Terms of Engagement & Fees
(Any questions or comments regarding these terms or fees should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org)
Commencement of Representation: My representation only commences after I have: (a) Received and reviewed your completed intake form; (b) Received any requested/promised documents; (c) Received your retainer, when requested; (d) Received your signed copy of my Engagement Letter.
If you your matter is extremely time-sensitive, e.g. you have a deadline to meet within seven days or less, I may not be able to assist you. You must discuss this with me in advance and receive my written or emailed confirmation of my ability to meet your time frame.
I reserve the right to decline representation for any reason, or no reason. In the event there is a conflict [e.g. existing client on other side of matter; general positional conflict, etc.] or the matter is not something I feel I can help you with, I will attempt to notify you as soon as reasonably possible. I cannot assume any obligation to refer you to other attorneys. The Oregon State Bar’s Referral Service is (503) 684-3763.
- Rates: You are encouraged to discuss rates with me. My hourly rate is set forth in my written Engagement Letter. My rate depends upon the matter for which I have been engaged. Currently, my general rate is between $300 and $400 per hour. On distressed property matters, my fee is $250 per hour. These rates could change at any time, in which case, I would give you not less than 30 days’ prior notice. Before engaging me for any legal work, you are encouraged to compare rates and qualifications with other attorneys in Oregon or elsewhere.
- Retainers. I generally work off of a retainer. This is a prepaid sum that I request from the client. It may either be paid via check or credit card to my online trust account. No funds are withdrawn from trust unless they have been earned, i.e. I have performed legal services for which payment is due. If the matter is continuing and extensive, and the retainer is soon to be depleted, I frequently request that the trust account be refreshed. An accounting for my legal services is memorialized in an invoice that will be sent to you via regular mail or via electronic mail. Upon termination of the attorney-client relationship or conclusion of the matter, any unused moneys held in trust are refunded.
- Scope of Legal Services: If you hire me, you should know the services that I charges for. These include in-person conferences, telephone conversations with you and others related to your case, all electronic communications such as email and facsimiles, with you and others pertaining to your matter. I also charge for document review, investigation, legal research (I reserve the right to subcontract out legal research and paralegal services); drafting and finalizing legal documents; drafting and finalizing letters; and all other activities reasonably appropriate to my handling of your matter. I do not normally charge for photocopying, scanning or long distance calls. However, with some projects, there may be an extra charge for contracted secretarial/assistant/paralegal or large photocopying services. You are encouraged to discuss these with me in advance of any formal representation. I do not offer “free consultations” since it creates legal liability unacceptable to my errors and omissions insurance carrier.
- Charging of Time; Costs: You are charged by fractions of an hour to the nearest one-tenth of an hour (six minutes), which is the minimum charge for any services I provide. You are responsible for all costs related to your case. This includes such things as investigation fees, contracted services, contracted legal research, filing fees, and other necessary fees and office costs. You may be notified by me in advance of the expenditure of such fees and requested to deposit the anticipated sum necessary to cover the cost. I do not normally advance costs, but in cases in which I do, the sum advanced must be promptly repaid within ten (10) days upon receipt of invoice. However, I am not required to advance any costs or fees on your matter.
- Monthly Statements/Duty to Pay: I render monthly invoices itemizing the time devoted to your matter, any sums advanced, and the total amount due. Any fees not paid within 30 days of billing will accrue interest at the rate of 12 percent per annum, or 1.00% per month. You are encouraged to promptly review your monthly statement and contact me or e-mail my Administrator (email@example.com) if you have any questions or concerns. Monthly statements may be sent via regular mail, electronic mail, or both.
- Copies: You will be provided with copies of all letters, electronic mail, and other correspondence prepared, received, or filed in your matter. My primary mode of client and attorney communications is the telephone (503.444.7661), electronic mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), and facsimile (503.961.1862). Since I strive to achieve a green paperless office, you are encouraged to use electronic or facsimile services for transmitting paper documents when possible. All original documents belonging to you will be returned after scanning. Archives and other documents are retained on computer hard drives and electronically on secure electronic facilities (Carbonite, Dropbox and Evernote and secure electronic mail backup).
- Withdrawal/Discharge: I reserve the right to withdraw as your legal counsel for any reason or no reason. If you fail to meet your financial agreement set forth in the Engagement Letter, or otherwise fail to cooperate or communicate in your matter I will withdraw immediately. Conversely, you may discharge me for any cause, or no cause, at any time. You are entitled to a return of any documents not previously provided or returned following payment of any balance owing on my legal fees and costs advanced, including the costs of photocopying your file upon termination.
- Strategic Alliances: I started my solo real estate practice on February 1, 2010. In order to best serve my clients, I have established certain strategic alliances with other qualified Oregon attorneys/paralegals skilled in such things as legal research, investigation, litigation, complex tax or commercial real estate matters, etc. Most of these persons have skills that I have routinely relied upon in the past, or am familiar with today. They are not a legal part of Querin Law, LLC, which is a single member Oregon Limited Liability Corporation owned solely by myself. In some – but not all – cases, I may secure a percentage of the fees received by the referred attorney. The referred attorney will not up-charge you more for this relationship. In such cases, and only with your consent, the referred attorney will be substituted as your legal counsel. You may be requested to sign a new engagement letter with the referred attorney. You are encouraged to discuss these strategic alliances with me at any time.
- Practice Exclusions: Litigation, Securities Matters, Complex Commercial and Tax-Related Transactions: Although real estate dispute resolution was a major portion of my law practice for the past 40-plus years, I no longer go to court. I do not, and have never, handled any matters involving state or federal security laws. I do not issue opinion letters for lenders. I do, on a selective basis, handle mediations or arbitrations involving real estate disputes. Complex commercial real estate or tax matters are not a part of my practice. This work is referred to others. I am not a CPA or tax attorney and do not render specific tax advice. I do provide general information concerning distressed housing/cancellation of debt tax consequences, but all clients are strongly encouraged to seek separate tax counsel for their specific situation. I am only licensed to practice law in the state of Oregon. However, I have relationships with other attorneys, including those licensed in Washington and California, to whom I continue to refer legal work. If your real estate matter includes [or will likely include] Oregon litigation, complex commercial transactions tax work, or any legal work involving Washington or California laws or transactions, with your consent, I will likely refer it to attorneys licensed in those states. I do not make referrals to securities lawyers, primarily because I am not familiar with the attorneys practicing in that area. In all cases, however, you are encouraged to make the final decision on which attorney is best for you.
[Revised December 2017]