Working with a lawyer can be intimidating. It’s not something you do every day. Let’s talk about money today – why attorneys charge certain rates for different things. Please note that the fees discussed here are valid only for the time that this is published – they are not meant to be used as our rates forever.
Klinke Immigration understands that you may not have worked with an attorney before, or you may not have worked with one in the United States. We would like to share some information with you on what to expect when working with us.
Q) How do attorneys’ fees work?
A) There are different ways that attorneys may structure their legal fees. At Klinke Immigration, we use a “flat fee” system. This means that we quote you a price based on what we estimate the amount of work to be. The estimation is built upon years of experience. There will be no surprises in your bills from our office. If a special circumstance arises that is not covered in our contract, we will discuss it before beginning to work (and charge) you for those services.
We estimate our contracts based on a $150 an hourly basis. That means if we charge $1500 for a case, we anticipate spending 10 hours on it. This includes the time spent developing a legal strategy tailored to your case, preparing forms, making copies, assembling filing packets, review your documents, responding to your questions, emails, and phone calls, talking with the government, and potentially going to an interview.
Remember, legal fees are always separate from filing fees. Legal fees are what you pay the firm for the work done on your behalf. Filing fees are paid to the U.S. government.
Q) Why do I have to pay a consultation fee?
A) I have spent nearly a decade in college classrooms to obtain the appropriate degrees to become a licensed attorney. In addition, I have spent years learning from mentors and gaining experience by working on hundreds of cases. My knowledge and experience are what I have to offer you, the potential client. I charge a consultation fee, in part because it has cost me to learn the proper way to analyze and problem-solve your case.
When you have a consultation, Klinke Immigration is devoted to learning about your case. During this time – and it may be 20 minutes, an hour, or two hours – we are not working on other cases. Regardless of how much time it takes, we charge $150 for the initial consultation. We want to get to know you, your family, and your history so we can give you as many options as possible for the situation you may find yourself in.
Some lawyers will give you a free consultation. Typically, these consultations are under 15 minutes and you may end up waiting hours to speak with the attorney. Klinke Immigration prides itself on being a relationship – both with the clients who hire us on the spot and those who may not be able to hire us until years later.
Q) Can we negotiate the price of the legal fees?
A) No. Our legal fees are set, based on the amount of work we believe to be involved in your case. You do not negotiate with your physician or when you go to the grocery store. Why would you negotiate with your attorney?
Sometimes people will ask us if we can credit them money they have paid another attorney or a notario. For example, they paid $10,000 and nothing was done or filed in the case. We are sympathetic to your situation, but our fee structure remains the same. We cannot credit you for the money you paid another organization.
However, we understand that legal fees can be expensive. We are willing to work out a payment plan in most situations. Generally, we require a 50% retainer and the other 50% will be due prior to filing your applications. In court cases, the contract must be paid in full prior to the Individual Hearing. If you have a special situation in your family, please let us know and we may be able to come up with an alternative payment solution.
Q) My case was denied. Can I get my money back?
A) Unfortunately, no. Klinke Immigration never guarantees success in any case. Immigration law has a strong component of discretion – that means that the human element, which is by nature unpredictable, can make all the difference in your case. When you sign a contract with the firm, we promise to do our best to get you a successful outcome. You pay us for our time and expertise, which we used to the best of our abilities, even in the event of a denial.