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STATEMENT OF CLIENT RIGHTS
(As adopted by the Administrative Board of the Courts)
1. You are entitled to be treated with courtesy and consideration at all times by your lawyer and the other lawyers and personnel in your lawyer’s office.
2. You are entitled to an attorney capable of handling your legal matter competently and diligently, in accordance with the highest standards of the profession. If you are not satisfied with how your matter is being handled, you have the right to withdraw from the attorney-client relationship at any time (court approval may be required in some matters and your attorney may have a claim against you for the value of services rendered to you up to the point of discharge).
3. You are entitled to your lawyer’s independent professional judgment and undivided loyalty uncompromised by conflicts of interest.
4. You are entitled to be charged a reasonable fee and to have your lawyer explain at the outset how the fee will be computed and the manner and frequency of billing. You are entitled to request and receive a written itemized bill from your attorney at reasonable intervals. You may refuse to enter into any fee arrangement that you find unsatisfactory. In the event of a fee dispute, you may have the right to seek arbitration; your attorney will provide you with the necessary information regarding arbitration in the event of a fee dispute, or upon your request.
5. You are entitled to have your questions and concerns addressed in a prompt manner and to have your telephone calls returned promptly.
6. You are entitled to be kept informed as to the status of your matter and to request and receive copies of papers. You are entitled to sufficient information to allow you to participate meaningfully in the development of your matter.
7. You are entitled to have your legitimate objectives respected by your attorney, including whether or not to settle your matter (court approval of a settlement is required in some matters).
8. You have the right to privacy in your dealings with your lawyer and to have your secrets and confidences preserved to the extent permitted by law.
9. You are entitled to have your attorney conduct himself or herself ethically in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility.
10. You may not be refused representation on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.
STATEMENT OF CLIENT RESPONSIBILITIES
Reciprocal trust, courtesy and respect are the hallmarks of the attorney-client relationship. Within that relationship, the client looks to the attorney for expertise, education, sound judgment, protection, advocacy and representation. These expectations can be achieved only if the client fulfills the following responsibilities:
1. The client is expected to treat the lawyer and the lawyer’s staff with courtesy and consideration.
2. The client’s relationship with the lawyer must be one of complete candor and the lawyer must be apprised of all facts or circumstances of the matter being handled by the lawyer even if the client believes that those facts may be detrimental to the client’s cause or unflattering to the client.
3. The client must honor the fee arrangement as agreed to with the lawyer, in accordance with law.
4. All bills for services rendered which are tendered to the client pursuant to the agreed upon fee arrangement should be paid promptly.
5. The client may withdraw from the attorney-client relationship, subject to financial commitments under the agreed to fee arrangement, and, in certain circumstances, subject to court approval.
6. Although the client should expect that his or her correspondence, telephone calls and other communications will be answered within a reasonable time frame, the client should recognize that the lawyer has other clients equally demanding of the lawyer’s time and attention.
7. The client should maintain contact with the lawyer, promptly notify the lawyer of any change in telephone number or address and respond promptly to a request by the lawyer for information and cooperation.
8. The client must realize that the lawyer need respect only legitimate objectives of the client and that the lawyer will not advocate or propose positions which are unprofessional or contrary to law or the Lawyer’s Code of Professional responsibility.
9. The lawyer may be unable to accept a case if the lawyer has previous professional commitments which will result in inadequate time being available for the proper representation of a new client.
10. A lawyer is under no obligation to accept a client if the lawyer determines that the cause of the client is without merit, a conflict of interest would exist or that a suitable working relationship with the client is not likely.
Firm Billing and Engagement Policy
Conflicts of Interest
The firm is licensed to practice law several states and we represent many other companies and individuals. It is possible that during the time we’re representing you, some of our present or future clients will be engaged in transactions, or encountered disputes, with you. You agree that we may continue to represent, and may undertake in the future to represent, existing or new clients in any matter, including litigation, that is not substantially related to our work for you even if the interests of such clients in those matters are directly adverse to you. We agree, however, that your advance consent to conflicting representations contained in the preceding sentence shall not apply in any instance where, as a result of our representation of you, we have obtained proprietary or other confidential information of a non-public nature that, if known by such other client, could be used in such other matter to your material disadvantage.
Scope of Engagement
Our engagement and the services that we will provide to you are limited to the matter identified in the accompanying letter. Any changes in the scope of our representation as described in this letter must be approved in writing.
Legal Service Fees
Our policy is to bill not more frequently than biweekly, based on services performed in the previous two weeks, including expenses incurred on your behalf. Any changes in the billing arrangements and policies set forth in the statement and the accompanying engagement letter will be notified to you.
