Fee Information & Payment Options
Fees for legal representation and services are set on a case by case basis, tailored to the specifics of the issue at hand. We do not have a set fee schedule that is wholly dependent on the charges. For a fee quote, contact us to talk about your case -- Initial consultations are free.
About Legal Fees
Legal Fees are the payment to the Lawyer for their work on the case, including legal research, legal writing and court documents, court appearances, jail visits or phone conversations, and speaking with witnesses and the district attorney.
At the Law Office of Robert L Keates, most payments for legal services are Flat Fees, meaning one fee is paid for a certain legal service. Typically a case is broken into two areas for purposes of a flat fee. The first area contains all the legal work, research, court appearances, pre-trial work, office or phone consults, writing and arguing of legal motions, and if applicable, a plea. The second area contains the trial.
In most cases, a Flat Fee for the first area of representation described above is settled upon when a client signs the Fee Agreement for Legal Services, thereby hiring the lawyer for representation. If the case progresses to trial, a second fee is then charged, and often that fee amount is discussed and agreed upon ahead of time; it is not paid until the trial is not only approaching but decided upon by the client. Aside from a flat fee arrangement, in rare cases, a client and attorney may enter into a retainer agreement, where the attorney will work and charge at an hourly rate. As described below, we use a retainer type structure to provide for legal costs, rather than month to month billing.
About Legal Costs
Legal costs differ from legal fees in that the costs are for expenses the attorney must pay for in order to move forward with the defense of your case, such as discovery and materials from the district attorney, copies, case law printouts, video tapes, audio tapes, and parking. These expenses are not included in the legal fee, and the client is responsible for the payment of legal costs in addition to the legal fee. Legal costs are charged to the client "at cost" -- no surcharge is added for handling or other tasks. In other words, the client pays for the actual cost of the item, and no more.
In order to accomodate clients in the most cost effective manner, legal costs are typically are handled with a retainer type agreement where the client gives the lawyer a set amount of money to pay for legal costs as they are due. The legal cost retainer payment remains in a seperate account from the legal fee, and is deducted from each time a legal cost is paid, much like a debit card.
In most cases, a legal cost retainer of $500 is required. At the end of the case, the client is forwarded a list of all legal costs incurred during the case, and refunded any excess that was not used. If the legal costs accumulate to more than $500, another retainer agreement is entered into.
About Legal Costs for Investigation & Expert Witnesses
Seperate from legal fees and legal costs are the expenses for investigators and expert witnesses. These individuals, and their involvement in your case, are considered third parties, and are not employees of our Law Office. Therefore, their costs are due upfront, and are forwarded to the party. It is important to consider the cost, at least of an investigator, when budgeting for the defense of your case.
About Payment Options
Although we do not accept cash payments, we do accept the following types of payments:
- Money Order or Cashier's Check ;
- Electronic Bank Transfer or Wire;
- Personal Check; *Check must clear before considered valid
- Credit Card. *Service charge may apply
About Payment Plans.
We offer limited payment plans for some cases in situations of special need, however half of the fee must be paid, along with a valid credit card number on record, which will be charged on a specified date if the remaining balance is unpaid.