Fees and Policies
We are happy to respond to your email with free preliminary comments. The next step, if you choose, is a detailed paid consultation which includes a review of your circumstances and documents. All documents need to be emailed or faxed to us in advance. The consult is handled primarily over the phone, supplemented by email and fax. In office consultations are available, but are typically only reserved for more complex matters.
Typically, most phone consultations last 30 minutes and in-office consultations last one hour, however, there are no time limits on the consultation so long as its length and scope are reasonable. We will discuss the case until legal advice and guidance are substantially complete. Follow-up questions in the immediate time frame are included.
Mor information can be found on each area’s respective page:
Before you contact us, please read our policies that apply to all clients (see below). These policies govern all attorney-client relationships in place of written fee agreements.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Kellie Stokes serves as the corporate counsel to all the Freedom Title offices. In that role, our office must be a disinterested third party to closings that come through those offices and cannot advise on contracts currently open in any Freedom Title office.
Additionally, we cannot advise on any matter where we have previously advised the other party. There comes times during initial contact with the client when we realize the connection and must refer this matter out immediately. We will refund any payments made during the course of this matter, if any, and give you referrals to several attorneys in the area you may be able to handle your case.
FLAT FEES VS. HOURLY FEES
This is a flat-fee office for the most part. When hourly billing is appropriate the rate is $265 per hour. Legal fees do not include clerk’s filing fees and other costs.
TERMS OF PAYMENT
For convenience in remitting payment, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and Discover credit cards, as well as wires and overnighted checks. We cannot start legal work on a file, which includes reviewing submitted forms, contracts, creating a file, or provide any legal advice until payment is made. Please contact our office at 972-436-8141 to process a payment.
By paying with a credit card, you are automatically authorizing our office to keep your information on file for future transactions. All information is stored securely for one year. After one year of inactivity, your credit card information is deleted. If you would prefer we not store your information, please notify us before your first transaction. Recurring billings, such as payment plans, must be stored in order to process timely.
FILING OF DOCUMENTS
After drafting documents, our office will email the documents to the client or make the document available for signing in our office. The client should sign in front of a notary and return to our office for filing with the proper county. We provide this service as a courtesy to our clients; however, we do require payment for the document and filing fees prior to filing with the county.
If the client so desires, they may file the document directly. We do request you send us a copy of the filed document for our records.
Note that we file documents by electronic filing in the usual course of business unless other prior arrangements are made. We are not responsible for delays or errors caused by a county clerk or the secretary of state and can never be precise as to the time it will take for a document to be filed and the original returned.
KEY POLICIES APPLICABLE TO ALL CLIENTS
By engaging this office you agree to the following policies:
- Clients agree to use email whenever possible to avoid phone tag. Clients agree to check their email at least once daily while we are working on your matter. This includes checking the spam or junk folder, since mail sometimes winds up there. If our emails to a client consistently bounce back to us, then the client will be asked to supply a different email address.
- Document review/comment. Our office will gladly review and advise on legal documents prepared by other professionals for the usual consult fee. That includes documents prepared by lawyers and real estate agents (including TREC and TAR contracts).
- Draft documents. We may send drafts of documents to the client to review. It is the client’s responsibility to read these drafts carefully and make us aware of any errors or changes that need to be made. We gladly make these changes as part of our service to our clients up until final approval from the client.
- Costs. A quote for legal fees (even a flat fee) never includes costs and expenses unless a package price is quoted. Clerks’ filing fees, court reporter fees, mediator fees, and the like are beyond our control and subject to change without notice.
- Flat fees. Flat fees (as opposed to hourly fees) are an accommodation to the client and are quoted with the understanding that adjustment may be necessary if there is a substantial increase in legal work due to unforeseen circumstances. Example: the opposing party unexpectedly hires an attorney and the paperwork/negotiation burden significantly increases. No hourly accounting is made in flat-fee matters.
- Hourly fees. Flat fees are quoted whenever necessary. When an hourly fee is appropriate, the rate is $265 per hour for out-of-court matters, $400 per hour in-court.
- “Meet and Greets.” We often receive requests for an old-fashioned free “meet and greet” at the office in order for a prospective client to determine if this is the law office that will best suit his or her needs. Regretfully, time limitations and the demands of our existing clients do not allow us to include such meetings in our business model. We view them as part of the paid consultation.
- Retainers. Retainers are an estimation of costs and fees we expect to incur. Our office will notify you once a retainer has been used up and you will have the option to provide another retainer or provide payment on a monthly basis. Once the case has been completed, any overpayment or retainer left over will be refunded to the client within 2 weeks.
- Payment of invoices. For billing of on-going or hourly matters, payment is late 10 days after date of invoice. If payment is not made when due or promised, the attorney is automatically relieved of any obligation to continue delivering legal services.
- Cancellations. These incur the full quoted fee and will be re-scheduled only at the attorney’s discretion and with advance payment.
- Client files. Clients receive originals (when available) or copies of documents and correspondence. Keeping these documents in an orderly manner is the client’s responsibility. Our file remains the property of this office and may be disposed of at any time without consent of or notice to the client. We retain electronic copies (and in some cases, hard copies) of original documents. We may release copies of document previously given to the client only to the client or a authorized party (such as executor or power of attorney). In accordance with the Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, files are shredded before disposal after seven years of inactivity.
- Title company. This office is affiliated with Freedom Title as their “fee office”. In that role, our office must be a disinterested third party to closings that come through those offices and cannot advise on contracts currently open in any Freedom Title office.
- Proprietary documents. All documents produced by this office are proprietary and licensed to the client for use in a particular transaction only. They may not be reproduced or re-used in any manner without permission.
- No tax advice. We cover the basics but are not qualified tax advisors or tax return preparers. All clients are encouraged to have a good CPA who should be consulted every time there are potential state or federal tax consequences.
- No guarantees. No legal outcome can ever be guaranteed. The client’s obligation to pay fees is not contingent upon the outcome.
- Attorney Withdrawal. The attorney may immediately withdraw from a case if fees are not timely paid; if the attorney and client have a substantive disagreement concerning case strategy or methods; or if a client is rude, unprofessional, or uncooperative.
- Failure to pay taxes on companies formed by this office. If state and/or federal taxes are not timely paid on companies formed for you by this office, Ms. Stokes will resign as registered agent (if she is serving as such) and may, upon demand, disclose your identity and whereabouts to State officials. This is an exception to our usual strict confidentiality policy. We will not participate or assist in illegal conduct. You agree and consent to this in the event you do not pay taxes for your company.
- Client fraud or tax evasion. This office advises clients in legitimate asset protection, not fraud or tax evasion. If it is determined that a client is engaging in these activities, representation will be immediately terminated without refund and this office will provide any requested information to the proper authorities. This is an exception to our usual strict confidentiality policy. We will not participate or assist in illegal conduct, nor subject ourselves to potential liability for a client’s illegal acts.
ALL FEES QUOTED ON THIS SITE ARE GENERAL GUIDELINES ONLY AND ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. THEY MAY ALSO VARY DUE TO UNUSUAL COMPLEXITIES OR RISKS INVOLVED IN PARTICULAR CASES. THIS OFFICE DOES NOT REPRESENT YOU UNLESS WE EXPRESSLY AGREE TO DO SO IN WRITING AND WE HAVE RECEIVED AND ACCEPTED PAYMENT. UNTIL THEN, WE WILL RESPECT YOUR CONFIDENTIALITY BUT NO FORMAL ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP IS CREATED AND WE HAVE NO OBLIGATIONS TO YOU OR YOUR CASE.