Legal Service Agreement – FAQ

Legal Service Agreement - FAQ

Why do we have this FAQ Page?

  • We want everyone to be in agreement and “on the same page” when it comes to our services. It’s important to us that you feel informed.
  • Not everything can be captured in the LSA, else it would be 100 pages long!
  • This webpage is here for your reference as many times as you need it.

Representation begins once the client has read, reviewed, and agreed to the legal service agreement AND also made the required retainer or down payment.

After the conclusion of the legal service agreement, meaning we completed or attempted to complete our mutual goal. It can also end if we decide to withdraw representation (whether because of a conflict of interest, irreconcilable conflict of personalities, etc.) or you decide to terminate our representation.

The law is constantly evolving. Sometimes waiting too long to get started on a legal matter can bring unexpected complications and may need us to make changes.

  • We’ll always do our best to fulfill your needs and meet your expectations, and it’s important to have things written down so that we both know what’s what, who should do what and when, and what will happen if something goes wrong. We want you to feel informed and that you can trust us.
  • You won’t find any complicated legal terms or long passages of unreadable text in this contract. We’ve no desire to trick you into signing something you might regret later. We do want what’s best for both parties.
Legal representation in issues like these can involve (but is not limited to):
 
  • Legal research into case law, regulations, and many other forms of the law, and analysis,
  • Investigating and organizing facts and evidence,
  • Communicating with you about relevant information and details,
  • Providing personal legal strategy and advice,
  • Representing you before a court or similar government agency, etc.
Our legal representation usually does NOT include:
  • Non-legal services, such as accounting, financial, management, tax preparation or consulting, and related litigation services.
  • Consultations and/or legal advice regarding non-immigration law matters, such as real estate law, wills and estates law, family law, or criminal law (aside from immigration-related issues).
  • Separate immigration matters not listed above.
  • Representation in any court or tribunal, removal defense, or any appeals of the outcomes unless that’s what we agreed to do above.

Defining our goal allows us to focus our time, energy, and resources on a specific set of tasks. Sometimes we need multiple matters to fully complete a case, but that’s why we can always create more agreements.

  • Advanced fees are held in a client trust account known as an IOLTA account (Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts). We will draw down on your retainer to satisfy our billing statements as we reach case milestones.
  • If our statements are not paid as agreed, we may require that a retainer equal to the delinquent payments be deposited into our trust account and, subject to our ethical obligations, may discontinue representation until such deposit is received.
  • At the firm’s sole discretion, a general retainer may be required if invoices are not timely paid.

In an effort to simplify billing and invoicing and save you additional fees and expenses, the firm generally covers the following expenses on your behalf without additional charges: 

    • Printing and preparation of passport-style photos, up to 4 per individual legal matter and conditioned upon your compliance with our instructions.
    • General administrative costs for reasonable use of supplies, printing, priority mailing, copying, and similar expected administrative activities.
    • Credit card transaction fees, merchant fees, and associated costs with payment processing services.
  • Hourly Fee for Additional Work: While the firm generally utilizes a flat fee service model, the firm may need to charge for additional legal work at the firm’s hourly rate of $300 per hour, divided into 6-minute increments and rounded up to the nearest quarter hour.
  • Adding Additional Services: If there are any later developments (such as an arrest or significant change in the laws) that may impact your future rights and liabilities, we may require your express agreement, additional legal fees, and/or a new legal service agreement. If a complication arises that requires firm time and activity to resolve, you may be charged on an hourly basis for assistance. 
  • Translations: Up to five (5) pages (single-sided) of Spanish to English translations are included in the legal service fee. Additional pages will incur a fee of $20 per page. Other languages or more complex translations may require a third-party reputable translation service and/or additional fees. 
  • Changes in USCIS Filing Fees: From time to time, USCIS changes their government filing fees. If this is the case, we will notify you promptly and you will be responsible for payment accordingly.
Any controversy, dispute, or claim arising out of or related to our fees, charges, performance of services, obligations reflected in this agreement, or other aspects of our representation that cannot be amicably resolved will be resolved by binding arbitration in Austin, Texas. Texas State law governs the interpretation of this agreement, and the venue of any legal proceeding involving this agreement or services rendered by us under the terms of this agreement will be in Travis County, Texas.
 
The arbitration will be conducted by utilizing the American Arbitration Association Commercial Arbitration Rules; however, the arbitration will not be administered by the American Arbitration Association unless we specifically so agree in writing at the time. Judgment upon any resulting award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction to enforce the same.
 
If the amount at issue in the dispute is $250,000 or less, it shall be resolved by a single arbitrator.  If the amount at issue in the dispute is greater than $250,000, it shall be resolved by a three-member panel of neutral arbitrators.  We will jointly choose the arbitrator(s).  If we are unable to agree, the arbitrator or arbitrators shall be named by the then-sitting Chief Administrative Judge for the Travis County Civil District Courts upon application by either of us.  Each such arbitrator shall be either a practicing attorney licensed for not less than 15 years or a retired judge.  In all events, such person(s) shall be currently licensed to practice law in Texas.
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