What Are The Specific Areas Of Law That Your Firm Practices?
I am a sole practitioner and a general practice lawyer, which is similar to a family physician. The areas of the law I primarily practice in are family law, landlord/tenant matters, estate planning, and personal injury. I also invite people to contact me for other matters because I have a referral network and I can point them in the right direction.
What Led You To Practice Law In The First Place And What Do You Want Your Potential Clients To Know About You?
I knew at an early age that I wanted to belong to a profession like law or medicine; practicing law was always something that I thought about doing. I want potential clients to know that I have never set making money as my ultimate goal. I have spent almost 30 years in my own practice and I still have the same business model, which is to charge people a flat and affordable fee. I charge half to start and half to finish. The kind of clients I service are not in the position to afford lawyers that charge high hourly rates and require retainers upfront. I want clients to know that I am on their side, that they can trust me, and that they don’t have to go into financial bankruptcy in order to have good quality legal representation.
What Sets You And Your Firm Apart In Handling Family Law, Personal Injury, And Estate Planning Matters For Your Clients?
What sets me apart in handling family law matters is that I do not charge people by the hour. In family law, there is a lot of effort and time involved. Clients have lots of questions and concerns. On a daily basis, clients are having to deal with issues at home and they want to consult with an attorney. If you are hiring an attorney by the hour and you call them, they charge you for the telephone time and then they send you a letter confirming what you talked about, and that reduces the amount of your retainer. They are spending your money by answering your questions. With my model, everything is included and you pay half to start your case and half to finish it. If there are questions or conversations to be had, there is no extra charge for any of that.
On personal injury cases, my contingency fee is 25%, which is much less than what other lawyers charge. I’ve always felt that the client, who is the injured party, should be receiving the lion’s share of the award or settlement, not the attorney. As far as estate planning matters, my simple wills and powers of attorney are very reasonably priced and I even offer discounts to make sure that people get the documents they need. I try to work with my clients and have adjusted my fees accordingly.
How Does Your Fee Pricing Structure Work? Why Is This Fixed Rate Model Of Benefit To Your Clients?
I designed my fee structure almost 30 years ago. I call it a legal services takeout menu. It lists the services I offer and the costs associated with each of those services. I have fees for drafting documents and fees to make court appearances. This fixed-rate model is beneficial to my clients because it provides them with cost certainty. Paying half upfront and half to finish benefits them in that they know how much it is going to cost and that they won’t have to come up with all the money upfront. They also know that I am not going to spend it all and expect to get more money and that there is no interest and no instalment payments required.
What Information Should I Bring With Me To My First Meeting With You?
The information I need from you depends on what type of matter it is that you and I are going to be talking about. If I am having a consult with a client on a divorce action, I am going to ask the client to give me an idea about finances but I don’t need exact information at the first meeting. I just need to get an understanding of what is involved. There is always time to provide documentation later. If the case has already been through the court system and you are asking for a modification, then I would want you to bring all of your paperwork, as the history of the case would be very important.
Does Your Firm Belong To Any Specific Bar Associations Or Other Professional Law Organizations? If So, Which?
Currently, I am a member of the Bucks County Bar Association and I am on their lawyer referral service. I get weekly law reporters from them and I do my continuing legal education through them. I have, in the past, been a member of a professional organization with regards to the mediation practice that I have, though I am no longer an active member of that association.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Law?
I have been practicing law since 1986. I worked for two firms before I started my own practice in March of 1991. Since then, I have been on my own for nearly 30 years.
Approximately How Many Cases Does Your Firm Take On At One Time?
We can take on as many cases as clients who come to us. Capacity has never been an issue for us and we have never struggled to carry on multiple cases at a time.
How Often Do You Appear At The Courthouse Where My Case Would Be Heard? Have You Worked With The Judges And Other Court Personnel Who Would Potentially Handle My Case?
We are regulars in front of all of the judges in the counties where we practice. The attorneys who represent the other spouse or the other parent are people we have an ongoing relationship with and have developed a level of trust and familiarity with. This makes the practice of law much better for our clients. Some judges and some lawyers are more difficult than others but we have the experience of handling them and know how to address them.
While I do appear at the courthouse, I also give my clients the option to decide whether they want representation. I explain to them why people want a lawyer to go to court with them because I don’t want them to feel like they just paid a lawyer to do something that they could have done themselves. We do not tell clients that they have to have us go to court just because we have a financial interest.
How Often Do You End Up Taking Family Law Or Personal Injury Cases All The Way To Trial?
We only take cases to trial when they can’t be resolved. If I am representing a client in a personal injury or a family law matter and I think that my client is not being unreasonable, the case may end up going to trial. I take cases to trial as often as circumstances dictate. If I don’t agree with my client’s position and I think they are being unreasonable, I may actually remove myself from representation.
Will Anyone Else Be Working On My Case?
I am a sole practitioner. While I employ a paralegal who handles communications, draws up documents, and schedules appointments, I am the only attorney who will be handling your case at any time.
Will I Receive Regular Status Updates? If So, How Often? What Might They Include?
We try to update clients on a regular basis. It is our responsibility to make sure that our clients know what we are doing, what the next step is, and when the next step can be done. The goal is also for the clients to be proactive, check-in with us, and update us on what is going on with them.
Besides Your Fee, What Are Some Other Related Legal Expenses That I Might Expect? Do I Get An Estimate Before We Decide To Move Forward On Anything?
Typically, when I am hired, if there is a document to be drawn up, that fee information appears right on the fee agreement. It will also list an amount of money that will cover the initial filing fee and additional money towards other initial expenses. The filing fees are set fees, but some of the expenses are variable, like serving papers. We give clients the option to choose which method of service they want us to use.
I do not bill clients for postage stamps or copies but my fee agreement does say that certified mail or postage/copying over a certain quantity will have a cost associated with it and that is built into the agreement. The fee is all inclusive, so telephone time and routine postage and copies are included. A lot of correspondence is done by email. Each month, clients get a monthly statement. If I haven’t finished the case yet, then they are not required to make the payment of the second half of their fee yet. They do have to keep additional expenses current and typically, they will have to pay for those expenses before they are incurred.
Are There Any Other Steps That You Want To Focus On Regarding You And Your Firm and What Sets You Apart?
We use a credit card processing company called LawPay. I am able to send a request via email and the clients are able to click on the button and be taken to the secure site where they may enter their information. They get a receipt and I get confirmation that the bill was paid. We accept any type of debit or credit card and we do not upcharge clients; you won’t have to pay an extra fee just because the credit card company is charging us a fee to process the transaction.
When clients hire us and they make their half payment upfront, many of them want to pay off the remaining 50% even before the service is completed. I tell them that this is not necessary but they may make an instalment payment in advance. The main thing that sets us apart is the affordable half-to-start, half-to-finish flat fee and the many satisfied clients who have left five-star reviews on our website. I am happy with the services I provide and I am glad that my clients don’t have to go into significant debt in order to have good quality legal services. I am proud to save clients significant amounts of money and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
For more information on Family Law, Personal Injury and Estate Planning, a case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling or texting (215) 750-9202 today.
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