You may have seen TV ads that advertise “free consultation.” So, it may come as a surprise when we ask you to pay for your initial consultation. Why do we do that? There are a number of reasons. First, most of the lawyers who advertise on television handle personal injury cases, where the attorney’s fees are based on a percentage of the money recovered. That is called a contingent fee. For that kind of case, the initial consultation is a way for the lawyer to see if you are likely to recover enough money to justify the time and effort your case will take. Bays Family Law does not do personal injury work, and it is illegal to charge a percentage fee in a family law case.
Our attorneys are professionals. You would not expect to get a free consultation from a doctor who is going to provide a surgery or procedure. Why? Because the doctor performs a service in that first consultation, reviewing information about your condition, examining you, and discussing treatment options with you. Our attorneys provide a similar service at all of our initial consultations. They review information and documents. They explain the law and how it applies to your particular circumstances. They give legal advice to help you position yourself for a better outcome.
Our consultations are not sales pitches. We don’t want you to feel pressured into hiring us the first time you come to our office. Unless there is a time-sensitive emergency, we won’t ask you to sign a representation contract during the first meeting. Representation contracts are typically emailed to clients, so that you can make a reasoned decision in the privacy of your own home.
Except for the particular matters described below, Bays Family Law charges for services on an hourly basis. Our hourly rates are:
- $300.00 per hour for Donna J. Bays
- $230.00 per hour for Jennifer Bays Beinart
- $120.00 per hour for Paralegal Services
You will also be charged for out-of- pocket expenses.
The hourly rates may be lower for Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordination services. Those services require a Court appointment. Your attorney can call for our current fee structures for Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordination services.
Exception to Hourly Service
For uncontested Guardianships without a temporary hearing, we charge a flat fee of $1,100.00, plus expenses. Your consultation fee will be applied against the flat fee. For uncontested Guardianships that require a temporary hearing, we charge a flat fee of $1,500.00, plus expenses. If the Guardianship becomes contested, your attorney fees would then be charged on an hourly basis.
For simple estate plans, we charge a flat fee of $250.00 per client, or $350.00 for a married couple with matching terms. The simple estate plan includes an uncomplicated will, a living will, and a healthcare power of attorney. If you estate plan requires a financial power of attorney, we charge an additional $50.00 for the drafting and execution of that document with a simple estate plan package.
In order to retain our services beyond an initial consultation, you will be required to pay a retainer deposit. The amount of the retainer is based on the complexity of your matter and billing arrangement. If you agree to authorize an automatic credit card charge each time you are billed, the retainer amount will be lower.
Billing and Payment
Statements are issued monthly if your fees are based hourly services. We accept the following methods of payment: Checks, Cash, Money Order, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. Payments by credit or debit card may be made online after aCredit Card Authorization has been signed.