Review of Invoices. You agree to carefully read all invoices and promptly notify me in writing of any claimed errors or discrepancies within fourteen (14) days of invoice. Your failure to object in writing to any invoice within this time will conclusively establish the accuracy and reasonableness of the invoice. You agree that this is sufficient time to review and respond to invoices due to the use of email communications between us. Your failure to timely pay any invoice will constitute a material breach of this agreement and I will withdraw from the Engagement. All unpaid fees and expenses are due within fourteen (14) days of the conclusion of the Engagement. After fourteen (14) days, all unpaid invoices will carry interest at an amount of 1% per month. In addition, I may revoke any discounts or chargeoffs on invoices that remain unpaid after fourteen (14) days.
Deposit. Any necessity for an increased deposit will be indicated in an invoice and will be due within the usual fourteen (14) days. You agree to double the deposit 45 days prior to trial or arbitration whether or not I provide explicit notice of the need for the same. Failure to submit an additional deposit is a material breach of this agreement and I will withdraw from the Engagement.
Fee Award by Court. If the Court awards us fees or costs, that amount will be credited towards you unless it is greater than the fees I charge under Section 1, supra. In that event, I will credit or refund whatever fees I have charged or assessed and instead claim the fee award. This fee structure is reasonable under the circumstances because it rewards me if a Court awards a fee higher than the fee that I otherwise charged.
Withdrawal. If you discharge me without cause or I withdraw with cause I reserve the right to claim any contingency or fee award, or equity in an unrealized contingency or fee award, or any other right to compensation, whether realized, contingent, or speculative. I will assert a lodestar, quantum meruit, or other calculation designed to provide me with adequate compensation considering this agreement, the risk I am assuming, progress on the Engagement, and the results I achieved or contributed to, and other relevant factors. Nor will I refund or reduce any hourly fees or costs already incurred. You agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the tribunal before which I litigate on your behalf to adjudicate any charging, equitable, or retaining lien on the subject matter of the Engagement.
Handling of Proceeds. Any judgment, settlement, payment and / or court award for costs, fees, or sanctions, or any other funds obtained during the course of the engagement will be deposited into my trust account and applied first toward my fees and costs. Any remaining funds will be disbursed to you only after you sign a written closing statement. If my compensation is based, in whole or in part, upon a percentage of any recovery, we must sign a written closing statement before any of the proceeds may be disbursed from my trust account to either of us. I will promptly provide you with such a statement in accordance with your agreement. At the end of the Engagement, your deposit will be applied toward any outstanding fees and costs and any excess will be returned to you.
No Guarantee. All I can promise is that I will try my best. Any agreement to reduce my hourly fee in exchange for a portion of any recovery is not necessarily an indication of the likelihood or amount of any such recovery. No lawyer is allowed to guarantee the success of any legal work undertaken on Client’s behalf. As with everything else in life you will receive less than you desire after waiting longer than you expected.
Handling of Costs. Beltran may require, in his discretion, that client pay such costs in advance and / or that vendors bill Client directly. Alternatively, for practicality, efficiency, or convenience purposes, Beltran may advance such costs and then invoice Client for reimbursement of such costs.
Basis for Compensation. My compensation is based upon, among other factors, the time and labor involved, the novelty or difficulty of questions presented, the results obtained, any time limitation and demand imposed, the potential for future conflicts, the risks of the Engagement, the state of the legal market in general and my practice in particular, and my reputation, training, experience and ability. You may attempt to bargain, among other things, the initial deposit, the hourly rate, and any success fee. This fee agreement reflects give and take balanced against the possible costs, risks, and benefits of the Engagement. You may further negotiate these items and / or engage another attorney if you are unsatisfied with my terms. If you do not understand and agree with your engagement letter, please do not sign it or engage me because we will both be miserable and I will be distracted from satisfying paying clients. Once the engagement is commenced, you may not withhold or delay payments, otherwise disrupt the progress of the case, leverage further discounts or concessions, or demand a reduction in any success fee.
Disputes. The prevailing party in any dispute is entitled to reasonable costs, including but not limited to the fees of a collection agent and attorney’s fees. With respect to any collection work (telephone calls, correspondence, arbitration, litigation, etc.) undertaken by Beltran, rather than a third party, in connection with any overdue bill, Client will be liable to Beltran, based on Beltran’s then-standard hourly rate, for any time spent by Beltran in collecting Client’s bill. This Agreement shall be interpreted under Florida law. The parties hereto agree that prior to initiating formal legal action (including arbitration) they must first mediate any dispute. In the event any party demands mediation, the other party must attend a mediation session in good-faith within 45 days of the demand, with the parties initially diving the cost. If the parties cannot agree on a mediator, the parties shall mediate with Peter Grilli in Hillsborough County, Florida. In the event Mr. Grilli has a conflict, he shall designate an alternate. All disputes regarding Beltran’s fees shall be submitted to the fee arbitration program of The Florida Bar. All other disputes shall be submitted to the appropriate Florida State Court in Hillsborough County, Florida (State Court) or the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division (Federal Court). NOTICE: This agreement contains provisions requiring arbitration of fee disputes. Before you sign this agreement you should consider consulting with another lawyer about the advisability of making an agreement with mandatory arbitration requirements. Arbitration proceedings are ways to resolve disputes without use of the court system. By entering into agreements that require arbitration as the way to resolve fee disputes, you give up (waive) your right to go to court to resolve those disputes by a judge or jury. These are important rights that should not be given up without careful consideration.
