Terms and Conditions
Attorney Robert Corris sends each of his clients a letter of engagement that sets forth the terms and conditions of his representation. Typically, Corris Law represents clients on an hourly basis. On rare occasions, the firm may agree to a split hourly and contingency fee arrangement. The terms and conditions typically are:
The engagement letter will describe the scope of the representation.
2. Hourly Fees
The firm bills by the tenth of the hour, although on some occasions, such as when preparing a brief or preparing for and attending depositions, the attorney may enter a block of time with detailed description. Mr. Corris does not have any task minimum like some attorneys who bill an automatic .2 or .3 for every phone call or letter. He also uses his judgment in deciding whether a task, such as a phone call or short letter, merits billing or should be recorded at no charge. Even a short telephone call can involve time before or after the call to review the file or take follow-up action.
3. Monthly Bills
Corris Law will send you an itemized bill each month which will describe the services rendered on your behalf, the amount of time spent, and the dollar amount of the attorney’s charge for those services rendered. The bill will also detail out-of-pocket expenses. Mr. Corris believes that you and he have a professional relationship. You expect him to perform timely work for you, and he has a similar expectation that you will pay him in a timely fashion, within 30 days of the date of the statement.
If a client fails to make timely payments, Mr. Corris may withdraw as your attorney, and he may hire someone to collect any outstanding balances. You agree to pay the costs of collection, including reasonable actual attorneys’ fees and expenses. When a client’s circumstances require some accommodation, the firm may offer an installment payment schedule; however, the firm is not obligated to do so.
1. Vendor Invoices
Corris Law reserves the right to send vendor invoices that exceed $200 directly to you for payment, and you agree promptly to pay those invoices. Typically the vendor invoices that exceed $200 are expert fees, court reporters’ fees, videographer fees if the deposition is videotaped, copying and scanning charges, and charges for exhibit preparation.
Mr. Corris typically requires a retainer payable to the Robert B. Corris S.C. Trust Account. He will reach an agreement on the amount of the retainer. You must authorize him to withdraw from the trust account and pay to his firm the amount billed each month. Mr. Corris is bound by ethical rules of practice that mandate that he wait five business days before withdrawing an amount from the trust account to pay his monthly bill. If you thereafter timely object to an item billed, he must restore the disputed amount to the trust account until the dispute is resolved.
The retainer would be an “evergreen” retainer, which means that he will bill you each month an amount that will restore the trust account balance to the agreed-upon retainer amount. At the conclusion of the engagement, any balance in the trust account will be returned to the client or disbursed as you may authorize. If the case reaches the stage where it is 30 days before trial, Mr. Corris reserves the right to reasonably increase the retainer at that time for some or all of the expected fees and expenses to be incurred through trial. The preparation of a pretrial report can be very time-consuming, and once the trial begins, long days are the norm. Whether Mr. Corris can choose to ask for an increased retainer will depend on the anticipated length of trial. For instance, there is a substantial difference between a three-day trial and a three-week trial.
You agree to cooperate with and assist Corris Law in the investigation and prosecution or defense of the claims by or against you, including, but not limited to, consulting with Mr. Corris when requested, producing or procuring documents, attending hearings and trials and providing all other assistance reasonably requested.
2. Client Diligence and Truthfulness
You represent and warrant to Corris Law that you have made, and will make when called upon to do so, a diligent search for any and all files and documents. In addition, you represent and warrant to the firm that the facts which you communicate to Mr. Corris are and will be true to the best of your knowledge, information, and belief.
When Mr. Corris represents a small business entity, he typically requires personal guaranties by one or more principals with the ability to do so. A personal guaranty protects the firm if the business entity were to become insolvent. This is a standard requirement necessitated by lessons painfully learned in the past. The guarantors who sign the firm’s engagement letter will jointly and severally guarantee payment of all obligations to Robert B. Corris, S.C., waive presentment, protest, demand, and notice of dishonor, and expressly consent to any extension of time or other forbearance or indulgence without in any way affecting liability under this instrument.
One of the essential terms of Mr. Corris agreeing to represent you is that he can withdraw if you fail to comply with your payment obligations – if you fail to pay invoices on a timely basis (including replenishing the trust account balance) or fail to pay invoices from third-party vendors (including experts) that are submitted directly for payment. You agree to pay costs of collection, including reasonable actual attorneys’ fees and expenses. You further agree that, to the extent allowed by law, the firm’s reasonable actual attorneys’ fees will include both fees of outside counsel the firm may hire to pursue collection and Mr. Corris’ own time at his then current hourly rate.
5. Civility and Zealous Representation
Some clients, in wanting their lawyers to be zealous, demand that their lawyers assert frivolous claims, or be obstructionist during discovery, or grant no quarter when the opposing lawyer requests a courtesy. Please understand that Mr. Corris will be zealous, and he will aggressively pursue your case when, in his professional opinion, an aggressive position must be taken. He will not, however, violate professional ethical requirements. He will not pursue a claim or defense that, in his opinion, is frivolous. He will expect cooperation on discovery, and he will specifically mention to every client that he will not permit damaging documents to be withheld if production to the opponent is required under the law and the rules of civil procedure. Even if a client wants to withhold embarrassing or harmful materials that the law requires be produced, the documents will have to be produced. However, if there are appropriate privileges that apply, or other legitimate grounds for objecting, he will discuss whether or not those privileges or objections should be asserted.
Mr. Corris routinely grants courtesies to opposing lawyers unless the lawyer’s request is one that, in his judgment, he cannot grant without the client’s approval. He does not believe a lawyer has to shout or bang the table or be obstructionist during discovery in order to represent a client zealously – and he will represent you zealously. Mr. Corris wants you to have an understanding of how he practices business law, because if there are any significant differences on these issues as the case proceeds, he reserves the right to withdraw. Please do not mistake courtesy for lack of determination. Mr. Corris will be your advocate. His mission is to obtain a successful result for you through personal attention, commitment to your case, efficiency and his experience and expertise.
Corris Law serves business law clients, including individuals dealing with business litigation throughout Southeastern Wisconsin, including Milwaukee, Hartland, Waukesha and surrounding areas. To learn more about the firm’s terms and conditions, call (414) 573-8000, send us an e-mail (email@example.com), or use the firm’s convenient contact form. Mr. Corris pledges prompt and personal attention to your business law issues and looks forward to working with you.