Last Update – January 11, 2021
All clients working with Modern Law are bound by the terms and conditions which, coupled with your specific engagement, create the “client agreement” or “client engagement.”
You are engaging Modern Law for representation in your family law matter, which includes any actions in superior court related to an order of protection or family court case. It does not include family law appeals, drafting QRDOs, or tax advice. Modern Law will be the representing firm for you in your case regardless of the lawyer who is assigned to work on your case, you can expect Modern Law to make staffing decisions that will provide cost-effective and efficient results, meaning that you can expect the Firm to call on the services of other specialized and talented attorneys, paralegals, secretaries, investigators, litigation, and clerical support assistants to help in you case, if it’s necessary.
We will always communicate staffing decisions and you will always be a part of the team making plans and decisions about your case.
Your agreement with Modern Law, and their representation in your case will begin after you have signed the engagement agreement/client agreement, paid the fees associated with representation and discussed the client agreement with your assigned attorney in your initial meeting/strategy session.
If you were referred to Modern Law, we will thank the person who referred you with a $200 cash or check. Likewise, should you ever refer a client to Modern Law, we will also send you a $200 cash or check as a thank you for your trust and support. This is considered a de minimus gift in appreciation for referrals, it will not cause a conflict with the existing representation and the same offer is being made to everyone.
You have discussed your particular situation with the Firm and we agree that they will undertake this matter and work with me to achieve my goals and objectives by using its lawyers’ best judgment and skill on your behalf. We will have ongoing discussions about your case and you will be involved in the strategic decisions surrounding filings, settlement, discovery, and generally throughout the litigation or settlement process.
Modern Law cannot guarantee and has not guaranteed any result in the outcome of your case, and you understand it’s impossible to determine a final cost at this stage in my agreement with them. Modern Law will keep you up to date regarding your expenses and progress along the way so that you will be made aware of any expenses as they arise.
Your costs and what you can expect to pay
Your bill for legal services will always follow the rules set out by the Arizona Supreme Court for accepted practices in the state. (Rule 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct)
You can expect to be presented with written records of the actual hourly services rendered for your review twice a month. You will pay Modern Law based on its hourly rates for specialized training, experience and expertise, and professional status.
Those rates are:
- Attorneys: $250-$425 hourly
- Paralegals: $150 hourly
- Legal Administrative work: $100 hourly
I understand that rates may change from time to time, but I will be notified in writing at least 30 days in advance of any rate increase. I may have been given an estimate of typical costs for the type of case I have, but I understand it’s not a promise or guarantee of the total amount to resolve my case.
Budgeting For Your Case
Modern Law bills some drafting projects by a flat fee to make things easier and give you a better idea of what to expect. For example:
- Petitions: (including any and all required accompanying documents) $800
- Responses: (including any and all required accompanying documents) $600
- Responses: (including any and all required accompanying documents) and Counter Petition $800
- Minimum Charge Motions $100
- Discovery Requests: $200 (Uniform Interrogatories, Non Uniform Interrogatories, Request for Admissions or Request for Production of Documents and Things)
- Letters: .5 minimum charge
- Basic Estate Planning (including updated Powers of Attorney) $500
- Weekend and Evening Contact: 1.5 times the regular hourly rate
Only the specific drafting documents above are billed at a flat rate. All other billing is based on the hourly rate of the individual working on your case and time is tracked and billed in 1/10 per minute increments for any time spent working on your case. That includes reading and responding to emails, traveling to court from our office, and reviewing documents and any other work directly related to your case. While we bill hourly and cannot estimate or cap the cost of your representation we will attempt to estimate the anticipated fees associated with any given decision to be made on your case, and you understand those estimates are not a maximum or guaranteed price. For instance, we may tell you that an average divorce in our firm costs around $6,500 or that a deposition costs roughly $2,500, and you understand that these estimates may vary in your particular case. We offer these estimates so that you can make informed choices about the many options we have within your case.
We will pay for costs directly related to your case, (like filing fees, the costs for a third party to prepare exhibits, the costs of a court reporter related to depositions) out of your trust account on your behalf. You will see these itemized fees on your regular billing statements. We will discuss these fees with you so there are no surprises.
What Kind Of Retainer/Advance Payment Will I Need To Pay?
