Contract for Legal Services

This Contract for Legal Services (“Contract”), entered into on the date of online form submission, by and between Streff Legal, PLLC (hereinafter referred to as “STREFF LEGAL”) and the signer of the electronic contract (hereinafter included as “Client”) for the purpose of pursuing a stated objective as noted below. This Contract is written in accordance with Rule 1.5 of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct (MRPC).  

 

The Parties agree as follows:

 

1.  Conditions.  This agreement will not take effect, and STREFF LEGAL will have no obligation to provide legal services, until Client returns a signed copy of this agreement and pays the initial deposit (advance retainer) called for under Section. 

 

2.  Scope of Representation.  This Contract is limited to STREFF LEGAL's professional services to provide legal services intended to assist in matters listed in this Section of the agreement (hereinafter referred to Scope of Representation).  The Attorney-Client relationship will automatically conclude upon the adjudication of matters in the Scope of Representation, unless terminated earlier pursuant to Section 5 of this Contract.

a.     Legal Fees.  Legal fees for services performed by STREFF LEGAL under the Scope of Representation will be AT MINIMUM THE INITIAL FEE LISTED BELOW, unless a refund or other terms are negotiated.  Minimum fees are based on experience with handling similar matters, the complexity of the case, and an estimation of the work required. In consideration for paying a minimum initial fee, STREFF LEGAL provides an hourly rate after the minimum initial fee. Client agrees the initial fee will be for a specific service and earned on receipt, without deposit into trust. The amount of any refund will be determined at the time representation ends, based on the circumstances of termination, and the amount of other work that has been accomplished, and other factors. Fees as received will be deposited in the business account of STREFF LEGAL, pursuant to the provisions of Rule 1.5 of the MRPC. (Refunds are subject to processing fees.) All fees due for filing are due and earned after drafts are sent to Client and before filing.

 

  Fees will be billed out to the Billable Party per the following schedule:

 

1a.     Initial minimum fee.  This fee is comprised of the first payment under a payment plan, or a amount specified as the initial minimum fee. This fee ensures the availability of STREFF LEGAL, and provides for initial review of documents, facts, and an initial legal opinion and process description. This fee will be considered earned and due upon signing this contract, stipulating an assessment of legal work required, and providing an initial legal opinion and process description, which, including review leading to that opinion and description, are presumed sufficient consideration for this fee, subject to section 3.a. This fee will cover the initial hours and is considered a part of the Advanced Retainer. Client agrees that the initial minimum fee is earned upon receipt and will be deposited in the business account of STREFF LEGAL in consideration for a reduced rate after legal services exceed the amount of the Advanced Retainer.

1b.     HOURLY RATES are as follows:

 

a.     $220 per hour for services provided by a STREFF LEGAL attorney;

b.   No more than $180 per hour for services provided by a STREFF LEGAL attorney after legal fees exceed the amount of the Advanced Retainer.

c.    $120 per hour for services provided by a STREFF LEGAL supervised non-attorney professional, paralegal, or law clerk;

d.   No more than $90 per hour for services provided by a STREFF LEGAL supervised non-attorney professional, paralegal, or law clerk after legal fees exceed the amount of the Advanced Retainer.

 

2.     SPECIFIC SCOPE: Streff Legal will provide a specific scope of representation in writing via e-mail. Client agrees that representation will be limited to this SPECIFIC SCOPE. Client agrees to check e-mail and make any exception to SPECIFIC SCOPE within 24 hours or receipt. This contract is voidable by Streff Legal until (a) the SPECIFIC SCOPE has been sent via e-mail or (b) Streff Legal formally enters representation with a court or administrative body. In the latter case of 2.a.2.b, the SPECIFIC SCOPE is limited to the first matter for which Streff Legal enters formal representation. If so voided, refunds may be issued per section 2.a.1a.

a.   Each court file number is considered a separate contract, and each signed contract shall be for the first representation entered with a court or administrative body, unless otherwise specified by an e-mail detailing the SPECIFIC SCOPE. This applies for all cases, but is particularly important for implied consent, forfeiture, and DWI, as well as any immigration filings that could lead to proceedings in immigration court. Each case is separate and requires a separate contract.