Communication. The primary method of communication and providing invoices, notices, drafts, updates and copies of documents, will be by electronic mail. Client agrees to fully disclose to Beltran any facts, circumstances, or other information relevant or necessary to this Engagement. Client will also affirmatively notify Beltran of changes in or corrections to information previously provided to Beltran. Client will provide Beltran with written summaries of facts or answers to Beltran’s questions. Client agrees to read and retain all correspondence and documents sent to Client by Beltran. Client further agrees to abide by such correspondence and documents and to communicate with Beltran about any question or concern. Client understands that failure to communicate with Beltran or to promptly provide truthful and complete information to Beltran may result in additional expenditure of time and resources and / or may impair or delay Beltran’s effort to represent Client.
NO ADVICE IS GIVEN ON TAX CONSEQUENCES, BANKRUPTCY LAW, OR PATENT LAW. Federal and state tax laws, bankruptcy law, and patent law are dynamic and specialized and Client agrees to seek such advice elsewhere and to hold Beltran harmless therefore. Federal and State tax laws and regulations are continually changing such that it is sometimes necessary to hire a tax specialist such as a Certified Public Accountant or tax lawyer to review any agreements or orders of the court for potential tax consequences. Client understands that the collectability of verdicts, judgments, and even settlements is always uncertain and that Beltran has given no assurance or guarantee that Client will actually be able to collect any sums from any other party at any time. Even if Beltran litigates in bankruptcy court, Client understands that Beltran is not and does not claim to be a bankruptcy specialist and that his expertise is limited to litigation. Beltran is not admitted to the Patent Bar.
No Responsibility for Prior Decisions or Acts of Others. If Client uses or has used other attorneys or professionals to assist with the work that Beltran is performing, Client releases Beltran from any liability for acts or omissions that are attributable, in whole or in part, to such other attorneys and professionals. Although Beltran promises to work in good faith with Client’s other attorneys and professionals, Client agrees that Beltran has the right to verify and approve any pleadings, documents, or actions for which Beltran has professional responsibility. Beltran is not responsible for any error prior to Beltran’s involvement, even if Beltran could or should have corrected the same.
Client File. I will maintain the file for a reasonable time after our engagement ends. You may request a copy of your file upon payment of reasonable charges for copying and labor and any outstanding fees. I maycreate or place in your file documents containing attorney work product, mental impressions or notes, and drafts of documents (“Work Product”), which shall remain my property and which I shall share in my discretion consistent with applicable ethical rules.
End of Engagement. If I am not engaged to represent you in another matter when the Engagement ends, our attorney-client relationship will cease whether or not I send you a letter informing you of the same.
Limited Scope. You agree to the limited scope of the engagement outlined in your agreement. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if you request or I perform any other work for you or any affiliate without a separate Fee Agreement or other arrangement confirmed in writing, the terms of this Agreement shall control and your deposit shall also secure payment for such services. Unless stipulated otherwise, your rate for services not covered by any fee agreement will be $400 per hour.
Media and Publicity. I may appear in the media, speak publicly, or issue press releases to further the Engagement and / or promote my practice to the extent consistent with applicable ethical rules.
Conflict Waiver. Beltran represents a broad base of clients on a variety of legal matters. Client agrees that Beltran may represent other present or future parties on matters other than those for which Beltran represents Client, whether or not on a basis adverse to Client, including in litigation, legal or other proceedings or matters, which are referred to as “Permitted Adverse Representation.” Consistent with this mutual agreement, Client agrees not to assert Beltran’s representation pursuant to this Agreement, or in any other matter in which Beltran may later agree to represent Client, as a basis for disqualifying Beltran from representing another party in any Permitted Adverse Representation. Client agrees that any Permitted Adverse Representation does not constitute a breach of duty. Client consents to Beltran’s representation of such other clients (subject to the limitation described above) and expressly waives any conflict of interest or breach of duty arising from any such representation.
Client’s Right to Switch Lawyers or Cease Engagement. You are the client and it is your right to select any attorney you wish to handle your matter at any time. You are under no obligation to engage or continue to use my services and may switch lawyers or decide to represent yourself, unless you are a corporate entity. If your account is in good standing, we will provide your file electronically.
Costs, Delays, and Risks of Litigation. All clients should discuss the costs, delays and risks of litigation with their lawyer. Depending on the facts, law, court, judge, adversary, and opposing counsel, it could require more than a year or cost more than $100,000 to resolve a case. No lawyer can provide any assurance that any adversary will offer any settlement at any time. Nor can any lawyer provide any assurance about any result during motion practice or trial. Nor can any lawyer provide any assurance about the size or collectability of any settlement, judgement, or verdict. Litigation is expensive, frustrating, and distracting.