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Attorney Fees-Retainers, "Unbundled Services" "Limited Scope of Representation Cases" Reasonable Fees and Payment Options
Whether someone is a first time consumer of legal services or has retained legal counsel often the costs of legal services are a concern.
Attorney Fees at the Law Office of Jay R. Mueller
At the Law Office of Jay R. Mueller, we try hard to keep attorney fees not only reasonable but affordable.
In Domestic Relations or Family Law cases such as Divorce, Child Custody litigation, or Child Support litigation, our attorney fees are $250.00 per hour for out of court services rendered and $300.00 per hour for in Court services. This does not include costs, filing fees, or court imposed fees, etc. It also does not include gross receipts taxes which are 7.3125% . Thus $4.47 per minute for out of court services rendered.
We accept retainers in these types of cases, usually $2,00.00-$2,500.00 (plus gross receipts taxes, thus $2,146.25 for $2,000.00 retainer) depending upon circumstances. Clients understand that they are paying for 8-10 hours of the attorney's time which includes communication with the client, communication with the opposing party/attorney, communication with the courts. It also includes the drafting and filing of legal papers, review of the opposing party's and court's legal papers, research and preparation of the case, as well as simple business administration of representation and clerical matters. Clients understand that the attorney must charge for questions asked and especially for calls and text messages after hours or during holidays.
We endeavor to keep legal costs as low as possible for our clients! We seek non-litigious resolutions when possible. We are firm but we do not believe in endless court room drama ultimately at the expense of the client, the client's children, and the client's pocketbook. That's just one of the many things that makes this law office different from many of the rest.
These are typical attorney fees charged for services rendered:
Review Client’s Case,
Draft and Electronically File Entry of Appearance
includes all Odyssey Contact Registration plus Odyssey filing fee(s)
Letter of Representation to Opposing Party(ies)
Draft and Electronically File Petition for Dissolution
of Marriage with Summons does not include $137 filing fees or process server
Draft and Electronically File Motion to Modify Child
Custody, Motion to Establish Parentage, Motion to Modify Child Support, Motion
for Order to Show Cause, etc. or similar motion, includes drafting and
electronically filing Request and Notices of Hearing, filing fee(s),
transmission of endorsed motion(s) with requests and notices to judge’s
chambers, includes review and communication between client and attorney.
$350.00-650.00 for each motion/pleading.
Draft and electronically file responsive pleadings
such as Answers to Petitions, Responses to Motions, etc. includes filing fee(s)
$350.00 each pleading.
Drafting and Electronically File Witness List,
Certificates of Service, Disclosures etc. to include filing fee(s)
$100.00 each time.
Drafting Subpoenas, does not include process server
costs, includes certificate of service and filing fee(s)
$100.00 per subpoena
Drafting and transmission of Interrogatories, includes
certificate of service,
$200.00-$500.00 each set.
Transmission of Financial Disclosures to Opposing
Reviewing and Responding to Opposing Party’s Interrogatories/Request
$350.00-$600.00 per set.
Draft and Electronically File Marital Settlement
Agreement, Parenting Plan, Final Decree, Stipulated Orders, other pleadings or
documents includes filing fees.
$250.00-750.00 per document.
Meetings with Attorney to include CYFD mediations,
CYFD family centered meetings, meetings with opposing counsel, family
$100.00 minimum up to $250.00 per hour.
Attorney fees for In Court Rendered Services, whether
for status hearings, pretrial conferences, motion hearings, administrative
hearings or trials are $300.00 per hour. All court hearings are estimated to be
at least one hour in duration even if notice says otherwise. All court hearings
are presumed to include half an hour of preparation for each hour of the actual
Hearings typically are 1-3 hours in length for
modification of parenting plan, modification of child support, status hearings,
etc. Evidentiary hearings may require more time. Thus, the typical attorney
fees per hearing are $450-900.00.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order Representation
which includes representation at the initial hearing before special master and
one subsequent hearing if needed etc.
$1,250.00 plus taxes
Withdrawal---Occasionally clients and/or attorney
terminate representation. Client will be billed for work performed to include
drafting and electronically filing motion/order to withdrawal.
Motion/Order to Withdrawal $100.00
"Unbundled" or "Limited Scope of Representation" Services
Some clients prefer to retain our law office for a limited scope of representation. Such cases are typically hearings before the Child Support Special Masters/Hearing Officers and representation before the New Mexico Child Support Enforcement Division. For these kinds of cases, we charge a fee of $1,341.00 and typically matters are resolved in one or two hearings. When clients choose this billing option, the scope of representation is limited and the attorney will likely withdraw following the hearing(s).
Similarly, some clients prefer to retain our law office to represent them before either the Court or a Hearing Officer for child custody matters such as a motion to modify the parenting plan or motion for order to show cause. Our "Limited Scope of Representation" option for this type of case is typically $1,341.00 even if a party has previously filed a pro se pleading/request for hearing. Like above, when clients choose this billing option, the scope of representation is limited and the attorney will likely withdraw following the hearing.
In Domestic Violence cases pending before the Domestic Violence Special Commissioners and Hearing Officers, we normally charge a fee of $1,3410.00 and typically matters are resolved in one or two hearings. Scope of representation is limited and the attorney will likely withdraw following the hearing(s).
We offer affordable fees for criminal cases heard before the Metropolitan Court. Similar attorney fees are charged for similar cases in other jurisdictions, travel however is usually added to the overall costs.
Misdemeanor DWI First Offense starting at $1,600.00.
Misdemeanor DWI Second or Third Offense starting at $2,750.00.
Misdemeanor Domestic Violence First Offense starting at $1,600.00.
We offer payment plans with 50% down. We accept most debit and credit cards.
The State Bar of New Mexico provides excellent information with respect to attorney fees. Please clink on the links below.
In general, attorney fees must be “reasonable”. What does that mean for the consumer and potential client? The New Mexico Rules for Professional Conduct which governs the legal profession in our state says:
Rule 16-105 Fees
(A) Determination of Reasonableness. A lawyer's fee shall be reasonable. The factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee include the following:
(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;
(2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;
(3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;
(4) the amount involved and the results obtained;
(5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;
(6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;
(7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer performing the services; and
(8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
B. Basis or Rate of Fees. When the lawyer has not regularly represented the client, the basis or rate of the fee shall be communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a reasonable time after commencing the representation.
C. Contingency Fees. A fee may be contingent on the outcome of the matter for which the service is rendered, except in a matter in which a contingent fee is prohibited by paragraph (d) or other law. A contingent fee agreement shall be in writing and shall state the method by which the fee is to be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall accrue to the lawyer in the event of settlement, trial or appeal, litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery, and whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent fee is calculated. Upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, the lawyer shall provide the client with a written statement stating the outcome of the matter and, if there is a recovery, showing the remittance to the client and the method of its determination.
D. Prohibited FeeArrangements. A lawyer shall not enter into an arrangement for, charge, or collect:
(1) any fee in a domestic relations matter, the payment or amount of which is contingent upon the securing of a divorce or upon the amount of alimony or support, or property settlement in lieu thereof; or
(2) a contingent fee for representing a defendant in a criminal case.
E. Fee Splitting. A division of fee between lawyers who are not in the same firm may be made only if:
(1) the division is in proportion to the services performed by each lawyer or, by written agreement with the client, each lawyer assumes joint responsibility for the representation;
(2) the client is advised of and does not object to the participation of all the lawyers involved; and