We believe in discussing fees early
and openly with our clients. A client who knows about our fee structure will
be better informed and more satisfied with the services we render. Such a
client will also have a clear understanding of what our charges are and what
we have done for the fee paid by a client.
Our attorneys keep time records in each
case. Times are shown in tenths of an hour. We try hard to keep an accurate
record of time spent drafting documents, preparing pleadings or consulting
in person or over the phone.
You should remember the following specific
1. A telephone call by or to your attorney
will be marked down on your files as at least one-tenth of an hour. This
will be shown. for example, as follows: "Telephone conference with client
- .1" ledger. You should realize that this is the minimum charge for
a telephone call. Of course, if the telephone call lasts longer than one-tenth
of an hour, we will enter the appropriate time notation in the file, rounded
upwards to the nearest tenth of an hour.
2. A telephone call to an attorney
at home during non-work hours will incur a surcharge of $50.00 in addition
to the regular charge for the attorney's time. We understand that, in an
emergency, it may be necessary for you to contact an attorney directly at
his or her home. We want to be of assistance whether at the office or at
home. At the same time, we believe that it is important for an attorney to
have quality time to spend with his or her family. Therefore, we add an
additional surcharge for a telephone call that reaches us when we are in
our homes during the evening or on a weekend, rather than at the office during
ordinary business hours.
Mark Sullivan has limited his trial
practice since 1981 to domestic cases. He charges $400 per hour for work
done in his office and $425 per hour for work in court. His initial interview
rate is $450 for up to the first hour. His minimum trust deposits for handling
a litigation case is usually $6,000-$15,000. It can, of course, vary
depending on the specifics of the case.
Separation agreements and negotiated cases may require lower
Contested court cases usually cost more
than the above amounts. Court costs in a domestic case are $150 to file a
new case (if that is necessary), $225 to file the divorce complaint, and
for serving papers by a North Carolina Sheriff.
There are very
few flat fees in domestic cases, for the simple reason that it is impossible
to tell now difficult or complex a case may be. Fees will also vary
according to which attorney you employ to work for you. For your information,
however, we have set forth below examples of initial fees we usually
charge in routine domestic areas. These fees are in addition to
the initial consultation fee.
require a deposit to our trust account. This deposit is applied toward the
services provided. It is to be paid after the contract is signed and as soon
as you wish for us to start the work on your case. The attorney's time is
charged against the deposit at the rates indicated above. Of the amount
deposited to the firm trust account, the sum of $1,500 (or other figure in
written contract) for Mr. Sullivan is a Reservation Fee for the reservation of that attorney's (and the firm's)
services. It is immediately earned upon acceptance of the case and services
are not billed against this general retainer fee.
We will discuss with you the
specific fee for your case once we have an opportunity to interview you and
determine the facts and objectives in your case. Please feel free to ask any
questions you wish about fees. Our goal, above all, is to counsel and
maintain clients who are well informed and satisfied with the work we do for