Obviously, you should be concerned about the cost of quality legal representation. In my mind, being a lawyer involves providing a public service, and hiring a lawyer to present your case and defend your rights should be affordable.
The law can be very complicated, as it and a citizen can be intertwined in many ways. Frequently, a citizen is not equipped to deal with the intricacies of the law but is forced to do so. I have not represented large corporations or institutions, where the going rate in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Area is upwards of $600 per hour. Rather, most of my clients are individuals and working people. I try to keep my overhead low which allows me to keep my fees affordable and reasonable.
My fees depend on the type of case I am handling. Below are some general guidelines.
Personal Injury Cases
I usually handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. This means I do not get paid a fee unless there is a recovery through either a judgment obtained in court, a settlement between the parties, an arbitration award, or a successful mediation—in other words, if you don't get paid, I don't get paid. I do, however, charge for expenses such as filing fees, expert witness fees, deposition fees, medical records fees, and other normal expenses associated with prosecuting a personal injury case. For some cases, I may request an engagement fee which might be credited against a contingency should the case prove successful.
In a criminal case, I usually charge a flat fee in the smaller cases, which would be District Court. For larger cases, I may charge a flat fee or I may charge an additional engagement fee and thereafter an hourly fee. The process starts with a consultation to become familiar with your case. I consider these factors in setting my retainer:
- Criminal charges involved
- Difficulty of the case
- Specific facts of the case
- Prior criminal background
- How much time in prison or jail the client is facing
I usually charge a flat fee in traffic cases, because they are usually resolved in District Court. I usually charge an additional fee if I need to go back to court a second time. My fees in traffic cases are very competitive. My overhead is low, I am located near the Montgomery County Courthouses, and I have 25 years of experience before our judges, with our prosecutors, and with the law.
Family Law Cases
I charge an engagement fee and charge hourly rates. I keep the retainer in a trust account and, as I work and use up the retainer, I invoice the client and expect the retainer to be replenished. My normal hourly rate can vary, depending on the circumstances.
Obviously, it depends on what the case is. I look at the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill required to perform the legal service properly, whether I will be precluded from representing other clients because I am working on this particular case, and other factors.
Contact Rockville, Maryland, Lawyer Thomas G. Witkop about your case. He has a history of not turning away clients.