Clients hereby retain the law firm of JW Howard/Attorneys, Ltd. (referred to as “Attorneys”) to represent Clients in the matter referenced above.


In consideration of the legal services to be rendered by Attorneys, Clients agree to pay the following:

  1. A Retainer deposit in the amount of $25,000 is required to be maintained by Clients to be applied toward any unpaid balance at the end of each billing cycle and/or at the end of the retention. A retainer is a deposit against future fees and costs but does not mean that our monthly bills will be paid through draws on that deposit. That means that each invoice must be paid in full so the amount on deposit remains the same at all times. A failure to timely pay invoices or maintain the Retainer shall result in possible cessation of work by Attorneys and withdrawal from the case. In the event Attorneys opt to withdraw from the case for non-payment of invoices, and/or Clients’ failure to maintain Retainer, such will be done without objection or opposition by Clients.


Attorneys have no obligation to advance costs on behalf of Clients.  In the event any costs are advanced on behalf of Clients, the Clients shall be ultimately obligated to pay Attorneys for all costs incurred or advanced.  It is specifically understood and agreed by Clients that all costs incurred or advanced by Attorneys in connection with representation of Clients shall be itemized, billed and due on a monthly basis.

Clients hereby agree to pay to Attorneys all costs, including third-party costs and Attorneys’ out of pocket costs incurred or advanced by Attorneys in connection with Attorneys’ representation of Clients in this matter.  Third-party costs include, but are not limited to, court filing fees, court reporter and videographer fees, deposition transcript fees, jury fees, investigation fees, subpoena fees, witness fees, expert witness fees, nurse consultants’ fees, travel expenses including but not limited to first class air fare for trips of two hours or more, and exhibit costs.  Attorneys’ out of pocket costs include, but are not limited to, such things as long-distance telephone calls, local toll calls, mobile phone calls, meals, photocopying charges, computerized legal research expense, messenger fees, parking fees, facsimile charges and postage.  Clients grant Attorneys the authority to incur such costs as Attorneys deem advisable to prosecute the action.  Attorneys will exercise best efforts to obtain authorization from Clients, when practical, before incurring costs in excess of $5,000.

In the event experts, court reporters, process servers, or other such third-party vendors are utilized by Attorneys, Clients agree to contract directly with the third-party vendors and pay third-party vendors directly.  Clients accept sole responsibility for all such expert/third-party vendor costs.  In the event such expert/third-party costs are not kept current, Attorneys reserve the right to immediately withdraw from the case without objection or opposition from Clients.

Attorneys’ billing statements will be submitted to Clients monthly.  All statements for any services (i.e., Attorneys’ fees and/or costs) rendered and charged and costs incurred or advanced become delinquent fifteen (15) days from the date of mailing  and thereafter bear a FINANCE OR INTEREST CHARGE of 1% per month corresponding to an ANNUAL PERCENTAGE RATE of twelve percent (12%) per year, compound.  The balance upon which a finance or interest charge may be imposed will be the “Adjusted Previous Balance” which will be determined by adding to the unpaid portion of the prior month’s balance any charges for costs incurred or advanced which remain unpaid thirty (30) days from the date of mailing the statement on which those charges appear.  The amount of the finance or interest charge will be computed monthly by multiplying the Adjusted Previous Balance by 1% and will be clearly reflected on Clients’ bill.

No finance or interest charge will be assessed upon any charges for services rendered and costs incurred or advanced if those charges are paid within fifteen (15) days of the date of mailing of the statement on which those charges appear.

Because payment and billing will likely overlap, the bills you receive may not reflect any payment on the previous bill unless that payment is received before the cutoff date for billing.  In this case, you will receive billings that cover the calendar month.  If payment of a bill for any given month is not received before the fifteenth of the following month, that payment may not be reflected on the bill but will be on the next one.

Credit Card Processing Fees

All credit card processing fees are charged at the time we process a transaction and are deducted first from the transferred or collected funds and thereafter from the Balance of the transaction before being added to the trust account for your group.

Credit Card processing fees on a $500 contribution is $14.87 the remainder of $485.13


Attorneys shall send Clients periodic statements for fees and costs incurred.  Unless Clients notify Attorneys (in writing within ten (10) days from the date of the bill), of any dispute as to the items and/or amounts billed by Attorneys during the billing period, the bill will be deemed accepted by Clients and payment will be due within fifteen (15) days of the date of mailing the bill.  Clients may expect a statement at intervals of no less than thirty (30) days.  Upon Clients’ special request and good cause appearing, Attorneys will provide a statement within ten (10) days.


