Contract for Immigration Legal Services for Application to U.S. Citizenship through Naturalization
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 on behalf of Foreign National (hereinafter referred to as “Foreign National”) for the purpose of pursuing a stated immigration 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. Clients to Legal Representation. Foreign National, employer(s)/employee(s), and family members (as applicable) may be our Clients, provided such party has a legitimate aligned interest in the outcome of the case (hereinafter “Client”) Clients are represented regardless of the designated Billable Party. By signing this contact, Foreign National has executed the Mutual Consent and Conflict of Interest Disclosure Agreement, attached hereto and incorporated herein by this reference. The Attorney-Client relationship between STREFF LEGAL and Clients will be effective upon execution of this Contract and payment of initial fee.
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 Section 3(a) (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. Any other representation shall require a separate agreement between the parties and STREFF LEGAL.
3. Fees and Costs. In consideration of the professional services to be rendered by STREFF LEGAL as outlined in the Scope of Representation, Billable Party agrees to pay legal fees as out lined below. Legal fees paid on a non-hourly basis, or flat fee schedule, are due according to the Schedule in Section 3(a).
a. Legal Fees. Legal fees for services performed by STREFF LEGAL under the Scope of Representation will be LIMITED TO THE AGGREGATE OF THE FEES LISTED BELOW, unless a refund or other terms are negotiated. Flat fees are based on experience with handling similar matters, the complexity of the case, and an estimation of the work required. Because fees are quoted online, they may change within the first three days based on complexity or other factors. Streff Legal will inform Client in writing via e-mail of any such changes. The amount of fees under the Scope of Representation will be the same regardless of outcome. Client agrees the 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 on a monthly basis per the payment plan. Monthly amounts contemplate a rebuttable presumption that all fees are earned at the time of payment due to time spent by Streff Legal in pursuing longer cases.
Fees will be billed out to the Billable Party per the following schedule:
1. $450 initial 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.
2. $60 per month for seven months for the naturalization filing, including filing the following U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) applications (only one per contract):
ii. Attendance at naturalization interview **See 3.c below for possible travel/hotel costs
3. $450 additional for a request for evidence (RFE)(if applicable, waived on discretion of Streff Legal, typically for simple RFEs)
4. Additional fees will be required for services outside the scope of this contract, such as waivers, appeals, I-290B, etc. (see 3.b)
5. This contract is voidable by Streff Legal until Streff Legal sends written confirmation via e-mail that the contract has been accepted, or until Streff Legal files a G-28 with the U.S. citizenship and immigration services, whichever is earlier.If so voided, a refund may be issued per section 3.a.
b. Contingent Legal Fees. If additional services are required from STREFF LEGAL pursuant to a Request for Evidence (RFE), Denial, Remand, 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 either an agreed-upon flat fee or at one tenth of an hour at the prevailing hourly rate for each service provider at Streff Legal, 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. Client agrees to an hourly charge for an RFE unless a flat fee is agreed upon by both parties or unless an RFE fee is specifically stated in this contract.
c. Itemized Costs. Billable Party understands that legal fees do not include costs which are charged separately. Billable Party agrees to pay the following costs which will be invoiced on an itemized basis:
· Government Filing Fees. All filing fees paid to the government for filing applications, petitions, or motions.
- **Travel and hotel fees apply for attorney presence at any interview outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area. Attorney presence is waived for interviews if Client decides not to pay hotel and travel costs in advance of booking. STREFF LEGAL will provide interview coaching, however.
· 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,
Included in Other Expenses are a $2.50 per month fee for Payment Plan Administration and a $5 per month regular costs fee for regular business charges including domestic FedEx, file setup. printing, and travel to USCIS Bloomington as needed. This regular costs fee does not include expedited FedEx (2-day or faster), color printing, or other costs outside the regular costs on standard naturalization cases. The per-month fee applies for the duration of the legal services fee payment plan.
d. Manner of Billing. STREFF LEGAL will send out Billing Notices (e.g., invoices and/or written statements) at each billable stage 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.
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.
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.
MUTUAL CONSENT AGREEMENT AND CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURE
This Mutual Consent Agreement and Conflict of Interest Disclosure is written in connection with our representation on behalf of Foreign National, family member(s), and employer(s)/employees(s) who may also be a client (hereinafter “Legal Parties”).
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 all Legal Parties are our “client” regardless of the payor of our legal fees.
We will not undertake representation of the Legal Parties that is directly adverse to issues for which we have been engaged. Under the circumstances, we believe that we are able to represent all Legal Parties as this representation is not directly adverse. We believe that such mutual representation is ethical if agreed to by all Legal Parties. In addition, we believe that it is our obligation to provide all Legal Parties with information on the basic immigration 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 Legal Parties. If future conflicts of representation arise, we agree to notify the Legal Parties of this conflict with the understanding that we may need to terminate our representation as to the specific immigration 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. Legal Parties agree that we are free to represent any of the Legal Parties after withdrawal on other unrelated immigration matters, unless such matters are in actual conflict with the Legal 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 Legal Parties. By signing the preceding agreement, Legal Parties 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 others included in the Legal Parties, including background history and biographic data of Foreign National and any dependents or relations. Notwithstanding this Mutual Consent Agreement, however, the Legal Parties agree that our legal representation does NOT include disclosure to another of the Legal Parties information that is not material to the mutually-held immigration objective, provided a request for confidentially is provided in writing.
Legal Parties 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 Legal Parties should a situation arise where the attorney of record is called as a witness.
By signing the preceding agreement, the Legal Parties fully comprehend this agreement and confirm that the signatory(ies) has(have) had adequate time to obtain advice from another attorney and after careful consideration has(have) voluntarily and freely consented to mutual representation in this matter by STREFF LEGAL. The signatory(ies) also confirm(s) that this agreement has been communicated to relevant parties involved (including all Legal Parties) 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. The signatory(ies) understand(s) that STREFF LEGAL should be consulted if there is any question as to who may be included in the Legal Parties.
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.