3.     STREFF LEGAL will provide those legal services required to accomplish the objectives in this Section. STREFF LEGAL will take reasonable steps to keep Client informed of progress and to respond to Client’s inquiries. If a court action is filed, STREFF LEGAL will only represent Client within the stated parameters and objectives of this section.

 

b.     Contingent Legal Fees.  If additional services are required from STREFF LEGAL pursuant to a evidentiary request, denial, remand, appeal, post-judgment proceedings or filings, or other action not specifically described in the Scope of Representation, or if the Clients request additional legal services beyond the Scope of Representation, such services shall be memorialized in writing and billed to account for STREFF LEGAL’s expenditure of time at one tenth of an hour at $220 per hour, with a minimum daily time aggregate rounded up to no less than three tenths of an hour, to be waived exclusively at the discretion of STREFF LEGAL.

 

c1.     Administrative Costs.  Billable Party understands that legal fees do not include costs which are charged separately. 

 

c2.     Itemized Costs.  Billable Party agrees to pay the following costs which will be invoiced on an itemized basis:

1.    Court/Government Filing Fees.  All filing fees paid to the court or government for filing applications, petitions, or motions.

2.  Other Expenses. These costs might include, but are not limited to: e-mails, filing fees, postage, courier costs such as Fed Ex and UPS, laser copies, photocopies, long-distance telephone calls and faxes, trust account maintenance fees, computer research time through Westlaw, LEXIS, AILALink or other sources, special supplies required for successful representation, out-of-town travel expenses if needed (plane fare, hotel, food)(mileage calculated at current IRS rate), experts and investigators. STREFF LEGAL may charge a flat $25 rate for each physical filing or service, including regular printing, office supplies, and FedEx charges, and $40 for a rush filing, including filings requiring courier service or rush FedEx charges. Flat fees are limited to a single submission, and additional printing, office supply, or delivery charges may apply for other costs. STREFF LEGAL will not hire experts or investigators unless you agree that they should be hired after notification of their cost.  Billing of costs shall be in line with ABA Formal Ethics Opinions 08-451, 00-420 and 93-379,

3.   Included in Other Expenses are a $10 per month fee for Payment Plan Administration (including administration of trust transfers) and a $7.50 per month regular costs fee for "regular costs" including domestic FedEx, file setup. printing, and travel and parking within Hennepin and/or Ramsey Counties as needed. Regular costs do not include items individually over $20. Regular costs do not include expedited FedEx (2-day or faster), color printing, travel and parking outside Hennepin and Ramsey Counties, investigators, experts, or other larger costs. The per-month fee applies for the duration of the legal services fee payment plan.

4.    Any court filing fees, costs of discovery, translator costs, or other such costs shall not be paid out of amounts entered into trust under a payment plan through this agreement. All such costs shall be billed separately and due and payable upon receipt by Client. Streff Legal has exclusive discretion to pay for costs using monthly or up-front payment amounts, and such payment does not constitute waiver of the ability to charge legal fees at at a higher rate under Section 2.a.1b. Rather the higher rate for attorneys fees may be billed until the full amount for the Advanced Retainer, regardless if costs have been advanced out of the Advanced Retainer.

d.     Manner of Billing.   STREFF LEGAL will send out Invoices (e.g., invoices, billing notices, and/or written statements) at each billable stage or on a periodic basis that will outline with reasonable and clear specificity the bases upon which fees, administrative costs, or itemized costs are being charged. Such written Billing Notices will be sent electronically unless another method of transmission is requested. Clients have the responsibility to apprise STREFF LEGAL if notices cannot be received by e-mail or mail and must keep STREFF LEGAL updated of any changes in e-mail or mail address. Failure to do so constitutes consent to legal fees presented in the Billing Notice.

 

e.     Invoices Due and Payable Upon Receipt; (Delinquent Account) Billable Party understands that invoices are due and payable upon receipt.  Invoices not paid within 60 days will be assessed FINANCE CHARGES of 0.6% PER MONTH (ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE 7.2%) on or after the 1st day of the month after 60 days has passed and on or after each subsequent 1st day of the month.  In the event that payment is not made in a timely manner and collection efforts are required, Billable Party agrees to reimburse STREFF LEGAL for court costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in the collection of any unpaid balance due and owing to STREFF LEGAL that are reasonably incurred, whether STREFF LEGAL uses outside counsel or not. Payments on delinquent accounts shall be credited towards the payment of any and all accrued interest before applying payment to principal amounts for costs or legal services.

