About Legal Fees
Our fee structure for legal representation and neutral mediation services is based on hourly charges. At present our rates rates range from $195 per hour to $325 per hour for attorney and mediator time. These rates are tied to specific attorneys and mediators in our office, and primarily reflect the experience level of the attorney or mediator. Paralegal time is billed at $150 hourly.
In Mediation cases the hourly rate is typically split by the participants as they decide is fair. Mediators’ time is charged on a “per case” basis, rather than a “per client” basis. In other words, if there are two clients involved in a mediation, and they agree to split the fee 50/50, and the hourly rate is $300 per hour, then each client would be responsible for paying $150 per hour.
In every case we will provide a written engagement agreement that details our scope of services to you and the hourly fees and costs that will be charged. In most cases we require a retainer to be paid at the time the engagement agreement is signed. Generally our initial retainers range from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the type of case, the anticipated level of work involved, and other case-specific factors. Mediation cases typically involve the lowest retainers. We will discuss retainer arrangements with you in detail before the engagement agreement is signed. When services are concluded you will receive any unused balances that remain in your retainer account.
When warranted by specific circumstances, we will attempt to accommodate customized client requests for structure of legal fees and costs.
Mediation is an outstanding way to resolve family law disputes. Some of the advantages are:
- Mediation is conducted privately and confidentially in the mediator’s office, rather than publicly and openly in a court.
- Mediation is cost-effective when compared to litigation. Mediation clients share payment of the mediator’s hourly fee rather than separately pay the hourly fees of their respective attorneys.
- The Mediation process ensures that each client understands the issues to be resolved, the family finances (assets, income, expenses, debts), the legal principles that affect the settlement discussions, and what the final agreement means.
- The people who are most impacted by the final outcome of mediation – the clients – determine the final outcome – the settlement terms – themselves. They do not have a decision imposed upon them by a court. They are not forced to settle a case under the pressure of a looming trial date or at the courthouse steps.
- Mediation can in many cases reduce conflict and improve communication on a long-term basis. Mediation tends to reduce the potential for future court disputes.
- Mediation is time-efficient. It is completed at the pace the clients choose. Mediation sessions are scheduled for specific times and are not subject to the delays, scheduling conflicts, and waiting to be heard which are inherent to the court system.
About Divorce and Family Law
There is so much to explain and to learn about this broad, complex topic. Unfortunately, the answer to most specific questions about divorce and family law begins with “Well, it depends.” The best answer for a particular client will often depend upon the the specific and often unique financial, family, and emotional circumstances of the people involved. The only way to get relevant, accurate, and trustworthy answers to your questions, and advice about your concerns, is to invest some time and money in discussions with a professional family law specialist.
There are many resources online that can provide helpful general information. Click here for some links that we have found to be useful.
You might find some helpful or interesting perspectives in the David’s Divorce Dictionary Blog. Be forewarned, however, that the posts are sometimes require a functioning sense of humor. We do believe that an appropriate touch of humor can help even in the darkest times.
With all of this said, we will nevertheless try to provide some general answers to common questions people have when contemplating divorce or separation.