Before you hire an attorney to represent you in any legal matter, you should be familiar with the attorney’s qualifications and fee structure.
My qualifications begin with 14 years of experience in all of my areas of practice. At least every other year I attend the Florida Family Law Review class, where current law on all issues in family law is reviewed. I am a member of the Tampa Family Law Inn of Court and the Hillsborough County Bar Association Family Law Section. Both of these organizations provide ongoing instruction in family law issues and the opportunity to interact with other family attorneys and family law judges in an informal setting. I have been a presenter on family issues at the Basic Family Law continuing legal education class presented by the Young Lawyers section of the Florida Bar.
I am a member of the Family Law Institute, which is joint project of the National LGBT Bar Association and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. The FLI also presents an annual conference for LGBT family law attorneys during which experienced LGBT attorneys discuss the latest issues and techniques in representing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients in the areas of family law and estate planning. I am also a frequent speaker on attorney panels addressing LGBT issues.
Be sure you understand your attorney’s fees and fee structure. These should be clearly spelled out in a written representation agreement. I offer services on both a flat fee and an hourly fee basis. In both cases our representation agreement will set out the type of fee and what is and is not included in the fee. For my hourly fee cases, I require a refundable, renewable retainer or fee advance. You will receive monthly invoices detailing the time I spent on your case each month. You will then be required to pay the monthly invoice. This will renew the retainer. I know how quickly hourly fees add up and keeping your overall costs low is part of representing your best interest. I do not have a minimum billable hour requirement or fee quota. So I am free to handle your unique legal situation as efficiently as possible, keeping your fees low.
Be wary of attorney’s who ask you for a large sum of money without a clear explanation of how that money will be applied to the attorney’s fees. You may think this is a flat fee and that you will not have to pay your attorney any more money to complete your case. In fact these large sums are frequently a fee advance, in which case you will be unpleasantly surprised when your attorney asks you for more money.
You have the right to have your representation agreement with me or any other attorney reviewed by another attorney. If you do not understand your agreement with your attorney, please contact my office at (813) 314- 7152 to schedule an office consultation during which I will review and explain your representation agreement and advise you whether you should sign it or continue the representation agreed upon.