Mr. Kelso charges a reasonable hourly rate of $300 per hour for his work in family law cases. Mr. Kelso has been certified by the North Carolina State Bar as a SPECIALIST in North Carolina family law since 1989. Mr. Kelso's office is on the cutting edge in computerized technology with research capabilities in all major legal texts in the United States. He has handled family law cases for clients whose assets range from little or no assets to clients with assets in excess of $15 million.
Mr. Kelso has all new clients sign a written fee agreement that explains in detail the firm's fees and expenses that will be charged for legal services. It is our policy that there will be no surprises when it comes to fees. In hourly fee cases, an advance payment will be required to cover the initial expected fees and costs for the legal services that are to be provided. Advances are placed in the firm's trust account and are withdrawn only after legal services have been rendered and the fee earned. All unused advances that remain in the trust account when legal services are completed are refunded to the client.
It is important, at the beginning of the attorney-client relationship, that you discuss with Mr. Kelso the approach that you choose to take, and want Mr. Kelso to take, in helping to achieve your legal objectives. Some clients have unlimited financial resources and ask that Mr. Kelso take a "no-stone-left-unturned" approach in the case. Such an approach can be quite expensive because it will be necessary to engage in extensive discovery. For instance, in such cases it will be necessary to serve extensive interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions, take depositions of parties and witnesses, and other procedures aimed at discovery of all the relevant facts that may be important in the case before the case is tried. Such an approach is likely to be very expensive, but in many cases this approach adds a significant increase in the likelihood of success and pre-trial settlement of the case. In other cases, many clients with more limited financial resources choose a "minimal fee" approach. Using this approach, Mr. Kelso will discuss with you a number of low cost methods of obtaining limited discovery that can help in discovery of relevant facts that are important to the case. For instance, instead of extensive written discovery, one or more targeted subpoenas may be used to obtain limited information. Such an approach is less expensive than a "no-stone-left-unturned" approach; however, there is the potential for not finding out important facts that may be important to the case. Moreover, the likelihood of a a pretrial settlement is reduced, and the likelihood of a successful outcome is diminished significantly by this approach. Finally, a client with very limited financial resources may simply want legal representation with little or no preparation and discovery in the case, what Mr. Kelso will refer to as the "shoot-from-the-hip-approach" to the case. Using this approach, Mr. Kelso will prepare appropriate pleadings and engage in the most minimal preparation. This is the most dangerous approach to litigation and can result in surprises along the way as the facts will simply arise at random during the hearing or trial. Using such a "shoot-from-the-hip-approach" the client gets Mr. Kelso's expertise and guidance; however, the likelihood of a fair settlement and successful outcome are diminished. However, for clients with minimal resources, who are forced to take this approach, it may be worth the risk when the alternative is no representation at all.
Here are a few other ways that clients can minimize fee charges: