We get asked this often, and we understand. At Worden & Carbitcher, it's important to us that our hourly clients understand how their money is spent. Even though we have a contract with our clients (a “fee agreement”) stating our billing practices, we know it's easy to miss, especially when in a hurry to sign documents.
So let us break it down for you.
Like most attorneys, we require an upfront retainer at the beginning of hourly representation. This retainer is money paid by the client. The money is deposited into a “trust account”/IOLTA account. The account has the firm's name on it, but it is owned by the Oklahoma Bar Association and the money in the account remains the client's.
Once our office begins work, legal services are recorded by use of a timer on our client portal (MyCase), and expenses related to the case are entered manually. Invoicing generally occurs weekly. MyCase auto-populates an invoice with the outstanding time entries and expenses. The invoices are reviewed by an attorney and paid from the client's trust funds. Generally, our clients must maintain a minimum of $500 in their trust account; our office will request more money be added to the trust account depending on the work needed to be completed.
Our hourly rates vary based on the position of the team member working on your case. The hourly rates are stated on the Client Fee Agreement. The legal industry generally bills in six-minute increments; 6 minutes or less accounts for a 0.1. A full hour/ 60 minutes is 1.
If the client refuses to maintain the minimum required trust money, we will consider terminating representation.
Once a case/ matter is resolved, we issue a final bill. All unearned trust money is refunded to the client within a reasonable time after closing their matter/case. Our office issues refunds through our bank. Note that we do not possess checks for trust accounts.
If you have any additional questions regarding payment, please call our offices at 405-360-8036.