STANDARD TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT FOR LEGAL SERVICES
PROVIDED BY ROBERT J. STERN LAW, LLC
We are pleased that you have retained Robert J. Stern Law, LLC, to represent you. We look forward to working with you to meet your needs and legal objectives. The following are the standard terms and conditions applicable to the engagement of Robert J. Stern Law, LLC, as your attorney. Unless expressly stated in the Engagement Letter, the following constitutes our agreement for the provision of legal services to you. You should carefully review these terms and contact us if you have any questions.
SCOPE OF WORK TO BE PERFORMED BY ROBERT J. STERN LAW, LLC
We will provide competent representation of your interests, consult with you regarding your objectives, and endeavor to keep you advised of the status of your matter(s) to the extent necessary to enable you to make informed decisions. Expressions on our part concerning the probable outcome of our representation will reflect our best professional judgment, but are not guarantees, as they are limited by our knowledge of the facts and are based on the state of the law at the time they are expressed.
We will maintain confidentiality with regard to the handling of your matters as well as any other information you provide to us, except to the extent that you consent to the contrary, or as necessary to carry out our representation, or as required by the ethical rules governing lawyers, or by applicable law.
In order to serve you, we ask that you cooperate with us by promptly responding to any inquiries we make, provide written materials or documents in a timely manner, and otherwise provide us with any and all information necessary for us to represent you. Failure to provide such information could prejudice the quality of our representation and advice to you, and could ultimately reduce the effectiveness of our representation.
THE BASIS OF OUR FEES
If the fee is based in time, please note that we record our time in tenths of an hour. In most cases, we determine the amount charged for our legal services by the time expended by attorneys, legal assistants, and other professionals at their hourly billing rates. If we have agreed to an alternate basis for calculating your fees, such as a flat fee, it is set forth in the Engagement Letter.
We adjust our hourly rates periodically. Upon request, we will furnish to you the current hourly rates of the attorneys, legal assistants, and other professionals who we anticipate will be working on your matters. Also upon request, we will endeavor to provide an estimate of the amount of fees and costs likely to be incurred in connection with a particular matter.
The fees and costs related to a matter are not predictable and if we provide you with a budget, it will constitute our best estimate, at the time, of the cost of the engagement, based upon information then available to us. We make no commitment to you concerning the maximum fees and costs that will be necessary to resolve or complete a matter. Unless otherwise set forth in the Engagement Letter, payment of the firm’s fees and costs is in no way contingent on the ultimate outcome of the matter.
DISBURSEMENTS AND OTHER EXPENSES
We will charge you an amount established by the firm for photocopies, computerized legal research, toll and long distance telephone charges, overnight charges, facsimile transmissions, in-house messenger services, and postage where incurred. Upon request, we will furnish to you a summary of the current charges for these services. We will also pass along to you certain costs that we have incurred on your behalf for services provided by third parties. These include, but are not limited to, travel and lodging expenses, meals, courier services, special copy services, filing and other court fees, arbitration and mediation fees, and fees paid on your behalf to expert witnesses, court stenographers, title companies and other service providers. In most cases, these charges will be billed to you on your monthly statement. On occasion, we will ask that arrangements be made between you and a third party directly for the payment of services provided on your behalf. All such costs and expenses, whether or not paid by us, are contracted for by us as your agent and you agree to pay these costs promptly.
For new clients and in certain other cases where we deem it appropriate, we require the advance payment of a retainer in an amount we specify to serve as both an advance payment of and security for our fees. We will advise you of the amount of the retainer we will require before we can commence work. If the amount of the retainer proves insufficient, we may require that it be increased. We treat all retainer payments as funds of our firm upon receipt; we reserve the right to apply retainer amounts to payment of our fees and costs. We will expect you to replenish the retainer upon request. We reserve the right to suspend representation if the retainer is not replenished within thirty (30) days of the date you were notified to do so. At the conclusion of our representation, we will return to you the balance of any remaining retainer after deducting our fees and costs. If you terminate our representation of you, unless otherwise agreed upon in advance in writing, we will refund to you any portion of the retainer not applied by or owed to us for our fees and costs with respect to services performed and disbursements accrued prior to such termination.
FREQUENCY OF BILLING, PAYMENT TERMS AND PAYMENT DISPUTES
We render statements for legal services and expenses monthly, unless otherwise set forth in the Engagement Letter. All invoices are due upon presentation. If any invoice is not paid within thirty (30) days of its date, interest may be imposed at the rate of 1½% per month, except as and where prohibited by applicable law. Additionally we may postpone or defer providing additional services or discontinue our representation if billed amounts are not paid when due. If a delinquency continues and you do not arrange payment terms satisfactory to us, we may pursue collection of your account. You agree to pay the costs of collecting any such delinquency, including court costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. Termination of our representation does not discharge your obligation to pay our firm all amounts due.
In the unlikely event of a billing or payment dispute, please address your concerns to the attorney with whom you are working on this matter within thirty (30) days of receipt of our invoice. If we do not hear from you within this time period, we will assume that the invoice presented to you represents a fair and reasonable charge for the services rendered and expenses incurred on your behalf, and we will expect payment in full of such invoice.
TERMINATION OF REPRESENTATION
You may terminate our representation of you at any time. At your request, your papers and property will be returned to you promptly upon receipt of payment for outstanding fees and expenses. We will retain our own files pertaining to our representation of your matter(s) and transfer them to the person responsible for administering our records retention policy. For various reasons, including minimizing unnecessary storage expenses, we reserve the right to destroy or otherwise dispose of such documents or other materials retained by us within a reasonable time after the termination of the engagement.
In the event that you choose to change representation to any attorney outside of our firm, we will require written notice signed by you authorizing the transfer of your files, as well as written acknowledgement of your responsibility to pay any outstanding accounts receivable and unbilled time. We also reserve the right to retain photocopies of your files.
The ethical rules governing attorneys specify several types of conduct or circumstances that require or allow us to withdraw from representing you. These include, for example, non-payment of fees or costs, misrepresentation of or failure to disclose material facts, actions contrary to our advice, and conflicts of interest with another client or failure to return the signed Engagement Letter. We will attempt to identify in advance and discuss with you any situation that may lead to our withdrawal. Should we have to withdraw from representing you, we will give you prompt notice. Should we elect to withdraw, you agree to cooperate with us by executing any necessary documents, in court or otherwise, and pay us for all outstanding legal fees or costs incurred on your behalf before withdrawal.