The following is a record of the fee agreement between __________________________ (Client) and Seattle Eviction Services/Law Office of Keon Knutson (SES).  Terms and conditions of the agreement cover SES’s representation of Client as legal counsel in connection with their Unlawful Detainer (Eviction), as consistent with Washington Rules of Professional Conduct.
  1. FLAT FEE AGREEMENT.   SES agrees to provide, in exchange for the flat fees stated below, representation as legal counsel for all purposes in connection with their Unlawful Detainer (Eviction).  The flat fees shall be paid in the amounts and manner as stated below. Per RPC 1.5, Upon SES’s receipt of all or any portion of the flat fee, the funds are the property of SES and will  not be placed in a trust account.

  2. PAYMENT OF FLAT FEES: Client agrees to pay the (fixed) attorney fees for each required step of the eviction process, as described in both the “Fee Schedule” and “Price List.”  The typical attorney fee is $500.00 to $1,000.00 Client agrees to pay attorney fees necessary to work on the case as they become due, regardless of case outcome.  The flat fee for each step of the eviction shall be paid in advance and work will begin as soon as the fee is received.  SES will contact client for consent and payment authorization prior to starting each step.  SES accepts all forms of payment for the flat fees, including credit card, paypal, check, or cash.  For all methods, the payment of a flat fee will be deposited directly into SES’s operating checking account and will not be placed in a trust account.  

  3. CREDIT CARD PAYMENTS OF FLAT FEES: Client authorizes SES to charge their credit card for the Flat Fees in advance of each step, as they become due.  Per RPC 1.15, Comment 8 credit card payments of flat fees cannot be deposited into the trust account. For attorney fees not paid in advance, client authorizes SES to charge their credit card for any flat fees already earned and invoiced (this payment does not go into the trust account).  In the event credit card becomes invalid, client agrees to provide a new valid credit card (Card processing fees or bank service charges are paid by SES and not passed along to the client)

  4. COSTS & EXPENSES: Client agrees to pay the costs and expenses for each required step of the eviction process, as described in both the “Fee Schedule” and “Price List.”  A typical total for costs/expenses is $350.00 to 500.00.  Client is responsible for all court cost and litigation expense necessary for the case as they become due.  Costs and expenses are due regardless of case outcome, including if the case must be refiled due to some defect.  Advance Payments for Costs and Expenses are treated differently and must be kept separate from Flat Fees.  Advance Payments for Cost/Expenses are not the property of SES, and therefore cannot be co-mingled with Flat Fee in the operating checking account.  If Client wishes to pay for costs/expenses with a card, we have 2 options.

  5. CLIENT INVOICED FOR COSTS & EXPENSES: SES may pay for court costs and litigation expenses necessary for the case, out of their own operating checking account. Client authorizes SES to invoice and charge client’s card the exact amount on the invoice, necessary to reimburse SES for the paid costs/expenses. (This payment does not go into trust account). This may include charges for case filing, order submissions, and writs paid directly to the court clerk’s office; charges for process service, and charges for the Sheriff’s Eviction Fee.  Per RPC 1.8 (e)(1), a lawyer may advance or expenses of litigation, including court costs, provided the client remains ultimately liable for such expenses.

  6. PAYMENT OF COSTS AND EXPENSES DIRECTLY TO THIRD PARTIES: Client may authorize SES to charge their credit card for court costs and litigation expenses as they become due, paid directly to third parties that are set up to accept credit cards.  These expenses may include charges for case filing, order submissions, and writs paid directly to the court clerk’s office; charges for process service paid directly to the server.

  7. ADVANCE DEPOSITS TO BE HELD IN TRUST: Client may pay in advance for flat fees, costs/expenses necessary to work on the case.  Per RPC 1.15A “Lawyer shall deposit into a trust account legal fees and expenses that have been paid in advance, to be withdrawn by the lawyer only as fees are earned or expenses incurred.”  Therefore, any advance deposits paid by the client for future fees and costs/expenses will, upon receipt, be deposited into a non-interest bearing Lawyer’s trust account (IOLTA).  SES will contact client prior to starting each step and to obtain client’s consent and payment authorization for the next step. SES will transfer from the trust account the flat fee, court costs and litigation expenses as necessary for that step as they become due.  At the conclusion of the case, any unused funds or overpayments held in trust will be returned to the client

  8. PAYMENT OF ADVANCE DEPOSITS: An advance deposit of $1,500.00 is sufficient to cover most evictions.  Any checks by client for advanced fees should be made out to: Law Office of Keon Knutson Lawyer’s Trust (IOLTA).  SES’s trust account is not set up to accept credit card payment, and advance fee deposits cannot be deposited into a general account and then transferred to the trust account. Per RPC 1.15, Comment 8

  9. CONSULT/NEGOTIATION: SES can provide legal advice regarding any aspect of client’s case. SES can negotiate with the Tenant or their opposing counsel.   SES may communicate with third parties on client’s behalf, such as tenant’s reps, case workers, utility, charities, housing authorities or government officers. Record will kept of all Phone time and emails.   SES offers a free 30 minute phone consult.  Consult over 30 minutes will be charged pursuant to the Fee Schedule and Price List.