Clients understand and agree the services rendered by Attorneys for which they are compensated under this Agreement have only to do with the professional services rendered by Attorneys in connection with settling or obtaining judgment in this matter.

Should the case require special services to obtain the implementation or satisfaction of the judgment, such as but not limited to proceedings in bankruptcy, creditor’s remedies, debtor’s examinations, writs of execution, foreclosure proceedings or prosecution or defense of the case on appeal and the like, then such services are at the discretion of Attorneys and shall be distinct and additional to the services to obtain said judgment which are covered by this Fee Agreement.


Associate counsel may be employed at the discretion of Attorneys.


Attorneys reserve the right to select all experts, and to delegate any work in the matter to Associates, Paralegals, and other staff as deemed appropriate by Attorneys.  Clients will pay directly all expert and vendor invoices.


Any settlement must be specifically consented to by Clients.  All settlement proceeds will be initially deposited in the JW Howard/Attorneys, Ltd. Client Trust Account.


By this agreement, Client agrees to provide Attorneys any and all information which may be reasonably necessary for the performance of Attorneys’ responsibilities, to cooperate in any fashion with Attorneys in the performance of its responsibilities, and to comply with the covenants and conditions contained in this agreement. Attorneys may withdraw from representing Client if Client misrepresents or fails to disclose any material facts, acts contrary to advice provided by Attorneys, or if anything else occurs that in Attorneys’ judgment impairs an effective attorney-client relationship. Conversely, Client shall have the right to terminate Attorneys’ services at any time.


Attorneys may withdraw from this engagement at any time upon giving Clients reasonable notice (30 calendar days).  Clients agree they will execute any documents necessary to effectuate such withdrawal upon request.

Clients may terminate this engagement with Attorneys at any time.

In the event this agreement is terminated by Attorneys as a result of conduct by Clients which interferes with Attorneys’ ability to prosecute the case or Clients’ refusal to follow Attorneys’ advice, then Attorneys shall be entitled to all costs incurred or advanced by Attorneys through the date of termination and all hourly fees incurred for services provided by them during their representation of Clients through the date of termination.


Clients hereby grant Firm a lien on any and all claims or causes of action in the Case.  The attorneys’ lien will be for any sums owing to Firm for any unpaid costs, or attorneys’ fees, at the conclusion of Firm’s services.  The lien will attach to any recovery Clients may obtain, whether by arbitration award, judgment, settlement or otherwise.  The effect of such a lien is that Firm may be able to compel payment of fees and costs from any such funds recovered on behalf of Clients even if Firm has been discharged before the end of the Case.  By initializing this paragraph, Clients represent and agree that Clients have had a reasonable opportunity to consult an independent lawyer and Clients agree that Firm will have a lien as specified above.


Clients understand no particular result or amount of compensation can be guaranteed or promised by Attorneys.  Clients agree to provide promptly all information requested by Attorneys and to cooperate fully in presenting any claim or suit.  Clients represent they have not made any material misrepresentation to Attorneys in connection with this Legal Services Contract and/or in connection with the matter for which Attorneys are hereby retained to represent Clients.

We make every attempt to be efficient with our time and charges but cannot anticipate what the other side will do in this case.  Consequently, we cannot give you an estimate of what this case will ultimately cost by way of legal fees.  The extent of our work will depend on the work in opposition and that is something over which we have no control.  We have not given you an estimate of cost for that reason. Likewise, we cannot provide an upper limit or a range of potential costs and have not done so.

As the case proceeds, we can monitor the costs of litigation and make decisions with respect to strategy and the advisability of other options that might bring the case to a close more quickly and for less money.


Attorneys maintain errors and omissions insurance coverage applicable to the services to be rendered pursuant to this Agreement.


It is further understood the fees provided for in this Agreement are not set by law but are negotiable between Attorneys and Clients have been so advised and consent to this Agreement.  Clients are advised to seek independent counsel’s advice in connection with negotiating this agreement.  Clients did in fact negotiate this agreement and did so either at the advice of other independent counsel or without such advice with full awareness and understanding of their right to seek advice from independent counsel but choosing not to seek such advice.


The parties hereto agree any dispute relating to Attorneys’ fees, costs, or other issue arising under this Contract shall be submitted to arbitration before the San Diego County Bar Association pursuant to California Business and Professional Code Section 6200, et seq.  Should the San Diego County Bar Association decline to arbitrate the dispute, it will be arbitrated before the State Bar of California pursuant to California Business and Professions Code Section 6200, et seq.  Parties further agree Attorneys’ fees and costs including but not limited to expert fees and interest at 12% per year compound (accruing from 30 days from the date of the final billing statement) shall be awarded to prevailing party.  Clients agree in advance they will execute all documents required by the State Bar for their jurisdiction over the matter.  If Clients refuse to sign such authorization, Clients will pay all fees, costs, and interest (as above described) in any other type of proceedings Attorneys choose to resolve the dispute.

