Important Terms and Policies
For Your Legal Fee Proposal
The proposal is only valid for the person it is intended for. It is not transferable. The fee determination is based on the value to you (the client), the attorney’s expertise, and all other ethics rules about fees. Remember, although these fees may seem expensive and worrisome, there is a great value in the services you will receive from us. The quoted fees only encompass what is listed explicitly and are subject to additional fees for the following reasons:
FEES ARE NOT TIED TO RESULTS AND RESULTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED.
What circumstances could alter a fee agreement?
- Lack of disclosure or discovery of new information material to the case;
- Requests for additional evidence;
- Unforeseen complications, such as case delays, government errors, issues requiring additional investigation or liason, USCIS or mailing errors, etc.
What circumstances will not alter the fee agreement?
- Any error or unforeseen obstacle resulting from an oversight by the attorney, in which case fees may be prorated and refunded as reasonable.
Some attorneys fees may be due prior to presenting the case to USCIS or Court, and may not be eligible for payment plans. Additional costs such as filing fees, fees for background checks, etc. must be paid in advance via Credit/Debit Card or E-Check before filing the matter. Other expenses that may arise such as international mail, international phone calls, travel expenses, etc. must also be paid prior to submission.
The total balance of the matter must be paid in full prior to the conclusion of your matter (for example, a hearing, interview, or upon filing the case depending on case type).
Deposit terms are non-negotiable, outside of exceptional circumstances at the full discretion of the attorney.
A valid credit or debit card must be kept on file at all times. Should you change banks or your card expires, you must inform the Firm immediately so that payment information is kept up to date. Any returned checks or bank charges are an additional $35 per returned payment.
By agreeing to these payment terms, the Client is agreeing and accepting the fee in full and shall not initiate a fee dispute with their respective bank. Doing such would constitute credit card fraud and could be prosecuted under the law. The client will contact the Firm with any issues regarding payment.
Non-payment or failure to maintain accurate billing information may result in withdrawal from the representation of your case.
For Your Legal Matter Representation
You can schedule an appointment with us a few different ways:
If you are a new prospective client, please use the scheduler on our website or call (347) 669-2730.
If you are a current client, please use your client portal or the scheduler link provided to you. If you are unsure which link is appropriate, email firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.
If the appointment requires payment, it must be paid at the time of booking to be put on the schedule.
Clients must give Attorney 24 hours advanced notice if they wish to cancel an appointment with us. If Client fails to provide such 24-hour advanced notice, they will be charged the equivalent of one billable hour the missed appointment but may be charged more depending on the length of time reserved for the appointment.
The Firm’s business hours are Monday-Thursday|9:00a-5:00p|Friday 10:00a-4:00p. We are closed on weekends and holidays to be with our families. Client agrees to electronic delivery of their file, court documents, correspondence from Immigration Court, the Department of Homeland Security, Opposing Counsel, hearings and appearances, and all updates on their case via email and/or through our case management system.
We do not answer phone calls that are not scheduled as it severely disrupts our workday. We have someone designated to answer the phone 24/7 and pass messages along to us, but the best way to speak with us directly is to use the appropriate scheduler. The best way to reach the office is via email or through your client portal. Generally, the portal is during the day and emails are checked on a sporadic basis throughout the workday. This allows our office uninterrupted time to work on cases and to attend meetings or court hearings outside the office as necessary. Emails and portal messages will be reviewed and addressed within a reasonable timeframe based on the circumstances. Emails, messages, and voicemails received outside business hours or on holidays will be addressed during regular business hours.
Our firm bills in flat fees so you will always know how much it will cost upfront. Payment terms are discussed in each individual Agreement. Upon Attorney’s receipt of full or partial payment of legal fees, the funds from legal fees become the property of Attorney and are placed in our operations account (not in a trust account). The flat fee must be paid in full before the immigration application, brief, letter, memorandum, or petition is filed. In the event of a payment plan, we automatically charge the specified amount on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.
In the rare event a Client is being billed at an hourly rate, each month Client will receive a statement describing the legal services provided on this matter, and if any legal fees or costs that are due. Attorney will communicate any of the qualifying fees prior to performing any actions. Costs and fees must be paid before the filing of any applications, petitions, submissions, appearances at hearings, or the conclusion of the matter. Client may pay by check, e-check or ACH, credit or debit card via telephone call or through the Client Portal, provided by the Firm.
Credit Card on File:
A valid credit card must be kept on file at all times and Client is responsible for updating their card information within 10 days of the effective change. If a card is declined, we attempt to process it twice and then reach out to the Client. In the event that this is not corrected within 5 days, we may terminate our representation and withdraw from your matter. To keep it simple, please make sure your payment information is always up to date and honor your end of the agreement. We are working very hard for you and we ask you to respect that by honoring your agreement. Imagine if someone failed to pay you for your hard work.
