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Law Office of William J. Dyer

Attorney-at-Law ♦ Counselor ♦ Trial Advocate

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Fee negotiations > Hourly rate fees > Contingent fees > Hybrid fees > Expenses > Referrals >  

Whether I'm working on an hourly-rate or contingent fee basis, I do my best not to nickel-and-dime my clients on expenses.
I try to avoid expensive means when cheap ones can get the job done. And I don't try to make money off my expense pass-throughs — just not to lose money.
If I incur extra charges for a long-distance call, for example, I will bill you for that expense, but not for local calls, nor for long distance calls that are included in my cell phone plan. I would no more charge a client for my "expenses" in a sending or receiving a fax than I would charge a client for sending or receiving an email. I generally don't charge for first-class postage on routine letters. I do pass along my expenses, however, for certified mail, messengers, overnight couriers, etc. 
I don't charge for ordinary photocopying, scanning, or printing that I do at my office. I don't charge expenses for online legal research costs unless I've incurred a particular fee attributable to a specific client and matter.
Unless I've gotten a client's advance permission, I will try to travel at the most economical available direct airfare. For automobile mileage on trips outside Houston, I'll charge the I.R.S.-specified rate. When obliged to pay for parking or taxis, I'll pass along those expenses too. When obliged to stay elsewhere overnight, I will pass along to my client my expenses for lodging and meals (but not entertainment), and I will generally try to keep those expenses consistent with choices I'd make were I traveling on my own personal business at my own expense.
My fees are set on the assumption that my overhead for staff and office expenses are generally quite low. But on the rare occasions when I have to rent special space or gear, or hire temporary personnel, to accommodate the needs of a particular client and matter, I'll get my client's advance permission to pass along those expenses.