Attorney and Counsellor At Law
Legal Fees and Expenses
As no two cases are alike, neither are the fees and expenses for representation. Fees are determined based upon the anticipated needs of a particular individual given the specifics of a case. We try to limit fees to specific discrete parts of a case, such as fees from arraignment to motions, hearings and trial, in order to make sure that our clients only pay for the services they require. Even though we treat every case as significant, we recognize that some matters simply do not justify the same level of fee as others, and will adjust the fee accordingly.
In addition, expenses for things like investigators, forensic experts, trial exhibits, are determined on an as-needed basis. We discuss the particular needs with the client before incurring expenses and the client will then make a knowledgeable decision. These expenses are in addition to legal fees.
The initial retainer is due and payable immediately. While we are often asked whether a client can pay the retainer over time, experience shows that this has a huge potential to create problems in the attorney-client relationship, when the client, for whatever reason, finds himself unable to fulfill a committment. As there is nothing worse for acheiving a successful outcome than the client and Scott not working as a team with the single-minded goal of success, we do everything possible to avoid this problem. It is in the clients' best interests to eliminate legal fees and expenses from standing in the way of a successful defense.
Many lawyers in the field of criminal defense enjoy the publicity that comes with a high profile criminal case. Some even court it, calling press conferences to draw media attention to the case. This is often a good thing for the lawyer, but not in the best interest of the client. For the most part, a criminal prosecution is not the sort of thing for which most people seek recognition.
While publicity is sometimes unavoidable, Scott respects the privacy of his clients first and will do whatever he can to avoid or minimize negative publicity. He has proven extremely successful in minimizing media attention for some of his most famous, and most notorious, clients by using his extensive media contacts to downplay sensationalistic stories and limit the irreparable harm done to the client's reputation. Even when publicity can't be avoided entirely, Scott's skill at working with the media has enabled him to turn the tide of unfavorable media back and limit the damage.
Many lawyers include information about the criminal justice system in an effort to educate defendants. Frankly, such efforts generally fall into the category of "a little knowledge is dangerous." There are very few circumstances where a client, or a client's family, will benefit from a superficial and generic bit of legal trivia, and there are many circumstances where such information will cause them significant problems. Our purpose is not to educate, as a real education takes many years of school and experience, but to serve the needs of the clients. While we are happy to discuss any aspect of a case, or life, with our clients, we do not subscribe to the notion that legal representation includes a cursory legal education.
Having just talked about not educating clients, there is one area where education is not only helpful, but critical. You have the right to remain silent. USE IT! You will not talk a federal agent or police officer out of arresting you by giving up the information he requests. You will, however, make it substantially more difficult to formulate a defense if you have made statements. What does it mean to make statements? It means saying anything beyond your name and address (called pedigree information). It means making statements that you think are going to get you off the hook (false exculpatory statements) or convince the officer that you are a "good guy."
So what should you say? Very simply, state in a loud, clear voice (and repeat to each new officer/agent you see), I WANT TO SPEAK WITH MY LAWYER. Note these specific words, for they are the magic words that put an immediate stop to further questioning. Once you have said these words, you have invoked your right to counsel and you are unable to subsequently waive this right without an attorney present. As you will later learn, these words are critical to your successful defense of criminal charges.