 

f.      Payment Plan: All payment plans either specified as a payment plan or involving monthly payments as specified in this contract, or as later agreed including regular payments for amounts due under this contract, are subject to this provision. Failure to make payments on time will result in voiding of the payment plan and all earned fees will be immediately due. Client understands that representation will not commence until Client provides credit card or other information required under a payment plan as specified by STREFF LEGAL, and that STREFF LEGAL may stop work or withdraw representation if payments are not tendered as agreed.

 

3. Deposit (Advance Retainer). Client agrees to provide to STREFF LEGAL an initial deposit (advance retainer) of the full amount for legal fees as charged in the agreement and including the initial minimum fee and all monthly payments. The advance retainer, as well as any future deposits, will be held in a trust account, with the exception of the initial minimum fee, which is deposited directly into STREFF LEGAL's operating account. Client authorizes STREFF LEGAL to use the funds in trust to pay fees by STREFF LEGAL and other charges and expenses as they are incurred. Billing statements detailing charges credited against the deposit (Advance Retainer) will be sent periodically to Client. Withdrawal from the trust account will be made on transmission of a written accounting, but return of funds to trust will be effective for disputed amounts provided notice is given to STREFF LEGAL within 30 days of transfer; otherwise, fees are considered earned though subject to refund less terms of Section 2.

 

  1. After STREFF LEGAL pays the invoice from the funds held in trust, Client agrees to pay to STREFF LEGAL sufficient funds to replenish the client's trust balance to the full amount of the advance retainer. This includes additional payments that may be due during the payment plan. If the matter is set for trial or arbitration, Client agrees to fully replenish the retainer 28 days before the first-scheduled trial or arbitration date, as well as to provide additional retainer amounts for quoted jury fees and court costs or arbitration fees, expert witness fees, and other costs likely to be assessed. Failure to fully replenish the retainer and provide for costs at the 28-day point prior to the first-scheduled trial date shall be grounds for STREFF LEGAL to withdraw representation.

At the end of representation, and by written request of the Client, any unused trust funds will be returned to Client. STREFF LEGAL reserves the right to not begin work or withdraw from representing Client if Client does not timely pay the retainers described above.

 

4. Timing of Case; Disclaimer of Promise or Guarantee.  No promise or guarantee is being provided regarding how long the case will take or whether its outcome will be successful.  STREFF LEGAL’s comments about the outcome of case matter are expressions of opinion only.  Estimates of government processing times provided by STREFF LEGAL are not binding on STREFF LEGAL and are subject to change at any time. 

 

5.  Client Cooperation; Attorney Discharge or Withdrawal.  Billable Party understands that concealment, false representation, or delivery of false documents by Clients will constitute grounds to terminate the Attorney-Client relationship.  STREFF LEGAL shall withdraw or be disqualified from representing Clients upon any actual or potential conflict of interest that is material to the representation, unless the affected party gives informed consent if the conflict is waivable.  STREFF LEGAL reserves the right to withdraw from the case if payments are not made as agreed upon and Clients agree that STREFF LEGAL may withdraw for nonpayment.  Clients and STREFF LEGAL agree that it may be possible to terminate this Contract but only upon written notice to each other. 

 

6.  Document Retention.  Clients agree that upon the termination of this Contract, STREFF LEGAL will store the file at no charge at an off-site location for seven (7) years, at which time the file will be destroyed unless Clients request a copy in writing no less than 60 days earlier.

 

7.  Governing Law.  This Contract shall be construed and enforced under the laws of the State of Minnesota.

 

8.  Enforceability of Contract.  Billable Party understands that this is a legally enforceable contract that may be reviewed by independent legal counsel of choice prior to signing. Billable Party and Attorney have fully read this contract and accept it in its entirety.

 

9. Whole Agreement. This agreement represents the whole agreement and supersedes any and all previous agreement without incorporation of previously agreed-upon terms.

 

10. Right to Independent Review AND Time for Review. Client has the right to seek independent legal counsel to review this contract, as well as the right to take additional time to review this contract.

