What does it cost to hire a lawyer?
We offer clients a FREE 30-minute consultation to review their legal needs in every new case they ask us to discuss with them. Within that time we are usually able to identify the issues and available courses of action, and their cost. The client will have to pay the attorney for his/her time spent after the first 30 minutes unless you tell the attorney at the start of the meeting that you do not want to exceed and pay for more than 30 minutes of his or her time-in which case, the attorney will stop after the 30 minutes have expired. After 30 minutes, our attorneys bill at their standard hourly rates, in increments of 1/10 (6 minutes or less) of an hour, to assist you further if you request, according to itemized monthly billing statements we mail to all of our clients to keep them informed about the status of their accounts. Those rates range from $150 per hour to $250 per hour, depending on the attorney with whom you consult.
After we identify your legal needs and available solutions, we will discuss the cost of pursuing your various solutions. The cost is usually identified in the form of a "retainer" or refundable deposit you must pre-pay to support the work you may want our attorneys to perform for you. There are a variety of retainer requirements and fee arrangements available to our clients, depending upon the type of case and extent of their needs.
Many things, such as real estate closings, document drafting, business organization, estate planning and wills, and Chapter 7 bankruptcies can be done on a flat fee basis. Some things can proceed with the drafting of out-of-court correspondence or demand letters in an effort to get your case resolved without having to file a lawsuit and go to court. In those cases, the retainer you may have to pay against our hourly rates may be as little as $500 to $1,000. Uncontested divorces can often be done, with full representation through the entire court process, for as little as $2,000. More complex litigation, contested divorces and criminal defense work requires a minimum retainer of $5,000 (and sometimes much more in the case of very complex and contentious litigation) to get started. However, when retainers are charged, any portion of your retainer that is not used against attorney and related time and expenses not actually incurred to get your case resolved, is refunded to you at the end of your case. If your legal needs exceed your retainer, you will have to replenish it to ensure our continued legal representation.
Some cases, including personal injury cases, are accepted by us based on a contingency fee arrangement in which we agree to be paid for our legal work only if we succeed in settling or winning your claim, although clients are free to opt for an hourly fee arrangement even in those cases, if they so state at the start of representation. In contingency fee cases, the client is only liable to reimburse us for out-of-pocket expenses, such as court filing fees, sheriff fees, deposition expenses, costs of medical records to enable us to try to advance their cases, witness fees and the like. We will tell you in advance the approximate cost of such things so that you can decide if you want to go forward with your case.
Due to recent licensing changes affecting all lawyers, we can now also offer "mixed fee arrangements" and "limited representation arrangements" whereby you agree to handle certain aspects of your case yourself, while hiring us to help you with other aspects. This helps some clients to keep their legal expenses down.
Our goal at Nadeau Legal PLLC is to help our clients to identify and select practical, cost effective solutions for their legal needs as much as possible. To use an old geometry metaphor, the shortest and best distance between a problem and a solution should always be a straight line, whenever there are no obstacles or hurdles preventing such a course of action. We have built our reputation on helping our clients to resolve their needs as cost efficiently as possible. We work hard, keep our clients regularly informed, return their phone calls, and don't waste time doing things at our clients' expense that don't need to be done.
Can I pay by check or credit card?
We accept personal checks, but we will not begin work on your case until the check has cleared our bank. We also accept payments by Mastercard, Visa and Discovercard, payments by credit card checks, and, of course, cash.
Do you have evening and weekend office hours?
Yes. Some of our attorneys will accommodate such a request. We only ask that, in fairness to our attorneys, you will keep your appointments if you ask an attorney to stay late or to come into our offices on a weekend to meet your own scheduling needs. Feel free to call us if you need a scheduling accommodation.
If I can't get away from work or home to meet with an attorney, can I have an initial conference with the attorney telephonically or in some other manner?
For ethical and efficiency reasons, we generally don't like to discuss client issues and solutions with someone over the phone until after they have first met with one of our attorneys in person. However, we will do it if there is simply no alternative available to you, and we can communicate by email, provided that the attorney's time will not exceed 30 minutes unless you pre-pay for any excess attorney time according to a retainer structure the attorney will quote to you in advance. If you have a scheduling difficulty that needs to be accommodated, please let us know.
Are my communications with anyone in your staff about my legal needs confidential?
Yes. Whatever you communicate to us for the purpose of obtaining legal advice is confidential. That confidentiality extends to our receptionists and legal assistants. None of us may or will discuss your sensitive, personal information with anyone-not even our spouses and significant others-without your permission. Even judges know that, unless you are committing a crime you have not already finished committing, we cannot be ordered to disclose your confidences to anyone, and we won't.
Are there time limits to protect or assert my rights?
Yes. Most cases have court deadlines, if they are already in litigation, and statutes of limitation that apply to those cases. If you don't pursue your claim or defenses before those deadlines, you may be without a remedy. Our lawyers are trained to make sure that important deadlines are identified and will not be missed, if you hire us before they are missed.
What cases doesn't your firm handle?
At Nadeau Legal PLLC, we handle almost every type of legal need, and we do it well. The only exceptions are workers compensation cases that don't have a third party claim associated with them, patent, copyright and trademark law, immigration law and some types of medical malpractice, due to their costs or uniqueness. Even if we don't handle your particular type of case, however, we work on a cooperative basis with other area lawyers and can refer you to a competent lawyer who does.