Understanding Your Case
Legal action - whether it's a simple counter-proposal on a severance offer, or a full-blown lawsuit - always involves some element of risk. Before I take your case, I make sure you understand all the benefits and risks involved in any proposed course of action. My goal is to give you the tools necessary to make an informed decision for yourself. At Miano Law, you can expect an honest, straightforward evaluation of:
Clarity About Fees:
I offer three different types of fee arrangements - contingency, hybrid, and hourly - to provide flexibility for clients and to make it possible for my firm to take on a wide range of cases.
Cases in which there will likely be a sum of money collected at the end of the case often lend themselves to a contingency fee, in which I am paid a percentage of the client's recovery instead of charging an hourly rate to the client throughout the case.
In employment cases, I charge 40% of the recovery, not including costs. All third party costs are billed directly to the client, so although you will not be paying attorney's fees directly, you will have to pay for other costs during the case, such as court fees, mediator, court reporter, depositions, etc. Of course, if I recover nothing at the end of your case, I will receive no fee.
Contingency fees are only possible if there is a significant amount of money that you are seeking to recover (e.g., lost wages) and there is a strong chance I will be able to prevail and recover something for you. If both of those conditions are not met, you will need to pay my hourly rate.
Hourly Fees: $550 per hour.
Situations that commonly require you to pay hourly include:
Non-Compete defense - when an employer is suing you, or threatening to sue you. In this situation, there is no monetary award that we are seeking. Because there's no monetary award for us to take our fee out of, we typically charge by the hour.
Contract drafting - when you need help drafting an employment contract or other document, there is no monetary award from which to take a contingency fee. In these cases, hourly fees are typical.
Low recovery prospects - if your case has a low chance of success, or if you haven't lost a lot of money. In this situation, the potential award at the end of the case is low. A percentage of a small award would not be sufficient to compensate us for our time. In that situation, we would most likely have to charge by the hour.
Sometimes clients decide that it just makes better sense for them to pay by the hour. If you have flexible funds, it may be less expensive for you to pay an hourly rate, rather than assigning a percentage of your recovery to me. I will do my best to give you a realistic estimate of the total fee you should expect for your case. With an hourly fee arrangement, costs are billed separately each month to the client just as with the contingency fee.
A hybrid fee is a mix of an hourly and a contingent fee - you agree to pay a reduced hourly rate or a flat monthly retainer, coupled with a reduced contingency fee (e.g., 25% instead of 40%).
Hybrid fees can provide flexibility in cases where the chance of success is lower or unclear and in cases involving heavy litigation. If I am paid for a portion of my time throughout the case, I will be able to charge a lower contingency fee if there is a recovery. These kinds of fee arrangements benefit the client because I will receive a lower percentage of the eventual recovery and they benefit me because I will receive at least a partial fee each month regardless of whether I prevail at the end of the case. In these cases, the risk is shared between client and lawyer. Again, costs are handled separately and will be billed monthly to the client in addition to the fee.
The fee for a consultation is a one-time event. It is essentially a flat-fee since you are paying for my time and legal advice for a defined task. I offer two different types of consultations.
$150 for quick case review/case evaluation consultations. These 30 minute consultations are designed to answer the typical question: do I have a case? If you want a quick assessment of your case, this is the service for you. We review your facts, explain the law and how it applies, and advise you on a course of action. Case reviews are offered by phone or video using Zoom.
$300 for consultations on employment contracts, such as non-compete and severance contracts., or for a more comprehensive review of a difficult workplace situation. Employees who seek a contract review may not be looking to pursue a case. They may just need advice on how to interpret a contract, or how to negotiate for better terms. We spend time reviewing the contract or other documents before the meeting, point out potential red flags, give tips on negotiation and next steps, and answer all questions. These consultations typically last 1 hour and are offered by phone or video using Zoom.
NOTE: Please be aware that I am not able to accept representation of everyone who schedules a case review or consultation with me. There are several reasons for this. Sometimes, the cases do not fit well within my primary practice areas. Sometimes, my current case load is too heavy to take on new clients. Sometimes the case is simply not worth enough to justify the time and expense of litigation.