Most matters handled by my office are billed at hourly rates. After a consultation, Attorney LeBlanc will inform you of the required retainer payment. This retainer payment is basically a down payment towards your legal fees and expenses.
Some matters are handled on a fixed fee basis, such as QDROS and Step-Parent and Grandparent Adoptions. The fixed fees for QDROs are located on the QDRO page. We charge a fixed fee of $2,000.00 plus the filing fees due to the court for step-parent and grandparent adoptions for adoptions in Lake and Porter Counties. The client is responsible for the cost of the background check and any home study that is needed.
Attorney LeBlanc handles IV-E eligible adoptions at a reduced fee of $1,500.00 per child adopted. The adopting parent(s) are responsible for the filing fee(s) and adoption fee payable to the clerk. The adopting parent(s) can choose to pay the fixed fee for services up front or assign the payment from the IV-E program directly to LeBlanc Legal, LLC. The assignment of the payment for attorney fee expense allows the adoptive parents to move forward with the adoption without having to prepay the attorney’s fees.
- Attorney LeBlanc’s hourly rate is $275.00
- Paralegal Stephanie M. Hazi’s hourly rate is $175.00
Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Bill Down
Bring Me Copies
Most law firms charge around $0.20 to $0.30 per copy. This is to cover the paper, toner, and our staff’s time in making the copies. Go to the local copy shop, the library, or even your own home office and make copies of all the documents your attorney needs before you meet with him/her. Sometimes I get a stack of paperwork from a client when starting a case and I not only have to review it and organize it, I have to copy it. It is common to see monthly copy charges of $10 to $50. We currently charge $0.25 per copy.
Talk to the Staff
Paralegals do charge for their time, but usually, their rate is lower than your attorney’s. This is a huge savings. Staff can take your 30-minute conversation and break it down to the attorney in about 5 minutes, and when they do, they give us the file and the documents we need to handle the situation. Just because they are not the attorney, doesn’t mean they don’t know what is going on. They must also hold your information confidential, just as your attorney.
Leave a Detailed Message
If you do not reach me, please tell me why you are calling. If your message tells me the question you are seeking to answer, I can try to get that information before I call you back. This means you’re only getting charged for that one call between us on the issue, instead of two.
Be Respectful of Our Time – Don’t Call Every Day – Don’t Email Every Hour
While your case is the most important thing in the world to you, we have 50-100 other clients with that same feeling. Take the time to think of your questions. Is it something that needs an immediate answer, or can it wait until your meeting next week? If it is important, please call us right away. Some clients call every morning to tell me what a jerk their exes are. I know he/she is a jerk, that’s why you hired me in the first place. I’m not your friend, I’m your attorney, and a counselor or drinks with friends is a lot cheaper than a phone call to me every day. I charge $275 per hour. That means as soon as I pick up the phone that is $27.50 minimum. Also, email is not a weapon, please do not bombard me with them. If you send so many emails, that by the time I draft a response to your first one, I’ve received 3 more, you need to wait on sending the first one. When I get back from the weekend and have 10 emails from the same client, I have to open and respond to 10 emails.
Get a Counselor
Whether your divorce, paternity, change of custody case is complicated or straight forward, you and your children are going through some major changes. They may be positive changes, but nonetheless they are changes. Call your health insurance and see what your mental health coverage is. Even if you are not covered, counselors generally charge less per hour than attorneys. If you are accepting of the change your legal issues tend to go smoother as well.