We encourage an initial consultation for the purposes of introductions and sharing of general information about each other. Typically, we offer a free thirty minute consultation in-person or by teleconference at your convenience. If the meeting evolves into a discussion of specific legal matters or a request for legal advice, we reserve the right to bill you at 50% of our standard billing rate. In such case, the meeting will not exceed one hour. Although you will not have signed an engagement agreement at the time of our meeting, all information discussed will be held in strictest confidence as a communication in anticipation of an attorney-client relationship.
How do I establish an attorney-client relationship with your firm?
We require the signing of our standard engagement agreement before we provide any legal counseling or services. Because this firm practices intellectual property law (including patent law), our engagement agreement tends to be lengthy. Many aspects of the agreement are required or advised under the ethics rules for state-licensed attorneys or the rules of practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. You should feel comfortable asking questions about any part of the engagement agreement you do not fully understand. Also, please know that certain terms, such as billing rates, may be negotiable.
May I terminate our attorney-client relationship at any time?
Our engagement agreement in no way limits your right to terminate legal representation, nor is the firm in any way limited from withdrawing its representation in accordance with the requirements of the Maryland Lawyers’ Rules of Professional Conduct and the United States Patent and Trademark Office rules, as appropriate, relating to termination of representation. Of course, we expect you to pay any amounts owed to the firm when our relationship is terminated.
How do you bill your clients?
Our fees are normally based on the time we actually spend working on matters for you. We believe that this is usually the most cost-effective way of billing for services because it will be determined by the amount of time it takes us to actually complete the work. Unless we agree otherwise in writing, we will charge our normal hourly rate for general business and corporate law matters and our normal hourly rate for intellectual property law-related matters. You will be billed to the nearest 1/10 of an hour (or six minutes), for all services performed and time expended, including time for meetings, research, telephone and e-mail conversations, and travel time. You will be billed for all expenses incurred on your behalf. As mentioned elsewhere on this website, the firm offers creative, customizable, and cost-effective service and payment plan options that may include fixed fee or tiered hourly rate schedules. We will work with you to accommodate your legal budget.
Do you require a retainer fee?
We typically (but certainly not always) require an initial retainer payment from new clients to cover the anticipated fees and expenses for the first month or two of services. In cases where we waive the initial retainer payment, we reserve the right to charge a retainer in the future. You should understand that the amount of the retainer is not an estimate by us of the legal fees and expenses that we anticipate may be incurred in connection with any particular matter. The retainer will be held by the firm, consistent with the legal requirements governing trust accounts, in a trust account that does not bear interest for the benefit of either you or the firm. Typically, when we bill you as services are rendered (or on an approximate monthly basis at our sole discretion), the retainer will be applied against amounts due for services rendered and expenses incurred as reflected on our statements, and the credit from the application of the retainer will be reflected on our bills. Unless we agree otherwise, in the event that, during the course of our representation of you, the balance of the retainer held in our escrow account is reduced to fifty percent (50%) or less of the original amount paid, we require that you replenish the retainer promptly with additional funds so the amount held on retainer in our escrow account will be equal to the original amount. If there is any balance in the retainer at the conclusion of our representation of you, it will be returned to you promptly.
Will you review, revise, or approve documents prepared by me, one of my advisors, or my prior lawyer?
Generally, no. We wish to develop very close, long-term relationships with our clients. In our experience it is neither good legal practice for us nor cost-effective for you when we are asked to review, revise, or approve documents that are obtained from the Internet, prepared by you, prepared by one of your advisors, or prepared by your former attorney. Of course, this does not pertain to documents you obtained from a third party in a business dealing and you need us to review the documents on your or your company's behalf.
How do you handle client confidentiality and conflicts of interest?
George W. Cox, PhD, JD
IP & Business Law Counseling, LLC
6902 Southridge Place
Middletown, MD 21769
IP & Business Law Counseling, LLC provides diverse legal services in the areas of Intellectual Property Law, Business Law, and Corporate Law. The firm assists entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes in technology and non-technology industries.
Disclaimer: This web site is designed to provide general information only. The information provided is presented for informational purposes and should not be construed to constitute legal advice nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship. IP & Business Law Counseling, LLC requires the execution of a written retainer agreement before any legal services are rendered. Click here for more information.