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Engagement Terms
and Conditions

Engagement Terms
and Conditions

Terms and Conditions of Engagement

At Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield, we are committed to ethical practice and offering our clients the highest quality legal representation. As part of our commitment to excellence, we strive for clear and open communication so that our clients will know what to expect from working with our firm. Accordingly, the terms and conditions of an attorney-client relationship with our firm are summarized below.

Rules of Professional Conduct

All attorneys are governed by Rules of Professional Conduct. Those rules require us to treat your communications with us as confidential, with limited exceptions. The requirement of confidentiality is intended to foster open and honest communication and mutual trust between you and your attorneys, which will enable us to provide you with the most effective legal representation. The confidential nature of communications between you and your attorneys is reflected in the attorney-client privilege described below.

Attorney-Client Privilege

Because communications between an attorney and client are confidential, those communications are generally privileged: that is, as a client, you may prevent their disclosure. However, that privilege can be waived, sometimes without your intending to do so. We make a point of discussing these issues, available options, and consequences of waiving the privilege, with every new client.

Correspondence

Our firm will periodically communicate with you through a variety of means, including email, letter, telephone call, video conference, or in-person meetings. As a general rule, these communications will address some aspect of your legal matter, rather than serving as a comprehensive opinion on the matter as a whole. In an effort to keep you fully informed of the progress of your legal matter, we will also periodically transmit to you copies of important documents in your legal matter, which you should keep for reference.

Legal Services

Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield is a law firm. As we provide legal services and counsel, we may, at your request, offer various suggestions or recommendations designed to help achieve your legal goals. However, it is important that you understand the nature and scope of our services and that you do not rely on us for guidance outside of that scope, such as business, technical, or investment advice, unless we agree otherwise in writing.

Legal Fees

Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield charges for professional time expended in handling your legal matter. These charges include, but are not limited to, time used in:

  • Conferring with you, whether by telephone, videoconference, or in person
  • Consultation regarding your matter with other attorneys in the firm
  • Supervision of other employees working on your legal matter
  • Reviewing and drafting correspondence, including email
  • Reviewing and drafting pleadings and other documents
  • Performing necessary research and investigation
  • Conducting depositions or other discovery in your legal matter
  • Travel to court or other venues in connection with your legal matter
  • Court appearances, including waiting in court for your matter to be called
  • Any other time needed to address your legal matter

Attorney fees are billed in increments of one-tenth of an hour, or six minutes. We always strive to be clear in our communications with you, but if you have questions regarding your bill, please ask us since bills are due upon receipt. You may contest fees that you have been charged in writing within thirty (30) days of the date of the relevant invoice. If you fail to do so, you understand that the invoice is considered to be accepted by you as valid and any objection is waived.

Costs

You will be billed for costs incurred on your behalf in your legal matter, in addition to legal fees. You may expect costs to include:

  • Printing and copying
  • Legal research fees
  • Court filing fees
  • Postage
  • Messenger services
  • Automobile mileage
  • Parking fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Witness fees
  • Mediation fees
  • Arbitration fees
  • Staff overtime
  • General out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with handling your legal matter

There may be more significant costs associated with our representation in your legal matter, as well. These include fees paid to expert witnesses or costs associated with depositions. You will generally be asked to approve these more significant costs in advance; however, you will remain responsible for these costs even if you did not discuss them prior to being incurred unless you specifically request in writing that we do so. In addition, you may be asked to pay directly to a third party in advance some costs incurred in connection with your legal matter.

Terms of Payment

Services will be invoiced monthly, with all fees and costs due and payable upon receipt. Any account balance unpaid after thirty (30) days will accrue interest at one percent (1%) per month from the invoice date, equivalent to twelve percent (12%) annually.

Approval of Fees by Court

In the event it becomes necessary or desirable to submit your invoice to a court for a possible award of attorney’s fees, you will be invoiced for the time spent to prepare the submission to the court and to appear in court in an attempt to recover these fees. Unless otherwise prohibited by law, you agree to assume full responsibility for the fee for legal services, regardless of whether the court grants you an award of fees in part or in full.

