you are ultimately successful with your legal pursuits.
- Flat Fee: A flat fee agreement can make sense when the body of work to be done is known and can be easily defined. Examples could include handling matters before the EEOC or representing employees at unemployment hearings. The advantage of this arrangement is you pay a fixed price and don’t have to worry about the legal work taking longer than is required so you incur more fees. The fee is earned at the time the contract is reached so long as the attorney performs the full body of work agreed upon. Like an hourly arrangement, fees are incurred whether you ultimately receive a positive result or not.
- Contingency: There are variations of this agreement. Most firms will charge a retainer and a contingency percentage. There is nothing inappropriate or unethical about this arrangement.
A retainer is usually a non-refundable fee you pay a firm that is used to cover the cost of litigation. As the firm works on your case, the retainer is gradually earned by the firm.
A contingency is an agreement whereby the firm earns a percentage of whatever it recovers on your behalf. Contingencies can vary by firm, but by way of example, a 50 percent contingency fee means that you have agreed to pay the firm 50 cents on every dollar you receive by way of settlement or otherwise. The benefit of a pure contingency agreement is that you don’t put any of your money at risk and you never pay a fee unless you and your attorney recover something from the company. Your investment is simply your time and cooperation in assisting with the litigation.
Questions you MUST ask before you hire an attorney:
1. What fee arrangement works best for you? Ask the attorney you are talking to, as they ought to have an opinion as to the best situation for you. At a minimum, you have a right to enter into the arrangement that works best for you. If a firm won’t offer what you think is appropriate, perhaps you should consider contacting a different firm. We will be happy to explore all the options with you so you can make a choice that is best for you.
2. Are you obligated to pre-pay expenses? Filing suit in state court can cost between $100 and $200. Filing fees in federal court are currently $400. Even small claims court filing costs about $100. These are usually expenses you incur but are not awarded to you if your case is resolved.
The Wolcott Law Firm will, when possible, pre-pay expenses for clients when the firm and client reach an agreement that the firm will do so.
3. What costs will I incur? To be sure, filing fees are not the only expenses that are incurred in litigation, and before you know it there could be $3,000 or more in expenses that you are being told you must pay.
Also, keep in mind that some firms will require you to cover all expenses associated with representing you. This can include travel, parking, copy charges, phone calls and postage or mailing expenses. The Wolcott Law Firm does not nickel and dime clients with these expenses, instead choosing to treat them as the costs of doing business.
4. What retainer are you obligated to pay? Anyone who has shopped around for attorneys knows there are some firms that will quote you thousands of dollars in retainers. If you are asked to pay a large retainer, you should the firm what you get for the amount you are paying. If it is a really high figure, you should ask for something in writing as to what the predicted outcome is.
5. Does the Firm offer a payment plan to pay any quoted retainer? The Wolcott Law Firm does.
6. Is the retainer refundable if settlement is reached? If it is not, you should ask why not. It is our position that retainers should be counted against contingency earnings if cases are resolved.
7. Are there additional fees associated with other things that come up after I hire my attorney? At the Wolcott Law Firm, we handle unemployment hearings with no additional expense if we are representing clients in bigger matters involving unlawful employment practices.