Rates, Fees and Costs

Jeff Rifleman, JD

Fees, Rates and Costs

Potential clients are consumer aware when it comes to legal and mediation services.  As a part of my legal services, a retainer agreement (contract) sets out the terms of the client / attorney relationship. Among other things, the agreement sets forth the attorney's hourly rate, retainer amount, fees and costs, the duties of each party to the agreement, and any additional agreed upon provisions.  Once signed by the attorney and the client, the agreement becomes an enforceable contract.


*Below is a sample list of my billing rates and fees a client may expect:

Mediation Services:

$300.00 per hour most cases or as agreed upon. (minimum 2 hour scheduling requirement).

$25.00 per hour for travel over 100 miles.

Legal Services:

$450.00 per hour most matters or as agreed upon.

Most hourly services are billable in .2 hour (12 minute) increments.  (eg. drafting documents, scanning, phone calls, emails, case review, research, preparation, etc.)

1.0 hour minimum billable for client conferences, interviews, case review with client.

2.5 hours minimum billable for all court appearances and offsite meetings such as mediation and administrative appearances, etc. 

Among other fees described in the retainer agreement that clients should expect to be billed for are travel, parking, court filing fees, processing fees, copying, mailing, etc.

Limited Representation

All rates are negotiable based on complexity involved for each matter.

(rates and fees subject to change per retainer agreement.)

-Retainers: Most matters require a retainer and signed agreement.  Retainers are based on the complexity and merits of each matter.  After the retainer is expended in the matter then the client may either add another retainer amount, or proceed at the attorney's agreed upon hourly rate, or as otherwise provided for or agreed upon.  Additionally it is not unusual to provide for an additional retainer amount should the matter proceed to trial.  This is to cover the estimated costs of preparation in anticipation of trial and the trial itself.

Below is a generalization of retainer amounts required for types of matters - call to review your case for a better estimate of a retainer amount for your particular matter.


$4,000.00 Uncontested divorce (drafting of all necessary documents with both parties in agreement)

$6,000.00 Simple divorce / modification with no children

$8,500.00 Simple divorce / modification with children

$10,000.00 + Complex Divorce


$4,000.00 Simple Paternity

Wills and Trusts

Starting at $500.00 basic Will

Starting at $1,000.00 basic Will plus Trust

Formal Estate Planning starting at $2,500

Other Civil Matters

Starting at $4,500.00 depending on complexity of the matter.

Criminal Matters

Starting at $2,000.00 for simple misdemeanors

Starting at $5,000.00 for simple state felonies

Limited Representation

$450.00 per hour (or as agreed upon)

$1,200.00 appearance on Protective Order Hearing

*Rates and fees subject to change as per retainer agreement or engagement agreement.