PRACTICE POLICIES


Our Office’s Policies and Procedures


Initial Telephone Legal Advice

Generally we avoid rendering initial legal advice over the telephone until we have established an active representation with our new clients.  Until we have been able to review necessary papers or establish that legal relationship with the caller, extensive legal advice will only be given over the telephone once we have been retained for legal services.

Initial Office Conference

For personal injury and wrongful death cases, there is no initial charge for an office conference. For all other legal matters, an initial office conference fee generally is applicable and paid at the time of the conference.  Unlike some attorneys who advertise a free initial consultation to entice you into their office to evaluate whether or not they are interested in your case, we actually listen to your questions and provide you with pertinent legal advice. 

If within 10 days you retain our office to provide additional services arising out of the matters covered during the initial conference, then our separate initial conference charge will usually be waived and any fees paid will be applied to the overall legal fees.  Also, at this conference, we may ask you to allow us to photocopy your driver’s license or other identification card as required by current Florida Notary Public laws or even take a digital photograph for our private office files.

Confidentiality

The Florida Bar ethics require that your matters be held confidential and privileged.  Attorney Holt and his legal staff respect your privacy and are trained to observe legal confidentiality requirements regarding your affairs and your dealings with our office. 

We are bound not to disclose your matters or communications without a Court order.  It is important for us to know all of the facts and circumstances of your matter in order to be able to provide you with competent, correct legal advice and representation, and your candidly sharing that information with us will help facilitate our providing proper legal advice and representation to you. 

It is not our position or role to judge you or the position that you are in but to strive to represent your interests capably, ethically, and realistically.  Your cooperation and candor are expected and appreciated.

Employment Letters/Contracts

If you retain us to represent you, we may either send you an employment/engagement letter outlining the extent of our representation, the fees agreed upon, and the terms of employment, or we may request you to review and sign a formal employment agreement which provides for the extent of our representation and fee arrangement.

If no separate employment letter or contract is provided for any reason, then this disclosure about our representation applies and is binding upon us and you the client.  If we are mistaken as to any terms or conditions of our representation or fees and costs, you should contact us immediately; otherwise, we will proceed in reliance upon the terms of the employment letter, agreement, and/or this provided policy. 

Legal Services and Charges

Our office maintains electronic time records of services performed and expenses incurred on your behalf.  Depending on the agreed upon fee arrangements, you will be responsible for such services and costs.  Our law office reserves the right to apply a reasonable surcharge to fees or hourly rates if the matter is of an emergent nature and requires immediate or urgent attention which precludes our being able to attend to other pending matters. 

Legal services typically include office conferences; review of files and records; legal research; investigations; internet searches; drafting of letters, documents, and pleadings; telephone calls; meetings and conferences; witness interviews; consultations with attorneys and experts; preparations for hearings and trials; appearances at hearings and trials; negotiations, and the like. 

If your matter goes beyond our initial office conference, there is a one-time file origination charge of $75.00, which applies to opening and processing your file, provides all notary public services and charges, and includes ordinary photocopying and long distance phone call needs.  However, certified and registered mail costs, electronic legal research, fax and long-distance calls, overnight express mail or delivery, and extraordinary photocopying costs $0.30 per copy and are normally billed as incurred. 

Also, you are responsible for court filing fees, recording fees, sheriff fees, private process server fees, legal publications, certified copies, deposition and discovery costs, witness and expert fees, and any court awarded costs. 

If we charge an initial retainer fee, it may be non-refundable at our discretion, in whole or in part, since we will have undertaken your representation and allocated time and resources to it.  Furthermore, our conferring or dealing with you on the particular matter may preclude us ethically from undertaking possible representation on other parties or related actions.

Payments

Initial conference fees, if any, are to be paid at the time of the conference.  Besides checks, cash, or Debit Cards with Visa or MasterCard logo, we gladly accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express credit card payments,   If necessary, we will attempt to work out a mutually satisfactory payment plan and/or hold post-dated checks, promissory notes, mortgages, security interest in property, or strive to make other workable financial arrangements for your representation. 

Bills are due when rendered, and payments are first applied to any finance charges owing and then to the principal balances.  Finance charges are calculated at 1.50% per month (18% annually) on an unpaid balance.  Should billings remain outstanding for longer than 30 days, and other appropriate arrangements have not been made, we reserve the right to withdraw from further legal representation in your matter, and any balances, with interest, remain owing and payable to us.  If we have to proceed legally against you to recover sums owing to us, then we will also be entitled to recover reasonable legal fees and expenses incurred. 

Conclusion

Quality legal representation requires a great deal of experience, patience, skill, insight, objectivity, and time.  Usually, nothing can be accomplished overnight, and navigating our legal system can be a slow and tedious process.  We encourage negotiation, mediation, and even collaborative law sessions  as effective ways to resolve disputes in the post cost effective manner when appropriate, but as trial lawyers, we are ready to litigate your case before the Courts when necessary. 

While we strive to tend to your matters in a prompt fashion, we cannot provide you with any definitive assurance to any particular outcomes or with a timeframe as to when your legal matter will be resolved.  However, we will keep you informed from time to time with emails, letters, and/or copies.  

Should you have any questions, please contact us ... emails or written notes are effective way for us, as it allows us to file it or concerns for future reference.  Do not hesitate to leave a detailed message with our legal assistant, secretary, or paralegal to expedite our response process.  While they cannot provide you with legal advice, they can furnish you with needed information or pass along information from the Attorneys.

At the law Office of Attorney Edmund W. Holt, we strive to provide quality legal representation that yields confidence and relieves anxiety for our clients.  We encourage you to contact us for all of your legal needs, and we appreciate your referring others to us as questions or problems arise. 

If you require legal assistance in an area of practice outside of our primary emphasis, we can provide you with an appropriate referral to a capable, experienced attorney.  As both an attorney and a counselor at law, Attorney Holt can serve as your negotiator, your advocate, and as your advisor when making recommendations.

Abraham Lincoln, himself, was a very capable and wise attorney.  He aptly said that a lawyer’s time and advice is his stock in trade.  As members of the noble legal profession, we are proud to provide you with our time and advice, and thank you for letting us be of service to you.

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