How I Bill for Legal Services

When I can reasonably foresee the extent of legal services required by a client, which happens when I have provided the same type of legal services to a previous client, I bill on a flat fee basis. If you sign a fee agreement that specifies what I will do on your behalf and pay the agreed flat fee, you will not have to pay me any additional money as I work on getting your problem resolved, no matter how complicated it becomes or how much time it takes me to do so.

When I cannot reasonably foresee the extent of legal services required by a client, such as when I litigate, I bill on an hourly basis. Unlike most lawyers, who have minimum billing units of 0.1, 0.2, or even 0.25 hours (meaning if they do something for you such as answer an email or a phone call, no matter how little time it takes, you get billed a minimum billing unit), I use a spreadsheet to record the time when I start a task for a client, when I finish it, then subtract the former from the latter, divide that difference by 60 minutes, and bill for the actual fraction of an hour I spent working on that task. The spreadsheet also shows costs I incur in providing legal services for a client. At the end of each month of representation, I send clients a copy of their spreadsheet so they know what I am doing with their money. I also include .pdf files of receipts for the expenses I incurred that month.

I do not bill on a contingency-fee basis. While the Rules of Professional Conduct for California lawyers permit contingency-fee billing, I don't bill that way so my duty of loyalty to a client, which means I must hold my client's interests above all others' interests, including my own, is never in question because my interests will never include getting 25-40 percent of any money settlement or money award at trial.

Contact Me

To schedule a free initial consultation, call me at (805) 845-8223, or email me at (please replace the "7" with the "at symbol"), or Click to send me an e-mail.

During the initial consultation, I will gather the relevant facts from you to determine if I can offer legal services that might help you, and then, if you want me to, I will send you a fee agreement showing how much those services would cost you.

I will not offer affirmative advice - do this, don't do that - during the initial consultation. I only do that once you become my client. I don't review documents prior to the initial consultation, I only do that once you become my client. And finally, if your matter does not involve the application of California law or of Federal law to a matter that arose in California, I will inform you during the initial consultation that I cannot provide any advice because by doing so I would be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, which is forbidden by the Rules of Professional Conduct of the California State Bar.

The use of the Internet for communications with me will not establish an attorney-client relationship. Please note that messages containing confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent. Pursuant to Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1-400, the matter herein must be labeled as a newsletter.


Medal for Peace of Armiens
France 1802

Copyright @ Michael J. DeNiro