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You've probably heard about "billable hours" on TV shows. Lots of law firms charge by the hour. When the government is paying a private lawyer, it usually requires him to charge by the hour. The trouble with that is, you don't know how much it's going to cost you when you hire your lawyer. It's another thing that's scary.

With very few exceptions, this office does not charge by the hour. I will tell you what the fee is at the beginning. In some situations, the amount of the fee could depend on what happens. For example, it could be so many dollars if there is no trial, and so many dollars more if there is a trial. But I will tell you this at the beginning. You can decide what you want to do. You are in control.

I do charge for a first meeting. Lots of lawyers don't. Typically, they give you a half hour, free. It costs me money to meet with you--car expense sometimes and time always. So I charge--$25 if we meet in Brown County and $50 if we meet outside Brown County. But I don't limit your time. The interview will last as long as it takes for me to understand your case and for you to get an understanding of how I can help you.

If you engage me to work on your case, the consulting fee applies toward the fee for the case. If you want to engage me, but I turn down the case, you get your consulting fee back. Most of the time, you will find that you learned enough from our interview to make it worth the money, even if you finally get a different lawyer or no lawyer at all.

The consulting fee is due when we meet. Other fees are due at the start of the case, though sometimes I may be able to work out an extended payment schedule with you. But one way I keep my fees affordable is by avoiding a lot of uncollected and uncollectible ones. Please expect to pay at least a sizeable part of the fee up front, and please be honest with me about what you can do and what you can't do.