Termination of Representation

You may terminate Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield’s representation of you for any reason upon payment in full of any outstanding balance due to the firm and a written communication requesting the representation to end. Should you terminate the firm’s representation, the firm will forward to you all documents and other property to which you are entitled upon payment in full of your balance due. You agree to pay to the firm in advance its regular rate for reviewing your file and copying and transmitting documents to your subsequent attorney, as well as for any other service you request the firm to provide.

Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield may terminate representation of you for failure to pay any outstanding balance due to the firm, as well as for other circumstances permitted under the Rules of Professional Conduct, with reasonable advance written notice.

You grant the firm a lien on all funds, documents, records, and other items held by the firm. You further acknowledge that the firm has a lien on all causes of action from the time they arose, and on any awards, judgments, or settlements you receive because of services rendered by the firm.

If the firm must take any legal action to collect any balance due under your engagement agreement, you agree to pay for reasonable time incurred by members of the firm at their standard rates and by outside attorneys retained by the firm at their standard rates.

Retention of Records

Your case file will be closed upon the conclusion of your legal matter. You agree that the firm may destroy your case file after five (5) years, unless you direct the firm in writing to dispose of the file in another matter and pay the firm in advance for any costs associated with the desired disposition of the case file.

Conflicts of Interest

It is possible that the firm may, from time to time, represent a client whose interests are adverse to yours, but we will not undertake any representation that creates a prohibited conflict of interest according to the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct.

In the event a conflict arises that may be waived under the applicable Rules of Professional Conduct, representation is not prohibited by applicable law, and we believe that we can provide appropriate representation to both parties, we may request that you and the other affected party agree to waive the conflict in writing.

Documents Prepared by Third Parties

Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield does not make any representations or warranties of any kind regarding the accuracy or completeness of any documents prepared by third parties. The firm shall be entitled to rely on information contained in documents prepared by third parties, but shall have no independent obligation to verify such information.

For further information on the terms and conditions of representation by Strickler, Platnick & Hatfield, we invite you to contact our law office to schedule a consultation.

Testimonials

“Great lawyer to work with. Excellent communicator and listener. Courtroom skills exceptional. Would highly recommend for any family law situation.”
– Divorce Client , ★★★★★ Lawyers.com Review
“I highly recommend Geoff. He and his all-star team assisted me through a difficult and contentious divorce and child custody case. Geoff’s knowledge and personal relationships really assisted in the positive outcome of my case. Geoff was efficient throughout the…”
– Family Law Client , ★★★★★ Avvo Review
“Took a personalized approach to my complex divorce and was available to achieve an outcome beyond my highest expectations.”
– Divorce Client , ★★★★★ Lawyers.com Review
“Strategic and Pragmatic. Geoff has seen plenty of situations and how they play out. Geoff has an expert understanding of the process. Geoff does a great job of communication and letting you know what’s going on by including you in…”
– Divorce Client , ★★★★★ Avvo Review
“One of the most dedicated, fair, competent, patient attorneys I have had the pleasure of dealing with. He has helped myself and many others through some difficult times. He is a very good listener and can direct you in the…”
– Divorce Client , ★★★★★ Lawyers.com Review
“Excellent at simultaneously executing specific tactical aspects of the case while maintaining overall macro view.”
– Family Law Attorney
“I have worked with Geoffrey S. Platnick as an expert witness in several cases and find him to be an excellent attorney with a real interest in his clients.”
– Child Custody Expert , ★★★★★ Lawyers.com Review
“Absolutely amazing during a very difficult time.”
– Divorce Client , ★★★★★ Lawyers.com Review
“He is a brilliant lawyer, a fantastic strategist, willing to resolve cases through mediation but kick butt in court if that is required, and in the final analysis, effective in achieving his clients’ goals. One of the really great ones.…”
– Family Law Client , ★★★★★ Martindale-Hubbell Review
“A very empathetic and diligent person and attorney. His tact in suggesting acceptable solutions to emotionally charged situations and sensitivity to child issues that can easily get neglected in the egoic fracases in such cases is truly exemplary. I am,…”
– Family Law Client , ★★★★★ Martindale-Hubbell Review

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