  10. SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION: An Eviction is limited in scope, and representation completes when possession is restored to the client. Here are possible scenarios: Tenants vacate prior to the hearing: The eviction action automatically comes to an end. The court loses jurisdiction to grant anything and an order of dismissal would be entered.  The Court awards client possession of the property AND Judgment. Client regains possession of the property with a money judgment and the eviction action is complete.  Court awards client Possession, but reserves Judgment. The court may find that client is entitled to possession of the property, but is unable to determine the judgment amount. Though the eviction is complete, the case is converted to a civil trial on the issue of damages.   The Court does not award the client Possession, and sets all issues up for trial. The court may decides that there are factual issues that cannot be resolved at the show cause hearing. The court may set the matter for an trial, held within 30 days.  (See below).   The court dismisses the client’s action. This happens only if there were procedural or substantive errors in the case. The firm will discuss the options with the client.

  11. WORK BEYOND 5 STEPS OF EVICTION: There is certain work which falls outside the 5 steps of the eviction process but is still needed to complete your case.  Because the time varies in these situations, the fee may be calculated at an agreed upon fixed fee OR a $00 hourly rate.  If an hourly rate, records will kept of all time spent.  Payment would be handled in the manner previously described.  A new agreement may be signed if necessary.   Bankruptcy Filing:  An eviction is automatically stayed following notice of bankruptcy.  We may have to motion for relief from stay, possibly, hire a bankruptcy attorney When the bankruptcy is dismissed or stay is lifted, we will continue with the eviction.Removal to and Remand from Federal Court: Even though Federal court lacks jurisdiction, tenants sometimes file notice to remove the eviction case  Federal court. SES would have to motion the court to remand it back to state court.  Trial and Mandatory Arbitration: Some cases are set to trial for issues of possession and/or damages.  Oftentimes, the parties must engage in mandatory arbitration prior to trial.   A $2,000.00 retainer would be required.

  12. RECOVERING JUDGMENT, FEES, COSTS: The Court may award Client a judgment for rent, attorney fees, and court costs, though SES does not guarantee this. For example, if tenants are served by alternative service, no judgment will be awarded  Client is responsible for collecting on any judgment award as SES does not do judgment/debt collection. 

  13. OUTCOME VARIES BY CASE: Client acknowledges that SES has made no guarantee regarding the successful outcome of the case, and all expressions relative thereto are matters of opinion only.  SES will provide you with the best legal services we can provide. However, we cannot and do not guarantee the outcome of the case.  Unless settled, an arbitrator, commissioner, judge or jury will decide the case after hearing the evidence and argument from both sides and SES cannot provide assurance as to how they may eventually rule.  I

  14. COPIES OF FILES: SES will retain client’s case file at our office and will store for three years after resolution of the case. Client has the right to documents which SES is allowed to disclose.  If client desires copies of documents during representation, SES will provide requested copies, at $0.10 a page plus postage/mailing.  If client desires copies of documents after representation ends, client shall to provide an advance deposit for copy/postage charges.  After representation ends, SES may return to client all case evidence and property.

  15. CANCELATION/COOPERATION: If the eviction notice or lawsuit has already been prepared at time cancellation is requested, the attorney fee for that work cannot be refunded.  Client agrees to fully cooperate in the case and to accurately disclose all relevant facts and  documents or that our SES may otherwise request.  Client agrees to be reasonably available to attend meetings, hearings and proceedings.

  16. TERMINATION: If Client fails to pay for fees/costs when due, SES may withdraw from the case as counsel on 7 days notice, and will be relieved of further obligation to represent client or appear on client’s behalf.  Client’s payment of advanced fees does not affect client’s right to terminate the client-lawyer relationship.  In the event the relationship is terminated before the agreed upon legal services have been completed, client may or may not have a right to a refund of a portion of the fee.

  17. FINAL BILLING AND DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS: At the conclusion of the case, a final bill will be rendered for any outstanding fees or costs.  Our office is authorized to, after notice to you, deduct from any funds received all outstanding fees, court costs and interest litigation expenses and any outstanding third party costs incurred through the case. Unpaid sums become delinquent thirty days after the initial billing and charged interest at a rate of twelve percent (12%) per annum.  If it is necessary to take legal action to collect delinquent legal fees or advanced costs, client shall pay reasonable attorney's fees and costs as they relate to collection of delinquent legal fees. If fees remain unpaid, SES will assert lien rights under RCW 60.40.010. SES agrees to WSBA Fee Arbitration to settle any billing dispute

  18. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Client acknowledges that s/he has carefully read all pages, fully understands and agrees to all terms of the agreement.  Client has had the opportunity to ask questions about this agreement, has discussed any questions with SES and has had their questions answered to their satisfaction.   Client acknowledges that s/he has independently decided to sign this agreement.  Client has received a copy of this agreement.  Client consents, if a third party guarantor signs, they too will be subject to these terms.       

        Dated:                                                                   Dated:                                    

      _____________________________                   _________________________________     

      Keon Knutson, WSBA 38858                              Client Signature individually or as agent      

      Attorney for Client                                               Print:                                                          

      (206) 240-3611 / Keonesq@gmail.com                Ph:                         Eml: