It is essential that when we enter into a professional relationship the client understands how we bill for our time and what a retainer is and how they work.
In a first consultation we make it a point to have a frank discussion about billing and encourage the client to ask questions, particularly if it is the first time that they are retaining a lawyer.
If we are being retained we go through a "retainer agreement" with the client which explains, in detail, amongst other things, our billing procedures.
Family law clients are not corporations - they are individuals. If they are going through a marital separation they are probably already under considerable financial duress. We work very hard and bring years of experience and education to the table to solve serious problems for our clients. We expect to be fairly reimbursed for the time we put into resolving a case. However, the client has every right to expect to have a full accounting of how much time the lawyer has spent on their case and the specific nature of tasks performed in order to resolve a matter.
At Jo-Anne Moore Law Office we use a legal accounting software called PCLaw. It allows us to enter the time we spend on any given task and also provides a detailed description of that task on the invoice the client receives. We make it a practice to bill clients regularly so that clients can keep track of how their retainer is being spent and budget accordingly.
A client should never feel too intimidated or nervous to ask a question about their bill or billing practices in general. Transparency is crucial in building trust with a client and is a priority for this office.