Frequently Asked Questions


Question: How do you bill for your legal services?

I have various billing methods. For criminal matters, will drafting and evictions I bill a flat fee. In personal injury/wrongful death cases I work on a contingent fee basis. Business agreement and most civil litigation matters are billed on an hourly fee basis. Also, services as a mediator or special master are provided on an hourly fee basis. Sometimes the legal services provided don't really fit traditional fee arrangements. In those situations I use a number of criteria to fix the fee amount, including the fairness of the billing amount to the client and to me, consideration of the extraordinary overtime hours required for urgent or immediate work, and economies that result from repetitive nature of similar projects.

Question: Do you require a retainer for all engagements?

Retainers are required for hourly fee services, for example litigation, preparation of commercial or business agreements, etc. In those types of cases, as work progresses and is billed, the retainer may be depleted. At that I will ask for a "refresher", an additional payment on retainer. Services provided on a flat or contingent fee basis do not require retainers, but need to be paid for in advance.

Question: Am I required to appear in court in all criminal proceedings?

It depends on whether your have been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor cases in Humboldt County do not require that you to appear in court if you are represented by private legal counsel. However, generally you must attend all court proceedings in felony cases, unless you have entered into a waiver of your personal appearance and have the court's permission to be absent from certain proceedings.

Question: How do you feel about communicating with clients?

Lawyers must listen to clients. How would lawyers learn the facts about a client's situation without listening? Lawyers must also be good communicators. Clients are dependent on the communication skills of their lawyer to understand the application of the law and the effect of the legal system on their situation. Effort has to be expended to make sure good and continuous communications are established and maintained between the client and lawyer. Timely responses to telephone calls, letters and emails by the lawyer are an important component of maintaining good communications.