A Word About Fees...

We try to make fee arrangements that are fair and appropriate to the matter or matters you have hired this firm to handle for you. Given the variety of matters trial attorneys can be asked to handle, we recognize that what is an appropriate fee in one case may not be the right fit for another. Accordingly, we offer a variety of different types of fee arrangements, including but not limited to traditional hourly billing, flat fee, and contingency fee arrangements. Regardless of the type of fee arrangement you choose, the following definitions may be helpful in understanding the rights and obligations conferred upon you by the fee agreement you enter into.

Flat Fee. A flat fee is a fixed amount paid to a lawyer for specific, agreed-upon services, or for a fixed, agreed-upon stage in representation, regardless of the time required of the lawyer to perform the service or reach the agreed-upon stage in the representation. A flat fee, sometimes referred to as "unit billing" is not an advance against the lawyer's hourly rate and is not billed against at an hourly rate. Flat fees become the property of the lawyer upon receipt, subject only to the requirements of various Supreme Court Rules.

Reservation Fee. A reservation fee, sometimes referred to as a retainer, is a fee paid to secure the attorneys' entry onto the case. By accepting your representation, attorneys may be precluded from accepting other representation, either by reason of their holding time aside, or because of the application of rules regarding conflicts of interest. By not being able to represent another party involved in your matter, attorneys may earn the reservation fee and provide value to you regardless of the amount of legal services that are performed. The experience, reputation, and skill of the attorneys may also result in an immediate benefit to you, again without regard to whether extensive labor is performed. Accordingly, such fees are deemed earned when paid.

Trust Deposit. A trust deposit, sometimes referred to as an advance, consists of funds required to be paid into an attorney's trust account to be applied against future billings for attorney time, or other costs associated with the attorney's handling of your matter. However, these funds are your funds, and are held in a trust account. Unless the amount is unusually large, or the funds are anticipated to be held for an unusually long period of time, they are held in a common trust account, and neither you, nor the attorneys receive any interest on these funds. Any interest paid by the bank on such pooled trust accounts goes to support charitable or public interests pursuant to the rules applicable to such accounts.

Arbitration. As with any billing arrangement, questions regarding charges, payments, and credits sometimes arise. If you have a question about your bill, you are encouraged to contact the attorney handling your case to schedule a time to sit down and talk with them to see if a mutually satisfactory answer to the question can be arrived at. Such conferences should be scheduled, as it assures that the attorney will be available, and more importantly, have your file and billing records available to discuss them with you. If, after discussing matters with the attorney handling the case, a mutually satisfactory solution is not arrived at, you are advised of the availability of a low cost fee arbitration program run by the State Bar. This provides an inexpensive, user friendly method of having an objective third party review any fee dispute. You may obtain more information about this program from the attorney handling your case, or directly from the State Bar of Wisconsin.