Is an hourly fee agreement the only way to retain you?


I offer different fee arrangements to accommodate my clients’ individual needs. A common fee arrangement is the hourly fee. When charging by the hour, I usually require a deposit.

For some clients I perform legal services for a flat fee, exclusive of costs and expenses. For example, I sometimes prepare business operating agreements for LLCs, partnerships, and other business entities for a flat fee. I give oral consultations for flat fees that reflect my investigation and legal research and the duration of the consultation itself. I sometimes handle uncontested divorces for a flat fee. These are just some examples of work that I have done for a flat fee.

If you are interested in having me represent you for a flat fee, please call me or email me using the form on the “Contact Us” page. I seldom quote flat fees (or hourly rates) over the phone. In most cases I need to meet you and become familiar with the broad outlines of your case before I offer a quote.

I also offer capped fee arrangements. In a capped fee arrangement, my client and I agree that my fees, exclusive of costs incurred, will not exceed a specified amount. My fees may, however, be less than that amount.

Yet another fee arrangement, usually reserved for personal injury cases, is the contingent fee. In contingent fee cases I represent clients for a fixed percentage of any fees recovered by settlement, arbitration, or verdict. If there is no recovery, I take no fee. Depending on the case, I may require that the client, regardless of the outcome, pay for all costs and expenses in his case and in such cases I put that requirement in our written fee agreement.

Finally, another fee arrangement to consider is a limited scope of service agreement in which, by written agreement, a client and I agree upon the tasks that I and my client undertake respectively. As one example, a client may want me to write a letter on his behalf but do nothing more. As another example, a client may ask me to advise her on legal procedure and strategy in her case but not to file papers on her behalf or represent her in court. Limited scope of service agreements can help clients control costs by expressly limiting the services that they will receive.

If there is a negotiated settlement in my case, is that something you will decide on your own?


What do you expect from me?

My expectations depend partly upon on your health and circumstances: in a personal injury case, for example, you may be unable to do much on your behalf because of your injuries. But here are a few thoughts: they touch on some but not all of my expectations.

Your full and timely cooperation. Serious deadlines arise in litigation. Discovery requests typically must be answered within set deadlines. Pleadings and motions have deadlines for response. Depositions, hearings and trial each entail deadlines and require highly concentrated preparation. I ask my clients to cooperate fully and promptly with my requests.

Updates concerning new developments in your case. If you change your address, email, or phone number, I need to know. If your business or personal injuries change, if you receive correspondence that concerns your case, even if you are not sure whether it does, I need to know promptly. Keep me advised of all new and pending developments.

Candor. In any civil case, your credibility is your biggest and most important asset. It starts with you being fully candid with me and telling me everything that concerns your case, good and bad. Bad facts may be dealt with but concealed bad facts are devastating to your credibility.

Keep in touch. Call or write me whenever you have a concern or question about your case. Your interest in and concern for your case are important.

What can I do to help control the costs of my case?

Your full cooperation will help control your costs. As your case goes forward, I will have specific suggestions to help control costs in your case.

How long does it take you to return calls? If I am not in a deposition, hearing, or trial or out of town, I usually return calls and email from clients within twenty-four hours. If a client calls or emails me and I do not respond within 24 hours, I may not have received the message. Follow up when in doubt.

Should I have any concerns about the privacy of email?

Yes. We can talk about that if you hire me.

Should I send you documents and sensitive information about my case before you agree in a signed written fee agreement to represent me?

No. If we do not have a signed written agreement for me to represent you, it is important that you do not send me anything unless I ask you to do so.

Should I post anything about my case on social media?

I ask that my clients not post anything about their cases on social media such as Facebook. If you become my client, I will explain why.

Do you only take clients who live in and around Bozeman?

No. I have a statewide Montana practice.


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