When Refunds are Not Appropriate:
A flat fee for legal services is not refundable so long as it is “reasonable”, as that term is defined in Rule 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Examples of circumstances, which could render the fee unreasonable and thus trigger an obligation to refund some or all of the fee, include, but are not limited to: death of Client or Attorney, Attorney’s loss of license, or failure of Attorney to perform the services described in this Agreement. A fee is not unreasonable simply because the matter is resolved more quickly or easily than anticipated. A fee is also not unreasonable simply because the outcome was not one the client hoped for. A fee is not unreasonable because the outcome became unattainable based on the client’s own actions, the actions of the government, circumstances outside of the attorney’s control, or the client’s failure to maintain their contractual responsibilities throughout the period of representation.
By working with us and signing the Agreement, Clients acknowledge that credit card chargebacks and cancellation of checks are not authorized. Doing so is considered “theft of services” and can have a detrimental effect on their immigration matter as it is considered a “crime of moral turpitude.” This can lead to loss of status, placement in removal proceedings, or deportation. Please abide by the refund process laid out below.
When a Refund Might be Appropriate:
If Client terminates legal services with Attorney before all of the work is completed, Attorney will review the case to determine whether a refund is appropriate and if so, it will be done at a pro-rated basis thus deducting the cost of any work completed. The fact that Client has paid the fee in advance does not affect Client’s right to terminate the Attorney-Client relationship. In the event the Attorney-Client relationship is terminated before the agreed-upon legal services have been completed, Client may or may not have a right to a refund of all or a portion of the fee based on a pro-rated basis for all work completed billed at a rate of $250 per hour, plus the other costs described in the Agreement.
Any and all of the members of Onward Immigration, including personnel hired on a contract basis, as of-counsel, and any individual otherwise necessary to fulfill Attorney’s obligation to Client, may work on Client’s case.
Firm’s files are kept in digital form and Client’s entire file, with the exception of attorney work product materials and internal documents will be available for the Client on Dropbox’s secure server through the duration of the case and for at least 90 days after termination of the case and/or representation. The Client is responsible for downloading all materials when the case is complete, prior to the file archival date of 90 days. In the event the Client hires a new attorney, Client agrees for the Firm to deliver the file to the new attorney via Dropbox. The Client acknowledges that the correct use of Dropbox requires Microsoft Office Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader, or later compatible software.
In the event that the Firm is authorized or requested by the Client or on their behalf by an authorized party, or required by law as the Firm may determine, or by any legal process, to produce any of (a) the Firms files, (b) the Client’s files stored with the Firm, or (c) the Firm’s personnel as formal or informal witnesses or information sources with respect to our engagement or potential engagements by you, you agree to pay or reimburse the Firm for our professional time (at the applicable hourly rate for personnel who have hourly rates and on a reasonable basis otherwise) and ancillary services and expenses as well as the fees and expense of our counsel as incurred in preparing and implementing a response to such a request.
Client agrees to the use of technology as it is imperative to our representation and work on your case. The Firm uses various forms of technology to complete work on your matter, to enable communication between the Firm and Client, to collect and share documents, to meet with Client, etc. In order to be represented by the Firm, the Client must either create a secure email or provide the Firm with an existing email account. Since communications will be regarding legal representation and the Client’s immigration matter, it is Client’s responsibility to ensure that the email is private, secure and properly communicated to the Firm. Client agrees to maintain a secure, accessible email for communications throughout representation and immediately notify the Firm if the email changes or is no longer accessible. Client agrees to regularly check their email so as to not miss any communications or documents sent by the Firm. If Client does not maintain regular access to their email, this will be considered non-responsive and will severely impact the ability of the Firm to represent Client.
Since the Firm is a virtual operation, all meetings will be held virtually via Zoom or Google Meet. Most court appearances are also held on a video platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the event that Client has to appear for a hearing, Client must have access to a computer with camera and microphone enabled; Client must have access to a stable internet connection; Client agrees to arrange for these conditions at least 24 hours before the hearing, and to test to ensure everything is working properly.
Client’s case will be kept confidential and information will only be shared within the law firm to employees and/or contracted personnel. Information related to the case will be released to third parties only by express consent by client, whether orally or in writing. Client agrees that Onward Immigration may work with freelance attorneys on Client case(s) when they believe doing so will help provide effective representation. Lawyer agree to select these professionals carefully, screen them for conflicts of interest, and supervise their work as required by the New York & Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct.
Payment by a third party does not give him/her right to access any of the case information. No information will be provided to a third party without express client consent. A third party is not entitled to make any decisions on the case or case strategy, regardless of relationship to Client.
Client is the only person who has a right to make decisions in the legal matter. Attorney will advise Client based on her knowledge and experience; however the Client has the right to make the final decision on how the case is handled (i.e. accept an offer made by DHS or choose to [not] apply for certain type of relief). Attorney will not make any false representations on behalf of Client.
Since the outcome of immigration is subject to many factors and risks inherent to the process, it is understood that we have made no promises or guarantees to you concerning the outcome and cannot do so. The Firm cannot guarantee a successful outcome in this matter. The Firm will strive to provide Client with the best possible legal representation, but many factors will govern the outcome of this matter.