The following is an explanation of the basis on which Malone, Ault & Farell bills for services rendered and expenses incurred, unless some other specific arrangement had been agreed to with the client.
The fees that the firm bills to its clients are established according to the criteria for reasonableness specified in the Rules of Professional Conduct, as adopted by the Ohio Supreme Court. Among those are the following:
- the time and labor required for tasks performed;
- the difficulty and novelty of the problem presented;
- the skill required to perform the tasks in a professional manner;
- the time constraints imposed by the client or by the nature of the matter;
- the magnitude of the matter; the amount of responsibility involved;
- the results obtained for the client;
- the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the assigned lawyer or the firm;
- the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
- the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
- the experience, reputation and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services;
- whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
For each of its attorneys, legal assistants and law clerks, the firm has established a normal hourly billing rate and, in most circumstances, the fees billed to clients will be closely related to the established hourly billing rates multiplied by the amount of time expended. These time charges may include travel time. The firms hourly billing rates are generally adjusted on an annual basis.
We will normally submit monthly statements to our clients during the course of an engagement. This procedure insures that our clients have a current understanding of our charges and that they are not surprised by a bill covering services for an extended period of time. Occasionally, by prior agreement, we will render a single bill at the conclusion of a transaction. We expect that clients will pay each bill within thirty (30) days of receipt.
For each periodic statement, the responsible attorney reviews the time charged to the matter since the last billing. The purpose of the review is to determine whether the statement should be based solely on the amount of time expended or adjusted in accordance with some or all of the above mentioned criteria.
The firm also bills its clients for costs advanced on the client’s behalf for such items as filing fees, transcript and deposition fees, recording fees, travel expenses and expert witness and consultant fees. The firm also charges for certain costs and expenses incurred directly by the firm, such as photocopying charges, postage, express mail services and database fees for legal research.
We ask for and expect payments of our statements on a current basis, since delayed payment adds to our overall cost of providing services to all of our clients. We also encourage our clients to raise any questions they may have concerning our policy for services rendered at the inception of the engagement, or with respect to any particular bill as soon as that bill has been received. We are hopeful that an early and thorough disclosure of our policy on fees will avoid any misunderstandings or disputes with our clients as services are rendered.