McKIMMEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
Twenty E. Ninth Street - The Aldridge - Suite 137, Shawnee, Oklahoma 74801 - 405-275-3564
WHY ARE LEGAL COSTS SO EXPENSIVE?
Sold at Auction 7/29/02 - 7.59 Million Dollars
GENERAL PRACTICE -
WILLS & TRUSTS -
FEES & SERVICES
DOCUMENT PREPARATION -
POWERS OF ATTORNEY -
REAL ESTATE -
CIVIL RIGHTS -
GOVERNMENTAL TORT CLAIMS -
McKIMMEY LAW OFFICE is one of the leading small law firms in the Shawnee, Oklahoma area, with a Statewide practice in all State and Federal Courts.
McKIMMEY LAW OFFICE is a general practice law firm. Our expertise includes Probate, Wills, Trusts, Real Estate, and Governmental Tort Claims, including Civil Rights litigation involving the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments.
"An Affordable Attorney at Law"
Admitted to Practice - Oklahoma - 1974
United States Supreme Court - Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
All United States District Courts of Oklahoma
Legal Costs fall into two distinct Areas
- Costs and Expenses
- Attorney Fees
"COSTS" - True 'Costs' that are incurred when you have Legal Needs are largely set by Statute.
Most of your legal needs do not involve the Court System, but may involve only the recording of instruments, i.e, deeds, mortgages, etc. The Cost of recording are set by statute and your attorney has no control over the amounts.
"Costs" increase any time you get involved with the 'Court System'
Most of the cases filed in the Courts do not involve 'litigation', but are matters that must be decided by the Courts - Probate - Adoptions - Guardianships, etc.
- Filing Costs - The Court Cost to file a lawsuit varies from Court to Court.
- Filing Costs - Costs to Just File a Federal Lawsuit is $250.00.
- Filing Costs - Costs to Just File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is $209.00.
- If the matter requires Notice to be given to any other person, then you incur the 'costs' of serving process, certified mailing and publications.
- If the matter is one that requires an appraisal of property, then 'costs' involves the payment of Appraisers, which by statute in Oklahoma is $75.00 per day, per appraiser - with a minimum of two appraisers. If a more detailed appraisement is required, then 'costs' will increase.
- If 'Sales' of property are required, then the 'costs' of conducting a 'sale' by the Sheriff may be added.
When the case is Litigation - where there is real dispute - the costs can really begin to increase rapidly!
The increase in 'costs' will include:
- Costs of Clerk to issue Summons - Set by Statute in Oklahoma at $5.00 per summons.
- Costs of Sheriff or Private Process Server - In most cases a minimum of $25.00 per Summons - increasing rapidly depending on how difficult it is to obtain service.
- Costs of Issuing Subpoenas - and Service upon the Person being Required to
testify. Payment of a 'Witness Fee' when the Subpoena is served is required by Statute.
- Costs of Depositions - This includes fees for the Court Reporter - and the charges set by statute per page for transcription. In Federal Court, each party pays for their own copy or copies - In Oklahoma Courts, the party taking the deposition must provide the other party with a copy.
- Court Reporter Fees at Court Hearings prior to trial - and Costs of obtaining Copies of Transcripts. - The per page rate set by statute.
- If a jury is requested, then a jury fee of $350.00 will be required.
- Trial Exhibits - Blown up photos - Maps - Drawings - get expensive.
- Most jurisdictions allow the prevailing parties to recover these costs by a judgment against the loser.
None of these 'Costs' benefit your Attorney!
"ATTORNEY FEES" - Most attorneys charge for their work based on an 'hourly rate' - the same way charges are made by mechanics, electricians, etc.
The hourly rate a particular attorney may charge is based on several factors and considerations.
The first consideration is that the attorney fees are the only source of income for the office - all of the overhead must be paid from the fees generated.
The Fees must pay for:
- Wages and Salaries of his/her staff
- Rent - Utilities - Phone
- Law Library
- Office Equipment - Supplies - etc.
- Total office overhead
The particular market where the attorney practices greatly determines the Total Office Overhead -
Another factor an attorney uses to determine the hourly rate is his / her experience.
An Attorney experienced in a particular field of law may have a higher hourly rate than an inexperienced attorney - He / She can just do more in less time! - You don't have to pay for his learning on your case!
Generally your attorney must consider this hourly rate in determining whether or not to handle a case on a 'contingency fee' basis. - Will the ultimate recovery, if he/she prevails, justify the time involved.
Schedule of Fees & Services
FACTORS THAT DETERMINE
HOW MANY HOURS YOU PAY FOR
Many Times Your Attorney may not be in control of the amount of time that is devoted to the handling of your legal needs, even if no litigation is involved.
Particular needs of a client may increase the amount of time.
Many times the attorney may have finished with the work, and the clients or the people they may be negotiating with may just have a change of mind.
That may mean starting over, or just trashing what has been done!
But, it is in the area of 'litigation'
that it is most difficult to determine how much time must be devoted to your
The Most Important Factors are:
The Type of Case - Not all lawsuits are created equal.
Some require more legal research. -
Some require more time with witnesses. -
Some require more time in Court Appearances -
The Court Where the Suit is brought - As a general rule a Federal Court Suit takes more Attorney time than a State Court suit, primarily because of the Court Rules. - However, a particular State Court or Particular Judge, may require more briefing and Court appearances than another court in the same jurisdiction.
The Amount of Money Your Opponent is Willing to Spend - Many times you may be outgunned and your opponent may be willing to spend $25,000.00 just to keep from giving you $1,000.00.
In many cases 'principle' may be the overriding issue.
This is especially true in Civil Rights Cases - Malpractice Cases - Product Liability cases - Suits against States and Municipalities - and suits brought against large corporations.
The Law Firm or Lawyer on the other side - Some Attorneys who are assured of being paid by their own client may often find more reasons to write briefs, file motions, have Court appearances and choose the most time consuming ways of obtaining 'discovery' information than other attorneys in the same town.
That necessarily increases the amount of time your attorney must devote to your case.
The Attorney you choose to represent you! - Some Attorneys who are assured of being paid by their own client may often find more reasons to write briefs, file motions, have Court appearances and choose the most time consuming ways of obtaining 'discovery' information than other attorneys in the same town.
Regrettably, not all attorneys are created equal! - Some may just take longer
And - Not all the attorneys that may create work that they can charge for are on the other side.
Before engaging in any litigation you should be aware that in some instances the prevailing party may be entitled to attorney fees as part of the judgment.
In those cases, If you lose you may have to pay the attorney fees for the other party - in addition to your own.
However, in most instances each party must pay their own attorney fees - win, lose or draw!
If the suit is determined by the Court to be frivolous or without foundation in Law and Fact, both the attorney and the party to the law suit may be subject to sanctions in Federal Court pursuant to Rule 11 - FRCP - or by Statute in State Court.
In Oklahoma the Statute is 12 O.S., Section 2011
If you have a question of a general nature that you feel should be included in this segment, please let us know.
We also would like to receive comments and suggestions for better Answers.
Although we cannot give specific legal advice on the phone we are willing to answer questions of a general nature.
If your question is of general interest we may include your letter and our response as a part of our website.
- 2001 - 2015 - Joseph E. McKimmey