Modern Law asks for an advanced deposit specific to your case to begin work, along with a credit card authorization. My funds will be safely held in a trust account, and will be replenished by my credit card if I fail to pay my account. I understand that Modern Law will not begin work on my case without this advance payment and my approval of this agreement. When I’m issued a bill for legal services, if I don’t pay these directly, I can expect Modern Law to draw from the funds held in trust, or to use my credit card if those funds have already been drawn upon. I will be able to review my bill in statements sent twice a month.
If I am unable to make payments or unable to maintain an advance deposit within 30 days, my representation by Modern Law may end. The most important thing is that you communicate with us about whatever your budget limitations including both amount and timing of payment. We will always try to work with you.
You also understand that unpaid balances accrue interest at the rate of 1.5% per month, or 16% annually.
When Do We Begin?
Once my Advanced Deposit is made and the agreement signed here, we can begin. Your trust account must be fully funded at least 30 days prior to any scheduled hearing or trial, otherwise, Modern Law will not be able to begin or represent you.
Your Information Is Confidential No Matter Who is Paying The Bill
If someone else is paying for your representation, You can expect that your information will be kept confidential. You won’t have to give up any rights to decisions you’ll need to make with your attorney just because someone else may be paying the bill.
And, just to be clear, a third-party payor is not the person being represented, so any refunds of trust money will go to you. If you want us to share information with any 3rd party, tells us specifically who and what we should share. Sharing information with third parties may waive the attorney/client privilege, so make sure to discuss this with your attorney prior to involving third parties in your representation.
How is my information stored?
Modern Law utilizes technology wherever possible to increase efficiency and decrease my costs. This agreement allows your information to be electronically stored “in the Cloud.”
If this is a problem, you must inform Modern Law, so that they may take additional steps to secure my information.
You should use a private email address for communications with your Attorney. Work email is not strictly confidential, and your confidentiality may be compromised if you use anything other than your personal, private email account to communicate with Modern Law.
No settlement will be entered without your approval
Modern Law will never enter into a legal settlement without your approval. Your cooperation with your attorney is important to getting the job done if a settlement is under consideration. For that reason, you will need to:
- provide information as it’s needed
- reply in a timely fashion by phone or email
- provide paperwork needed for discovery or disclosure
- assist in preparation for trial
- let Modern Law know if your contact information changes
If you should fail to follow through with these actions, Modern Law may withdraw from representing you.
Modern Law uses electronic files and will provide me with an electronic file once my case is closed. Modern law does not keep my original documents and will return everything to me once it is scanned. In the event there may also be hard copies or materials that belong to me they will be returned to me to the best of their ability. If for some reason, I am unavailable, or can’t be reached, the Firm will destroy the papers. I am responsible for keeping copies of emails sent to or from Modern Law. I agree to download my complete electronic file from Modern Law within two years of receiving my file.
The Right To Terminate
It’s possible that you – or the Firm – may choose to terminate their representation for you at any time for any reason with written notice, subject to the Firm’s ethical duties. If the Firm decides to terminate its representation of you, the Firm will take reasonable steps to protect your interests.
If you are at any time dissatisfied with the Firm or if you have a question about the fees charged or billing statements or any other matter, you must inform the firm promptly and work with the Firm toward a resolution. It’s understood that both you and the firm will retain the option to terminate representation at any time upon written notice, subject to the Firm’s obligation to its ethical duties.
If that should occur, you agree to promptly pay all outstanding fees and costs incurred for services rendered through the date of termination.
If a dispute arises between you and the Firm regarding the fees in this matter, we agree to first communicate and negotiate to try and resolve the dispute. If it cannot be resolved among us, we agree to bring the dispute through binding arbitration through the State Bar of Arizona fee arbitration program. If you fail to pay fees billed by the Firm, or the costs or expenses incurred, these do not constitute a “dispute,” and the Firm reserves the right to pursue legal remedies to collect earned fees, or costs and expenses.
How we collect unpaid balances or fees
If you should fail to pay for any expenditure of time, fees or expenses, Modern Law may seek collection on costs owed. If this occurs, there will be additional collection expenses, interest owned and potentially attorneys fees for any action taken on collection of unpaid amounts.
You agree that you will be responsible for these fees. If one section of this agreement is modified or waived, all other elements of this agreement will continue unchanged. Any modification or waiver of this Agreement will need to be in writing and signed by both you and the Firm.
This agreement constitutes the entire agreement and understanding between you and the Firm. In addition, this agreement will supercede any prior agreement and understanding we may have had. If at some point some element of this agreement becomes invalid or unenforceable, then the remainder of the agreement shall continue, governed under the laws of the State of Arizona.