Hiring an Attorney
Most of our firm's clientele are small to medium sized businesses and are somewhat familiar with retaining counsel. But, what if you are not within that profile—maybe you've never hired an attorney before and are uncertain as to how to proceed, what is a reasonably rate, or into what sort of financial commitment you are entering. This page addresses such concerns.
Do I even need an Attorney?
If you even think that you have need for an attorney, you likely have need for an attorney.
Read below for "Do I owe the Attorney Money for a Consultation" to address concerns about your commitment. In the final analysis, it is well worth your time and investment to retain legal counsel to protect your rights.
How much should an Attorney Cost?
Attorneys bear much responsibility and deal with a panoply of challenges and rules. So, attorneys charge what seems to be a large amount of money. But, given the liability exposure and the complexity of our job, we feel the amount is fair. Our rate is between $285 and $335 per hour, depending primarily on the duration and complexity of the matter. The attorneys have significant experience, however, and it is worth noting that similarly experienced attorneys at mayor downtown Atlanta firms charge $500 per hour and above and require retainers in excess of $25,000.
How does an Attorney Charge for His or Her Time?
Commonly, and attorney charges in tenth of an hour increments—six minutes. Your statement—typically issued monthly or after a significant legal stage such as the rendering by the court of a final verdict, will include a detailed itemization setting forth what we did and how long it took us to do the tasks. You will have typically twenty days to question or context the charge after which it will be assumed you agree to the time charged. We do not mind and in fact welcome such questions as we delight in explaining to you why such time was necessary advance your cause.
Do I owe the Attorney Money for a Consultation?
Common practice, as observed with this firm, is to allow a consultation of one hour free of charge. Should the person decide to engage us, we would then enter into an engagement letter and charge only for the substantive advise provided. (to explain: if we talk for an hour, and 40-minutes regards billing practices, but 20-minutes regards the merits of the case, we would only charge for the 20-minutes of substantive discussion.).
Are Retainers Required?
In short, "Yes." Decades of experience has shown that in the absence of a retainer, problems develop. This is so true that most insurers of legal professionals (such as ours) actually require retainer agreements and retainer accounts. Given the powerful protectives for the client over retainer balances (see "Do I get my Retainer back after Representation?" below), you as a client have virtually nothing to fear in tendering a retainer check to your attorney.
Do I get my Retainer back after Representation?
Monies placed in retainer remain the property of the client. The State Bar of Georgia provides significant penalties—up to and including disbarment—for abuse of retainer monies. At the conclusion of representation—whether that be the final adjudication or settlement of the matter or your decision to no longer retain us, we will provide a detailed invoice setting for all services and the amount for such services and send you a check for the remainder of your funds not used.
How do I know my Attorney is Reputable?
Ask around. As large as Atlanta is, it is still "small" enough to where people know others in their industry. Also, trust your instinct. We favor face-to-face consultations so that both attorney and client can size one another up to determine if the relationship is a good match. Judge the character of what is presented to you and ask about experience, record, and associations. Remember, good people will not mind answering these types of inquiry and will, in fact, welcome them.