Any other dispute (other than Attorneys’ fees) between the parties hereto arising out of or relating to this Contract or Attorneys’ professional services rendered to or for Clients, shall be conducted by and resolved by a single arbitrator in San Diego, California before Judicate West, in accordance with then-existing comprehensive Arbitration Rules & Procedures. The provisions of California Code of Civil procedure Section 1283.05 – 1283.1 are incorporated herein and made a part of this Arbitration provision.

Clients understand by agreeing to participate in binding arbitration, it is waiving a constitutional right to a jury trial and any and all appellate rights.


In working on the engagement, Attorneys will preserve communications and documents in either hard-copy or electronic form, depending on the circumstances, as reasonably necessary to represent Clients.  As described below, some of these files belong to Clients (“Client Files”) and some belong to Attorneys.  The Client Files consist of those electronic and hard-copy documents that are kept in the central file that Attorneys maintain for each client matter.  That file contains what Attorneys consider to be the important records for the representation.  All other documents not in the Client File will belong to Attorneys.  Among other things, the Client File will not contain Attorneys’ administrative documents or drafts of documents or memoranda that Attorneys may prepare but do not transmit to Clients.

In the event Attorneys are required to respond to a subpoena or other formal request for records or other information relating to Attorneys’ services to Clients, including testimony at a deposition, Attorneys will consult Clients before responding to determine if Clients want to supply the information demanded and/or assert the attorney-client or other privilege that may apply.  Clients agree to reimburse Attorneys for the time and expense for responding to such demands, including, without limitation, the time and expense for searching, locating, reviewing and copying responsive information, appearing at depositions or hearings, and litigating any issues raised at Clients’ request.

At the completion or termination of this engagement, Clients may request in writing the return or disposal of the Client Files.  In order to collect and prepare the Client Files for delivery or disposal, Attorneys likely will need to spend time and incur expense.  Clients agree to pay Attorneys at our regular rates for this time and pay any necessary disbursements, including copying costs.  Attorneys will give Clients an estimate of Attorneys’ expected charges promptly after receipt of Clients written request for transfer or disposal of the files.  Attorneys in their own discretion may make or keep a copy of any Client Files being returned or disposed of at Attorneys’ expense.

In the event that Client requests a return of Client’s file, Client agrees that full compliance with Attorney’s obligation to do so may be by delivery of electronic copies of all contents of the Client Files and that Attorney may, at Attorney’s discretion, dispose of paper files at any time.

If Clients do not request return of the Client Files, Attorneys will maintain them for a period of five (5) years, after which time Clients agree that Attorneys may dispose of them in a confidential manner.  Prior to disposal of the Client Files, Attorneys will advise Clients in  writing, at the last known address in Attorneys’ files, of Attorneys’ intent to do so in order to give Clients an opportunity to request the materials.  Attorneys may dispose of their own files at any time without notice to Clients.

Please also note that if electronic communications are sent or received by Clients on a computer or other device that may be accessed by third-parties, the privilege protection that such communications with Attorneys might otherwise be afforded may be lost.  Attorneys therefore strongly encourage Clients not to use such a device when communicating with us.  Please also note that Attorneys’ records may be accessed electronically by all our offices and that Attorneys may store records using “cloud computing.”


If any term, condition or provision of this Agreement is declared illegal or invalid for any reason by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining terms, conditions and provisions nevertheless shall remain in full force and effect.


This fee Agreement represents the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes all prior agreements between the parties.  All modifications to this agreement shall be void and of no effect unless in a writing signed by both parties.


This Agreement is effective when your survey and retainer has been submitted and delivered to the Attorneys.  The initial bill for services may include fees for time expended prior to the effective date of this agreement.  A duplicate copy of this Agreement will be sent to the Clients upon receipt by Attorneys.


We never anticipate that disagreements will arise.  However, if legal action is necessary for the enforcement of this agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to receive attorney’s fees and court costs in its enforcement.

This document constitutes a written contract between the parties when it is signed and returned by you and contains all representations, warranties, promises and agreements between the parties to it.  No other representations, warranties, promises or agreements, either written or oral, have been made which are not contained herein.

This agreement may not be modified in any way unless all parties agree in writing and any failure to promptly enforce any term of this agreement shall not be deemed a waiver or implied modification of it.