Once you have started running your own office, you also need to understand what you can bill your clients for. As was stated on another page, administrative staff cannot be billed for and they need to be included in the overhead cost of running the office. But there are other items that you will be billing for as well as other things to take into consideration.
Partner fees: as partners are the most expensive lawyers in a practice these will be at ones that you will be bringing in the most money for the office. As they have the Highest level of experience they are definitely the most expensive, and while they take a generous cut of the overall fee, they still will bring in the most money to and Office
Telephone calls: well this is not the case with other kinds of offices such as doctors, lawyers can bill for phone calls. If they are only speaking with the lawyer secretary, that will not be a billable hour, however if they are speaking to a paralegal or the lawyer directly that is a billable service.
Travel time and costs: if someone asks to meet you somewhere specific or even at a restaurant, they can bill you for the time it took for them to leave your office and get to where you are as well as any kind of travel costs which will include gas.
Opposing counsel fees: working with the opposing counsel including just talking to them is a billable service.
The investigators: if an investigation is required and a case the client may be billed for the costs of utilizing the investigator.
Time: while this one should be the most given, but the time you spend working on a case is billable by the hour to the client. Even if something is not taking a four hour a client may be billed for that entire hour because the time we have been set aside for that specific function.
Filing fees: as the filing fees vary substantially from one state to another, if you are filing a lawsuit on your clients’ behalf, that cost is their responsibility and not yours.
Process server fees: as a process server has to be used in order to serve the person in question with the lawsuit, or any kind of subpoenas for David to positions etc. all of those fees are billable to the client.
Expert witness fees: expert witnesses are pretty costly, take for example doctors or psychiatrists can range anywhere from $500 and up per hour this pending on what there specialty is and how far they have to travel to get to you. They will charge for any kind of reports that they need to write as well as appearances in the time it takes to talk to you. All of the services will be billable directly to the client.
Mediation: if the defendant has agreed to pay mediation costs as part of the settlement this is not going to be billable to your client, however in the event that that is not the case the mediation costs between the client and the defendant are your clients responsibility as well and should be billed to them directly.
Any expenses that have been accrued: including obtaining medical records, photocopies, court filing fees, process server fees, deposition transcripts, and trial exhibits.
A quick list of things you cannot charge for: food and meals (your clients are not responsible for feeding you), outsourced legal research, online legal research, and faxes. Also keep in mind your client when you bill them. While some services the costs honestly need to be recouped, it is not always necessary and in some cases can be cruel to the client. Do not hurt your client, remember they need you and you are working for them, not the other way around.