 

Deposit of Fees in STREFF LEGAL’s Business Account.  Billable Party understands that fees paid under this contract will be deposited in the business account of STREFF LEGAL upon receipt in a manner consistent with Rule 1.5 of the MRPC to provide for the availability of STREFF LEGAL and represent fixed fees for specific tasks that constitute the Scope of Representation.

 

NOTE: Invoices for legal services may be sent via any of the contacts methods provided here. Signatories of this contract are responsible for ensuring timely payment on all invoices. Clients of STREFF LEGAL are responsible for updating STREFF LEGAL on any change of address or contract information contained on this contract.

 

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE

SIGNER, by submitting this contract electronically with payment, agrees that SIGNER is responsible for payment of all fees and costs listed on this contract, and by electronic signature acknowledges, as consideration, that SIGNER has a mutual benefit or vested interest that will accrue by execution of this contract, including, but not limited to, SIGNER's vested interest or mutual benefits in the benefits inured by Foreign National. By signing electronically, SIGNER has executed the Mutual Consent and Conflict of Interest Disclosure Agreement, and that SIGNER has notified Foreign National, Client, and any other party involved in this agreement of the terms of the Mutual Consent and Conflict of Interest Disclosure Agreement, and, by proceeding, has obtained the consent and agreement of Foreign National, Client, and any other party involved to the terms of this contract.

 

MUTUAL CONSENT AGREEMENT AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE

(Applies in cases with multiple clients - or where signer and benefited party are different.)

This Mutual Consent Agreement and Conflict of Interest Disclosure is written in connection with our representation on behalf of Client, signer, benefited party, family member(s), and employer(s) who may also be a client.

 

Under the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern us as lawyers, we may not represent a client if our representation is materially limited to our responsibility to another client.  This would be a “conflict of interest.”  There is an exception to this prohibition in cases where we reasonably believe the representation will not be adversely affected and each client consents after consultation.  Note that both Client, family member(s), and/or employer(s) are our “client” regardless of the payor of our legal fees.

 

We will not undertake representation of either party that is directly adverse to issues for which we have been engaged.  Under the circumstances, we believe that we are able to represent both Client, family member(s), and/or employer(s) as this representation is not directly adverse.  We believe that such mutual representation is ethical if agreed to by both parties.  In addition, we believe that it is our obligation to provide both Client, family member(s), and/or employer(s) with information on the basic law that affects this case and the parties’ future relationship and we do not believe that this obligation conflicts with our mutual representation. 

 

Any number of future conflicts may arise in the relationship between the parties.  If future conflicts of representation arise, we agree to notify parties of this conflict with the understanding that we may need to terminate our representation as to the specific matter in which the conflict has presented itself.  In such situations, we will withdraw as promptly as practicable and assist with the timely location of alternate counsel.  Both parties agree that we are free to represent either Client, family member(s), and/or employer(s) after withdrawal on other unrelated matters, unless such matters are in actual conflict with the parties’ interests.

 

In addition, the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct require that we respect the confidentiality of all client communications unless we have received the informed consent to disclose them.  We will act in a manner reflecting sensitive professional and moral judgment guided by basic principles of respect for and commitment to the welfare of the parties.  By signing the preceding agreement, Client, family member(s), and/or employer(s) agree that in a mutual representation such as this one, we may need to obtain certain relevant information that will NOT be kept confidential from the other party, including background history and biographic data of Client and any dependents or relations.  Notwithstanding this Mutual Consent Agreement, however, the parties agree that our legal representation does NOT include disclosure to another party information that is not material to the mutually-held objective, provided a request for confidentially is provided in writing. 

 

Client, family member(s), and/or employer(s) agree that the attorney-client privilege does NOT apply in civil litigation between two persons who were formerly the joint clients of the attorney.  Therefore, such communications may be admissible in court in a civil action between the parties should a situation arise where the attorney of record is called as a witness.

 

By signing the preceding agreement, Client fully comprehends this agreement and confirms that the Client has had adequate time to obtain advice from another attorney and after careful consideration has voluntarily and freely consented to mutual representation in this matter by STREFF LEGAL. The Client also confirms that he or she has communicated this agreement to relevant parties involved and all parties involved have had adequate time to obtain advice from another attorney and after careful consideration have voluntarily and freely consented to mutual representation in this matter by STREFF LEGAL.