Do you require a deposit up front?
A deposit, also called a retainer fee, is required up front by our Office. For Estate Plans, it’s the total flat fee quoted for the documents to be drafted. For Family Law and other matters, the deposit is based upon the nature of the issues involved and whether the matter is in litigation or anticipated to require litigation. We provide our fee and deposit information in your consultation.
How do you bill?
Estate Plans are paid for up front by a flat fee deposit and a bill is normally issued at the time you sign your documents. All other matters are billed on a monthly basis using itemized invoices that track fees and costs separately, with the final page tracking what remains on deposit with the office as “unearned funds” from any initial or subsequent deposits provided for our services. We do have certain replenishment requirements for ongoing family law matters that we address with clients on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of the issues involved and whether or not there is ongoing litigation.
How do you ensure confidentiality?
We actively take steps to ensure our communications remain protected by attorney-client privilege, so that what we discuss is held confidential. We ask you not to have other people in the room when you meet with us or discuss matters with us by phone. The presence of a third party is a “waiver” of that privilege and, in cases before the court, the third party whom you had present could be used against you to divulge your private discussions, legal strategies, and other information they learn by being present to listen to your communications with your attorney. We encourage your support person to wait outside in our waiting room and for you to actively consider limiting what you share with them verbally or by text, emails, etc. We also encourage clients not to use work email addresses to communicate with our office. Lastly, we may recommend that a client obtain a separate, private post office box for his or her mail.
I cannot come to your office, can you come to me?
Yes. We are available to travel and provide home visits when necessary (advance deposit may be required for a first consultation before travel occurs to ensure payment for mileage and time). The Law Office of Patricia E. Tichenor, P.L.L.C. has a 24-hour notice requirement for all consultations involving travel. If we are notified less than 24 hours prior to the start of the consultation, any deposit paid is deemed earned by the office. You will, however, have the opportunity to re-schedule your consultation and credit may be given for the payment made upon hiring our office for ongoing legal services.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
For out-of-court issues, if you need the advice and guidance of an attorney on a limited basis, we can be your go-to advisor. There are also things you can do on your own, with our guidance and legal advice, and you control your fees and costs by deciding when and how to involve us with what you need. The hourly rate and deposit required for “advisory services” may be more within your budget depending on your circumstances and the issues involved for which you may be trying to represent yourself.