The Number One Question
The very first question asked by new and prospective clients is always “How much will this cost”. Unfortunately, that is one of the most difficult questions to answer. Each and every case is unique and no two cases require the same amount of time, effort, or preparation. What this means is that, 99 times out of 100 it is truly impossible to predict exactly how much a case will ultimately cost. However, even though nobody can predict the number of hours of work a case might require, we at Rick Dane Moore and Associates feel that we should still be as transparent as possible. Even if we cannot predict the number of hours of work we will have to put into your case; we can tell you how we will handle your case and how much we charge per hour.
The retainer is the most common way in which law firms will bill their clients. Imagine, if you will, a pre-paid cell phone. In order to be able to use the minutes you first have to purchase the minutes in advance. The retainer works in the same fashion. It is essentially a pre-payment by you for a certain number of hours. We then begin working on your case and deduct funds from your retainer based upon the amount of time that we spend working on your case. Also, with a pre-paid phone, if you run out of minutes before your work is done you have to buy more. The same holds true with a retainer. If the retainer fund runs out before the case is completed, it needs to be replenished in order for our team to be able to continue working for you.
In billing against the retainer, most law firms will bill in increments a quarter hour. What this means is that every task performed in working on your case is billed in blocks of fifteen minutes; even if the task did not take fifteen minutes to complete. For example, if the attorney spends six minutes on the phone with you discussing your case, that attorney will bill you for fifteen minutes of his or her time. Our office is different. Instead of billing in increments of a quarter hour, we bill in increments of a tenth of an hour – six minute blocks. So, if a member of our team spends six minutes on the phone with you about your case, you will be billed for six minutes of time not fifteen. The difference may seem small; but the result is huge.
At Rick Dane Moore & Associates we have three levels of hourly rates that get billed in six minute increments. These levels are based upon experience and expertise. Our managing attorney has nearly 30 years of experience and bills at $200 per hour, our associate attorneys have between one and five years of experience and bill $125 per hour, and our legal interns range from their second year of law school to recent law school graduates and bill $75 per hour. Since we bill in six minute increments this means that managing attorneys bill $20 for every six minutes, associate attorneys bill $12.50 every six minutes, and legal interns bill $7.50 for every six minutes. Compare this to firms that bill in blocks of fifteen minutes. The rate jumps to $50, $31.25, and $18.75 respectively. We bill in smaller blocks so that we can give you the most quality representation for your money, billing at scaled rates based upon our experience.
How we work
Once you have hired our team and paid a retainer, your case will be assigned to one of our legally trained interns who will act as your case manager. This intern will be in his or her last year of study and will perform most of the behind the scenes work in preparing your case. This will include reviewing case files and documents, researching statutes and case law, drafting motions and pleadings, and serving as your primary point of contact with our office. We do this because our interns are fully qualified for this type of work and because they do not cost you as much as our licensed attorneys. Because they are in their last year of school, they are in the best position to learn and understand the most recent changes in the law and apply them to your case.
Our associate attorneys review, edit, and approve all work product produced by your case manager. They will also work with your case manager one on one in order to thoroughly develop our strategy and prepare your case for court. We also hold team meetings at least twice per month in order to make sure that your case is where it needs to be and ensure that nothing has been missed in preparation. One of our associate attorneys will also meet you at court, answer any questions you have, coordinate with opposing counsel, and zealously argue your case before the judge.
Our managing attorneys will supervise and point the team in the right legal direction as needed. Rarely do they involve themselves directly in a case other than during team meetings unless it is absolutely necessary. We do this so that you are afforded the benefit of their many years of experience without having to also pay the increased hourly amount that they bill at.
Why is our firm your best choice?
We believe in going the extra distance to represent you while also providing you the most reasonable rates. We are not like most lawyers out there. We give our clients our cell phone numbers and are generally available to answer questions or deal with concerns as they arise. We understand that not all questions occur during business hours, and a member of our team is available after hours to address any emergency questions or concerns that may arise. We have the perfect combination of experience, enthusiasm, and education to meet your needs.