Out-of-pocket charges will be billed to you at cost plus 5% administrative fee and would include such items as commercial messenger deliveries, postage, filing fees, transcripts, copying or document management, printing costs, travel, and related expenses such as meals and lodging. If we are required to work under emergency circumstances requiring staff overtime, our practices to bill for such overtime. Their invoices will also reflect charges for additional expenditures made on your behalf, such as long distance and car phone telephone calls, reproduction and outbound faxes. There will be no charge for in-bound faxes. The standard charges for these services are listed below
Service Current Charge
Photocopies $0.20 per page
Telephone calls three quarters of one percent of undiscounted fees for legal services rendered
Outbound faxes $2.00 per page
Computerize legal research The charges formulated to allow the firm to recover the direct operating costs of the computerized legal research system and to ensure that the client receives the maximum economic benefit provided by the vendors.
Out-of-pocket charges in excess of $250.00 will be sent directly to you for payment or, if you prefer, we can establish a separate expense retainer that will be held in escrow account and be applied against these expenses.
Hourly Billing (if applicable)
When you become a new client, your initial bill will reflect up to one hour of expended but unbilled time. In extending this discount, we are not billing you for up to one half hour of the initial consultation and up to one half hour of the efforts we expend preparing engagement letters, opening attorney trust account(s) in your name (if applicable), establishing a new account in our administrative and billing systems. You will be billed for all time expended on your account above the initial discount extended to you, including without limitation, time spent during the initial consultation (as discussed above), time spent traveling, and any time spent by us in relation to your matter whether. Such billable time will include, for example and without limitation, time spent: in in-person meetings or telephone consultations with you or others, engaged in research, preparing documents, developing strategy, and in consultation with other professionals, etc…
Payment is due on receipt and, except as expressly agreed to otherwise, is not contingent or depended on the outcome of the engagement, such as prevailing in a lawsuit or concluding a transaction. If an invoice remains unpaid after fourteen days we will assess the carrying charge of 15% per annum (1.25% percent per month) on the unpaid balance from the date due. In addition, if an invoice remains unpaid after thirty days, we will assess a monthly charge of 3/10ths of one hour (at our then current undiscounted usual and customary hourly rate) for the ongoing administration of the past due account related to account maintenance, postage, and ongoing collection efforts. Such amount will be added to the invoice. We reserve the right to end our work on this matter and any other matters for which we may be simultaneously engaged, and to withdraw from the representation on proper notice if we do not receive payment in full within fourteen days from the date of the invoice. If you have any special policies with respect information you want to have included in our invoices, please advise us promptly. Please review our invoices when you receive them, so that any questions you may have are raised in a timely fashion.
We will engage expert consultants and professional service providers on your behalf, but you will be responsible for paying their costs and expenses directly to them unless our firm has a prior arrangement to bill on their behalf. These experts and consultants will bill you separately or broken out on your invoice from our firm.
If we receive funds belonging to you that, in our best judgment, are large enough to earn a material amount of interest, we will discuss investment options with you. If in our best judgment the funds are not large enough for and not to be held long enough to earn at least $100.00 interest, may place these funds in a pooled trust account, pursuant to local rules, the interest on which it is payable to a charitable organization of our choosing
You should understand that, where the scope of our representation involves or may involve a claim or potential claim against you, you may have an insurance policy that may provide coverage of some sort for the claim or potential claim. Insurance companies are offering a wide variety of insurance products, and we urge you to consult with your insurance representative (or carrier), risk manager, or other appropriate persons to doubt the potential for insurance coverage for any claim or potential claim. Unless you specifically request our advice and provide us with a copy of the policy, we assume no obligation to advise you with respect to insurance coverage for any claim or potential claim within the scope of our representation of you.
Either of us may terminate the engagement at any time for any reason by written notice, subject on our part to our professional obligations to you under applicable rules of professional conduct. Unless previously terminated, our representation of you will terminate on our sending you our final statement for services rendered in this matter. Unless you engage us after termination of this matter, we will have no continuing obligation to advise you with respect to future legal developments, such as changes in the applicable laws or regulations that could have an affect on your future rights and liabilities.
Records and Files
Following the conclusion of our representation, we will keep confidential any non-public information you have supplied to us that we retain in accordance with applicable rules of professional conduct. At your request we’ll return your papers and property to you promptly on receipt of payment for outstanding fees and costs. The firm will retain its own files pertaining to the matter in accordance with the firm’s record retention program. For various reasons, including the minimization of unnecessary storage expenses, we reserve the right to destroy or otherwise dispose of any such document or other materials after a reasonable time and without further notice after the termination of the engagement.
In the event of any inconsistency between this Policy Statement and you’re written engagement letter the terms of your written engagement letter will prevail.