How much will it cost?
Hourly rates: The rates charged for BLC attorneys range from $350 to $550/hour and $125 to $225/hour for paralegals. These rates apply to both legal services and dispute resolution services. Each of our lawyers and paralegals has his/her own billing rate. Our current rates are as follows:
David Hoffman - $500/hour for family mediation and arbitration and representing clients in family law matters; $550/hour for mediation and arbitration of non-family cases
Rachel Goldman - $400/hour
Vicki Shemin - $375/hour
Israela Brill-Cass - $350/hour
Lenore Pellani - $225/hour
Karen Richards - $200/hour
Annie O'Connell - $125/hour
Interns - $125/hour
Affiliates: Our affiliates set their own rates, and you can contact them directly to discuss the cost of their services.
Reasonable costs: We are all committed to having satisfied clients who feel that the cost of our services is fair and reasonable. If you need a financial accommodation to obtain our services, we are willing to talk with you about it. BLC provides pro bono and reduced-fee services in appropriate cases.
Billing and retainers: When BLC attorneys are hired, we ordinarily ask for a retainer. This may range from $7,500 on a collaborative law case to $10,000-$15,000 (or in some cases more) if the case will be handled in court. If the case involves no court appearance and only a modest expenditure of time, we are willing to consider a smaller amount for a retainer or no retainer. We bill clients on a monthly basis for services performed, and deduct the amount billed from the retainer. Any unused portion of the retainer is returned to the client at the end of the case. Client retainers are kept, as required by court rule, in an IOLTA account. (IOLTA stands for "interest on lawyers' trust account.") Interest earned on these accounts is paid by the bank to the Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation, a non-profit agency that funds legal services for the poor.
Travel: Our office is located at 99 Summer Street in Boston, but we also meet with clients in Newton and Wellesley, where we have space-sharing arrangements with other firms (click here for Directions to those locations). We also are willing to meet with clients at their offices or other mutually agreeable locations. If such travel takes us outside our ordinary commuting path or occurs mid-day, we charge for travel time at 50% of our ordinary hourly rates. This also applies for travel time to and from court or other case-related travel.
Arbitration and Mediation Costs: There are two costs associated with all mediation and arbitration cases:
1. The neutral's fee, which ranges from $350 to $550 depending on the person that the parties select as their mediator or arbitrator; and
2. An administration fee, which is a flat fee of $200 per party for family cases and $250 per party for commercial cases. For arbitrations that go beyond two calendar days of hearing, there is an additional administration fee of $50/day per party.
What do you mean when you describe yourselves as a "collaborative"? In what ways are you different from a conventional law firm?
BLC is an "LLC" – that is, a limited liability company – engaged in the practice of law and providing dispute resolution services. We have space-sharing arrangements with our affiliate members. And we call ourselves a collaborative because one of the distinguishing features of BLC is working together – collaborating – in our client work and in our efforts to change the way law and related services are delivered.
With your emphasis on collaborative law, do you still have lawyers who litigate cases?
Yes, some of our lawyers represent clients in court if the case is not suitable for collaborative law or one of the disputants is not willing to use collaborative law or a non-court method of dispute resolution.
Does BLC practice law differently from other firms?
We believe we do. Our first instinct, in every case, is to look for collaborative, non-litigation solutions. Our goal is not simply to save our clients money (although that is a major goal); we are also trying to save our clients from the human toll that litigation takes – in time, aggravation, damaged relationships, uncertainty, and loss of privacy.
Why would a law firm adopt an approach (such as collaborative law) that results in lower revenues for the firm?
Our experience has shown us that saving money for our clients is not only the right thing to do – it is a sound business plan because it results in referrals and repeat business.
What brought you together?
All of the BLC lawyers are members of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council, and we all share a vision of making the practice of law a more humane profession. For us, this means taking client service very seriously, using a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to the practice of the law, and creating a workplace community – involving lawyers, administrative staff, and people from other professions – that fosters teamwork, mutual respect, and collegiality.
What do you charge for your services?
Please click here for information about our fees and billing policies.