Choosing an attorney is a very personal decision. There are many factors that should be considered, including that attorney’s expertise in a particular field, fee amounts/hourly rates, the attorney’s proven track record, and the attorney’s communication style.
To read more on other factors that should be considered when choosing and attorney and questions you should ask, read “How Do I Know if a Lawyer is Right for Me?”, an article published by the American Bar Association, located here: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/public-information/how-do-i-know-if-a-lawyer-is-right-for-me-/
There are some matters, like most bankruptcies, for which a flat fee is charged. This fee may vary, depending on the complexity of your case. The amount of the flat fee typically will be provided during your consultation.
For certain civil rights and employment matters, the work will be billed on a mixed fee/contingency fee basis. That means you will be charged a fraction of the attorney’s and legal assistant’s/paralegal’s rates. In addition, the attorney will receive a percentage of any proceeds collected through litigation, settlement or otherwise.
Most work is charged on an hourly basis. During the consultation/case evaluation, we will provide an estimate of the total time necessary on your case – please note, however, that these are just estimates. The time spent on your case may vary, depending on a wide variety of factors, so it is impossible to predict the total legal costs with absolute certainty.
For work billed on an hourly, or mixed hourly fee/contingency basis, we will provide the retainer that will need to be paid before legal services can begin. A retainer is a down-payment made for legal services. Typically, the retainer is held “in trust”. The attorney withdraws his/her hourly rate as he/she works on the case
Attorneys charge an hourly rate for most legal work, which is billed in six-minute increments. At Gougis Law, we strive to make the most of time spent in order to achieve the best outcome for you in the most cost-efficient way possible.
There are many ways in which you can work with your attorney to make the most use of the legal time spent on your matter, including the following:
After providing your email, you will receive an invitation to join our client portal. The client portal will allow you to check billing and tasks performed on your case, obtain information on remaining tasks and important dates and events, send/receive secure messages, and review and pay invoices.
Initial consultations for bankruptcy and family law (including divorce, legal separation, child custody, and child support) are provided free of charge. These consultations typically last 15 minutes. During the consultation, we will have an opportunity to discuss your situation, after which we will propose the terms of representation.
There are areas of law that require more in-depth initial case evaluations, including employment law, education/school law, and civil rights cases. These case evaluations typically take one hour and cost $250. The case evaluation fee may be paid by personal check, cashier’s check, money order, cash, and credit card. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.
During the case evaluation, we will go discuss your situation. You are also encouraged to bring a copy of all relevant documents with you, which we will review during the meeting. We will then provide the potential courses of action (including whether it would be best to file a lawsuit in state and/or federal court, file a charge with an administrative agency like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Illinois Department of Human Rights, or U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights). We will then discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your case. Where appropriate, we will provide recommendations on how to gather and preserve evidence for your case. Finally, toward the end of the case evaluation, we will propose the terms of representation.
Consultations through video conference (via Zoom video conferencing) are available upon request. At this time, consultations are not provided via telephone.
Please note that certain areas of law require in-depth case evaluations, as opposed to consultations; these include employment, education/school, and civil rights law. A $250 deposit will be required when booking a case evaluation via Zoom video conference.
Consultations are available on select Saturdays. If you are interested in scheduling a Saturday consultation, please call our office at (309) 282-6325. Please note that a $250 deposit will be required when booking a case evaluation on a Saturday.
If you cannot make your appointment, please contact our office at (309) 282-6325 to reschedule. Please provide as much advance notice as possible.
For scheduled case evaluations scheduled on Saturdays or via Zoom video conferencing, a full refund of the $250 case evaluation fee will be provided as long as the cancellation occurs at least 24 hours in advance. For cancellations with less than 24 hours’ advance notice, the $250 case evaluation fee is non-refundable – however, the case evaluation may be rescheduled at no additional charge, at our discretion, in limited circumstances (i.e., for emergency situations outside of the prospective client’s control).
You can get started by filling out and submitting the information form on our website. You also may call our office at (309) 282-6325 to schedule a consultation or case evaluation.
When booking your Zoom video consultation/case evaluation, we will gather your relevant contact information, including your email address. We will then email the link, meeting ID, and meeting password.
Prior to the consultation, you will need to download Zoom on your computer or phone. You may download Zoom at https://zoom.us/download.