Q. How are attorneys’ fees charged?

There are three main ways that attorneys charge fees. They are: 1) by a pre-determined hourly rate, 2) on contingency and 3) flat fee. Under the hourly fee arrangement, the attorney keeps track of the time spent working on your behalf and bills you each month for the hours worked. Contingency fees are charged as a percentage of the amount recovered in personal injury and products liability cases. With a flat fee, the attorney charges a pre-determined amount for a given case or legal service.

Q. What is a retainer?

A retainer is a down payment or deposit for legal fees and may be refundable if you incur lower legal expenses than expected. A retainer does not limit the amount of fees incurred.

Q. What is alternative dispute resolution?

Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods include mediation, conciliation, arbitration and settlement, among others.

Q. What is mediation?

Mediation is a process of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, the mediator, assists two or more parties to help them negotiate an agreement on a matter of common interest. Mediation is not binding.

Q. What is arbitration?

A dispute resolution process that is binding: disputing parties agree in advance to be bound by the arbitrator’s decision. The arbitrator acts as a private judge in a closed and private court. The arbitrator’s final decision is based on the evidence and testimony of all parties provided at a hearing convened by the arbitrator.

Q. Why should a firm consider retaining Pakis, Giotes, Page & Burleson, P.C., if they already have an in-house legal department?

Generally, you should consider hiring outside legal counsel when you need specific expertise in an area that your in-house legal department may not have. Even when in-house counsel has the expertise, they may not have the time to devote it to a specific need.