General Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ 1. Tell me something about your hourly billing?

We don't start work until you're satisfied you understand how we bill and unless and until you and we agree in writing to the hourly rate and size of the retainer payment required from you, as set forth in a written retainer agreement. Our retainer agreement even has a provision for a three-day reconsideration period, even after you sign, and points out clearly your First Amendment right to counsel of your choice. We don't know another firm that does that.

We establish the rate for our hourly fees by considering such factors as the legal training and experience we bring to the matter at hand, the skill and complexity required in the matter and the prevailing rates of other counsel providing similar professional services in the community.

We charge a minimum charge of .3 hours, unless we increase our rate by $25 per hour.

Once you enter an agreement with us, your rates may not increase by more than 5 percent per year, no matter how long you stay with us.

FAQ 2. What are your criteria to offer a contingency fee in cases?

Although attorneys are guided by additional ethical rules than most businesses, we are and have the right to be for-profit businesses.

We offer contingency fees where we can to assist our clients finance litigation.

Our principal criteria are two: (1) Is there a substantial likelihood of prevailing, on the facts as known, and (2) Is there a substantial likelihood that the named defendant has the assets to pay any judgment rendered? Subject to our ethical restrictions on representation, we offer hourly fees in all our hours.

FAQ 3. Do you offer credit terms on hourly fees?

We recognize the credit guidelines of the major charge card companies. We therefore accept the corporate and other cards of Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. All bills are to be paid when due.

FAQ 4. What are some of your flat fees on incorporation and other business formation and operation documents?

Call for a free, detailed brochure.

Our "Startup" Package is as follows:

$599: For up to three "owners: shareholders, members, partners, etc.

Any entity: corporation (close, professional, nonprofit, etc.), LLC, LLP or LLLP

Includes articles or certificate, plus (as necessary):

bylaws, shareholder's agreement, operating agreement or partnership agreement,

initial director's and shareholder's minutes,

initial non rush filing fee, for up to $100,000 capitalization, filing of documents,

and a date-stamped copy returned to client.


Rush fee (72 hr. articles) @ $200

Rush cost (72 hr. fax filing) @ $50 + $99*

Resident agent ($100/yr)

Corporate/LLC/LLP kit (blank stock certificates, seal, hard case) $79 + $99*2

Filing Cost @ $99 by regular mail minutes of meetings (hourly)

Organizational minutes with by-Laws @ $250 (for one to two shareholders)

Buy/sell agreements (hourly)

Reservation of name @ $13 + $99*

*The client may save the $99 staff time/processing charge by doing this.

Forms for this can be emailed or faxed.

*2 Daniel S. Willard, P.C., does not recommend any particular corporate kit over any other and provides no representation regarding the quality of sample minutes and by-laws found in such kits. Most printers can provide a generic entity kit. Daniel S. Willard, P.C., specifically recommends that minutes and by-laws be drafted by an attorney for the entity.

FAQ 5. Do you have any legal fee packages for startups?

LEGAL SERVICES PACKAGES (for startups only, please):

Many new businesses soon need other legal work such as client contracts, leases and independent contractor and employment agreements. To help startups, Daniel S. Willard, P.C., offers prepaid packages, which will reduce total hourly fees for such projects. If a new business can foresee the need for such work, it can get an early break on fees as set forth below. The office benefits because it takes this fee as income when paid. The goal isn't to permanently reduce hourly fees, just give an initial vote of confidence. Therefore, this offer is open only for the first 30 days after a retainer is signed:

Service - Regular - "Special" - "Savings"

Ann. chk'up $399----$199----$200

Three hours $750----$499----$251

Ten Hours $2,500---$1,499---$1,001

FAQ 6. What is Martindale-Hubbell?

Daniel S Willard

Martindale-Hubbell publishes a nationwide directory of attorneys and has developed a rating system it provides for lawyers to use in looking for other lawyers to refer their clients to in other jurisdictions or other practice areas, when listed in its directory. There's more information about what they say their rating system means in the next FAQ. Their website has more detail at:

They say:

"An integral part of Martindale-Hubbell's service to the legal community is the Lawyer Rating system, which evaluates lawyers and law firms in the US and Canada based upon peer review."

They also say:

"Ratings attest to a lawyer's legal ability and professional ethics, and reflect the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and Judiciary. The Ratings are part of a century-long tradition and are exclusive to Martindale-Hubbell."

FAQ 7. What does the "A" you have received in your "AV" rating mean to Martindale-Hubbell?

They call it their "Legal Ability Rating."

According to Martindale-Hubbell:

"Legal Ability Ratings take into consideration the standard of professional ability in the area where the lawyer practices, the lawyer's expertise, and other professional qualifications. If a lawyer's practice is limited or specialized, Ratings are based on performance in those specific fields of law."

Martindale-Hubbell describes the ratings as follows:

"Legal Ability Ratings are:
C - Good to High
B - High to Very High
A - Very High to Preeminent"

Martindale-Hubbell has awarded us an "A" in its legal ability rating for "Very High to Preeminent."

FAQ 8. What does the "V" you have received in your "AV" rating mean to Martindale-Hubbell?

They call it their "General Ethical Standards Rating." According to Martindale-Hubbell,

"The General Ethical Standards Rating denotes adherence to professional standards of conduct and ethics, reliability, diligence and other criteria relevant to the discharge of professional responsibilities.

The General Recommendation Rating is:

V - Very High

A lawyer will not receive a Legal Ability Rating unless he or she has been endorsed for a "V." When both categories of Ratings are confirmed, a lawyer receives a CV, BV or an AV Rating.

Martindale-Hubbell has awarded us a "V" in its general recommendation rating, for "Very High"

FAQ 9. What does an "AV" rating mean to me?

Prospective clients should remember that Martindale-Hubbell's system is intended for legal professionals to use among themselves. It is not controlled or monitored by any federal or state agency or bar association. It is published by a company that makes its livelihood in part by selling advertising to lawyers. It is thus only one factor in evaluating a prospective attorney.

Martindale-Hubbell says that:

"An AV Rating shows that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity."

We are paid advertisers with Martindale-Hubbell, but so are thousands of lawyers who are CV rated or have no rating at all.

FAQ 10. What does the "P.C." stand for in the firm's name "Daniel S. Willard, P.C."?

The P.C. stands for "professional corporation". A professional corporation is a special type of Maryland corporation that provides lawyers and other professionals such as doctors and accountants the benefits of legal limitation of liability while meeting the ethical requirements of professional responsibility.

To you, the client, this means that the shareholders in a professional corporation remain professionally liable to their clients for their professional conduct, even though the corporate shield granted as to all other transactions covers the corporation's nonshareholder employees.

For example, Dan Willard is a shareholder in Daniel S. Willard, P.C. but Madelon Willard is not. Ask us about this and we'll gladly tell you more.

Dan Willard felt, and still feels, that he would not be setting a good example for his clients if he did not set up "Daniel S. Willard, P.C." in a fashion that provided maximum limitation of liability protection to his wife Madelon Willard when and if she came to work with the firm. Many of our clients are one half of a married couple, starting a business while the other keeps a salaried position. While the other spouse may ultimately join the emerging business, there are numerous reasons not to ever make that second spouse a legal owner of the business. If you are thinking of starting a business, ask us about this and we'll tell you more.

The firm was incorporated as a "professional corporation" in April 1991 under the laws of the State of Maryland.

You can reach us by telephone at our convenient, comfortable offices in Bethesda at 301-424-1177 or via email.

*AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished and Martindale-Hubbell Notable are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies. Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer-review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories - legal ability and general ethical standards.

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