Fees and Costs of Representation

Legal Fees are the payment for the lawyer’s work on the case. Many legal services can be provided on either an hourly rate or on a flat fee basis. During your initial consultation via email or telephone, we can determine which type of fee structure is best suited and estimate your total legal costs.

Below are a sample of the fees charged by the Law Office of Elena Vlady.

Initial Consultation

If you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please contact us to schedule your personal consultation in our office, via phone, or Skype. This consultation will include preliminary evaluation of your documents if you decide to submit them prior to the consultation through the e-mail. The cost of the initial consultation is $200 per hour. Some consultations may take 2-3 hours or more. The full amount of your consultation cost will be fully credited toward your attorney fee if you choose to retain us to handle your case within 30 days of the consultation.

Hourly Rate

An hourly rate is based on the time spent by the attorney in connection with the case. Typically, an hourly fee agreement will include a retainer, which is a sum of money paid in advance. The retainer secures the attorney’s services, and is applied to the hourly charges. If the retainer is used up, the client is then billed for any additional work on the case. Hourly fees are used in many types of cases, where it is not possible to know in advance how much work is involved.
The hourly rate charged may vary due to factors such as the complexity of work involved, the time pressures involved, and the courts involved (state or federal).


A retainer is a written agreement between a lawyer and client setting out the work for which you are hiring me at my hourly rate. This payment is made with the understanding that it will be used to pay accounts for legal services and disbursements as these expenses arise. You are expected to provide and replace the retainer when requested, as it is spent, so there is enough money in trust to cover both the work I have done, and the next step which needs to be done. Our retainer fees generally range from $2,500 to $15,000, but may increase for complex cases. The retainer is placed in our client trust account, from which we make payment for services rendered each month. We send you a detailed and itemized billing statement for all work performed on your behalf each month. If any portion of the retainer is unused when your case is closed with our firm, we will refund that amount to you. If your retainer is depleted and there is still work to be performed on your case, you are responsible for making payments to our firm.

Flat Fees

This is simply a fixed or flat fee for a particular service. This is often used for services such as incorporation or an LLC formation, preparation of a will, trust, or in some immigration cases.

Contingent Fee Agreements

If the fee is contingent, no attorney fees are charged until we recover money for you. The fee is usually based on a percentage. This type of agreement is used in consumer law cases, personal injury or workers’ compensation claims. In employment law cases, we may use a combination of a retainer and contingent fee agreement and will ask you to pay an initial retainer because these cases are usually complex, time sensitive and time consuming.

Legal Costs

Legal costs include the expenses the attorney must pay for in order to move forward with the defense of your case, such as court fees (i.e. costs of filing and costs of service), discovery, copies, video tapes, audio tapes, and parking. These expenses are not included in the legal fee, and the client is responsible for the payment of legal costs in addition to the legal fee. Legal costs are charged to the client “at cost”. In other words, the client pays for the actual cost of the item, and no more.

In order to accommodate clients in the most cost effective manner, legal costs are most commonly paid by the client directly to the third party (court, expert, etc). However, some situations may arise where the Attorney transfers funds from a IOLTA Trust Fund, when a retainer type agreement is utilized. In this scenario, the client gives the lawyer a set amount of money to pay for legal costs, as they are due. The legal cost retainer payment remains in a separate account from the legal fee, and is deducted from each time a legal cost is paid, much like a debit card. Any overage is returned to the client.

When appropriate, we will seek to have the other party reimburse you for your attorney fees.

No legal advice is provided to non-clients. In-person consultations are not scheduled until payment has been received. Unless otherwise noted, payment for legal services is due in advance of commencement of work.

All fees quoted on the website or elsewhere are subject to change without notice. We reserve the right to refuse new or continuing service to any potential client or client.