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SELECTED 2013-2017
 

Rising Costs of the Advertising Firm: Interest on Postage Stamps? Really?

Posted 16 Nov 2016 by


We were contacted by a client who was scared off from signing up with one of those ‘big advertising’ Jacksonville personal injury law firms because they wanted her to sign up via text message. No initial free consultation. No one-on-one talk with a lawyer. Just text to hire. But wait, there’s more.

We took a look at the contract and were stunned at what is being passed off as costs taxed on to the client now by some firms. We wanted to break it down for you.

The Crazy Costs Other Firms Charge

In addition to up to a 40% attorney’s fee based on the total amount of settlement of your claim/case, these charges are additional:
  • From another firm’s contract:
  • “I agree to pay costs including but not limited to; investigative charges @ $50 per hour plus .45 cents per mile, fax charges @.50 cents per page, nurse charges, legal research charges, a $100.00 charge for record retention and for miscellaneous costs for file opening and closing not captured by the electronic cost tracking system (CopiTrak), black & white photocopy charges @ .25 cents per page, color photocopies @ .50 cents per page, laser prints @ .50 cents per page, scanning charges @ .25 cents per page, and postage charges incurred in investigating, reviewing, settling, or litigating my claim upon the successful resolution of same. I understand and agree that my attorneys will advance these costs on my behalf, and such advance costs shall bear interest at 8% per year on all costs.”

“Investigative charges @ $50 per hour plus .45 cents per mile”

  • As a law firm, we hire case managers, paralegals, lawyers, receptionists, investigators, nurses, administrative staff and more. What is disturbing about this paragraph is that this firm charges you $50 per hour and .45 cents per mile for their investigator. This is the equivalent of $104,000.00 per year. Most of these firms don’t even pay their lawyers that much salary, so why should you pay their investigators six figures. Never agree to that.
  • Nurse charges
  • The same goes for “nurse charges.” These nurses don’t treat you. They don’t make you better. Those are the only nurses you should pay. Otherwise, you are paying our overhead in costs… in addition to up to 40% fees. It’s outrageous.
  • Record retention
  • The contract requires “a $100.00 charge for record retention and for miscellaneous costs for file opening and closing not captured by the electronic cost tracking system (CopiTrak).” This means they are charging you $100 plus copies. We once saw a firm charge a client costs for sending a thank you note. The Florida Bar requires lawyers keep your file and every lawyer has to set up a file in order to work on it. So, why should you pay for what we have to do anyway? Answer- you shouldn’t.
  • Copies and faxes
  • This firm charges for copies and faxes, too. They charge for “fax charges @.50 cents per page” and “black & white photocopy charges @ .25 cents per page, color photocopies @ .50 cents per page, laser prints @ .50 cents per page, scanning charges @ .25 cents per page.” We aren’t office depot. We don’t even pass on these costs to clients. Some firms do. We understand how these costs add up, but $1 for a 2 page fax (which really is a 1-page fax with a cover page at most of these firms)? Really?
  • Postage charges
  • Postage is fairly standard, although we only charge it in extreme cases.

Interest

To add literally insult to injury, this firm makes you agree to pay 8% interest on every stamp, fax and employee you pay for by saying, “I understand and agree that my attorneys will advance these costs on my behalf, and such advance costs shall bear interest at 8% per year on all costs.”

But wait, there’s more…

From another firm’s contract:
“I understand that ______ may provide other services, including but not limited to investigative services and courier services, through the use of its own in-house courier at a flat fee not to exceed $22.50, plus .45 cents per mile. I agree that Farah & Farah P.A. may provide these services and charge them as a cost to my case when such services are needed. I understand that the persons who will provide these services are either employees of the firm or independent contractors. The costs charged for these in-house services wiii (misspelling in original) be competitive with the costs charged by outside service providers, although I understand the cost charged to me for these services may exceed the amount paid for the service by the firm.”
In-house courier
We don’t even know what that is? A runner? A delivery person? It says, “in house,” so does that mean that if someone takes something from one desk to another, it’s $22.50, or from office to office? That’s not fair. Again, you are paying costs for people to do their job in addition to a 40% fee.
“Although I understand the cost charged to me for these services may exceed the amount paid for the service by the firm”
Here, the firm admits it is even charging you MORE than it pays and it is profiting off of these costs in some instances.
Conclusion
You can get more for less. There are firms in the area which do not charge any of these charges, will negotiate fees and who are more proven in a courtroom and/or are Board Certified as experts in civil trial law by the Florida Bar. Just because they advertise does not mean they are better. It just means they have more overhead to pass on to you. And they do.

We invite you to review our verdicts, our accolades and awards and what clients have to say about us and give us a call for a free consultation where our lawyers will consult with you personally.  John represents clients in Florida, Georgia and Alabama and before the U.S. Supreme Court with passion and compassion. Our firm handles a wide variety of injury and death cases, criminal defense, family law and a host of high profile matters. We can be emailed at help@floridajustice.com or call us at (904) 444-4444 in Florida or (912) 444-4444 in Georgia.

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